Essay on The Importance of Positive Cultural Identity

Essay on The Importance of Positive Cultural Identity

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No human being is culture free. We are a product of the many different cultures which surround us. Our values, worldview and experiences are structured by the society and culture that exert influences on our lives each day.

It is therefore important to be a multicultural person by first forming a positive cultural identity. Manning and Baruth (2009, p.24) defines culture as “people’s values, languages, religions, ideals, artistic expressions, patterns of social and interpersonal relationships and ways of perceiving, behaving and thinking.” However, in this paper, cultural identity also relate to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, social class and all that defines the self. Hence to have a positive cultural identity (PCI), one must be able to identify with and integrate those identities that bring about a well-built, healthy self-perception and a sense of well-being. PCI would also be ingrained into a person’s self-concept seeing as culture affect how a person thinks, understands and perceives the self. “I am a psychology student, my mother’s daughter and I am gay.” The sentence used to describe myself illustrates how culture shapes the structure of self-concept with the use of more social self-descriptions indicating an interdependent self, typical in collectivistic cultures (Franzoi, 2009).

Besides shaping the self-concept, it is important to form a positive cultural identity because PCI regulates our beliefs about how self-development should proceed (Greenfield, 1994; as cited in Franzoi, 2009). By having PCI, one is able to determine how one should act in a society that either emphasizes individualism or collectivism. For instance, Malaysian culture is one of the high context societies where family and inter...

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...tice, 2(3), 1-12. Retrieved from:
Irving, M.A. & Hudley, C. (2008). Oppositional identity and academic achievement among african american males. In J. Ogbu (Ed.), Minority Status, Oppositional Culture, and Schooling, pp. 374-394. New York: Routledge.
Manning, L.M. & Barruth, L.G. (2009). Multicultural education of children and adolescents (5th edition). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Nigergall, A.J. (2010). Promoting positive identity among children in a school curriculum. USA: University of Kansas
Santrock, J.W. (2010). Adolescence, Thirteenth Edition. NY: McGraw Hill.
Schultz, D.P. & Schultz, S.E. (2009). Theories of Personality, Ninth Edition. US: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Tong, V.M., Huang, C.W. & Mclyntyre, T. (2006). Promoting a positive cross-cultural identity: Reaching immigrant students. Reclaiming Children and Youth, 14(4), 203-208.

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