A Sense of Cultural Self-Identity: Stereotypes and Cultural Values


There can only be few doubts that one’s awareness of the factors that contribute to the formation of the sense of cultural self-identity in people will come as an indispensable asset within the context of how he or she may go about striving to attain social/professional prominence. The validity of this suggestion is best illustrated with respect to the ongoing “multiculturalization” of American society as a whole (Hallman, 2017). The most distinctive identity-forming factors that I believe affect the representatives of the chosen populations have been outlined in the charts below.

African-Americans

Self-identity

Stereotypes

Cultural values

The most notable aspects of existential self-positioning, on the part of African-Americans, are as follows:

  • Mistrust towards

the traditionally “Eurocentric” social and political institutions in the US, such as the ones concerned with the functioning of the country’s judicial system.

  • Idealization of skin

color, as one of the main identity-forming factors.

  • Strong affiliation with

so-called “traditional values” – something that causes many African-Americans to adopt a patriarchal outlook on the surrounding social reality and their place in it.

The continual stigmatization of African-Americans in the US is reflective of the following racist assumptions:

  • African-Americans

are not particularly bright – hence, their presumed inability to score high while IQ-tested.

  • African-Americans

are somewhat lazy, which is why it is always a good idea to have them working in the supervised mode.

  • African-Americans

are innately driven towards violence – the invention of the “gangsta-rap” music genre is commonly referred to as the proof of this assumption’s validity.

Among the most prominent cultural values, professed by African-Americans, the following can be listed:

  • The value of racial

solidarity – Black Americans tend to refer to each other as “brothers”.

  • The value of

religious integrity – African-Americans prefer to adopt a religious lifestyle.

  • The value of

collectivism – this term applies to one’s predisposition to

address life-challenges in a collective (as opposed to individualist) mode (Beamon, 2014).

Asians (China)

Self-identity

Stereotypes

Cultural values

Asians, in general, and the Chinese, in particular, have traditionally been known for their:
  • Perceptual

holism. The Chinese tend to form their sense of personal self-identity as something closely indicative of these people’s cognitive predisposition to think holistically (contextually).

  • Attitudinal

cosmopolitism. Most people of the Asian (Chinese) descent prefer not to pay too much attention to the specifics of one’s ethnocultural affiliation while constructing their value-based opinions of the individual in question.

  • Communal mindedness.

Most Asians (Chinese) are
culturally endorsed to assume that a person’s ability to act as the productive member of the society should be assessed in conjunction with his/her varying ability to contribute to the society’s overall well-being.

In the US, it
became a common practice to stereotype Asians (Chinese) as:
  • Extremely hard-

working. Even though seemingly “positive”, this particular label has a certain dehumanizing quality to it.

  • Nerds. Asian students

are assumed to be willing to prioritize studying above everything else – often at the expense of denying themselves the simple pleasures of life.

  • Pragmatically minded.

The Chinese tend to
draw a direct link between one’s value, as a person, and the amount of money that he or she has in the bank.

The most well-known
Asian (Chinese) cultural values are as follows:
  • Strong respect

towards the elders. This specific value has its roots in the philosophy of Confucianism.

  • Glorification of

the studying, as the activity that has the value of a “thing in itself”.

  • Commitment to

observing the “Oriental” behavioral ethics while aspiring to attain self-actualization (McGee, Thakore, & LaBlance, 2017).

Middle-Easterners (Palestine)

Self-identity Stereotypes Cultural values
The sense of self-identity in Palestinians is evocative to an extent of these people’s statehood-related anxieties. Among the latter can be named:
  • Ethnic solidarity.

Palestinians tend to form diasporas while living in Western countries.

  • Political engagement.

Palestinians exhibit a certain predisposition towards altering their existential attitudes with respect to what accounts for the current state of affairs between Israel and Palestine.

  • Cultural predisposition

towards thinking “tribally” (in the sense of paying much attention to the maters of interpersonal kinship).

Palestinians are commonly labeled in the West as:
  • Innately violent

individuals. This particular stereotype is being strengthened even further by the way in which the media reflect on the specifics of the Israeli-Palestinian confrontation.

  • Predetermined to

experience a temptation to rape women.

  • Naturally inclined to

consider the possibility of becoming Islamic terrorists.

The cultural values of Palestinians have a Middle-Eastern quality to them. The most notable of these values are:
  • Religiosity.

Most Palestinians take pride in considering themselves faithful Shiite Muslims.

  • Veneration of

different ritualistic traditions, associated with the Palestinian traditional way of life.

  • Tendency to

profess a strongly patriarchal outlook on life (Aharoni, 2014).

Native-Americans

Self-identity Stereotypes Cultural values
The building blocks of the sense of self-identity in Native-Americans are widely assumed to be:
  • Amplified spirituality.

Native-Americans are commonly described as intrinsically spiritual individuals, preoccupied with trying to lead a communally integrated lifestyle.

  • Environmental

mindedness. Many Native-Americans make a point in positioning themselves as the environmentalist movement’s activists.

  • Context-centeredness.

In a similar manner with the Chinese, Native-Americans prefer to focus on the “context” rather than the “essence” while addressing a particular cognitive task.

Native-Americans have been subjected to stigmatization since America’s early days. The most widely circulated stereotypes, in this regard, are as follows:
  • Native-Americans are

“natural-born” drunkards.

  • Native-Americans

cannot be assimilated into the society, which is why they will be better off being forced to live in “reservations”.

  • Native-Americans are

unhealthily preoccupied with trying to reclaim as much land as possible.

The foremost cultural values of Native-Americans include:
  • Commitment to

honoring the elders/native rituals.

  • The tradition of

“subtle defiance”. Most Native-Americans consider themselves having been robbed of their land, and also of their right to pursue a traditional way of life.

  • The culture of

“intertribal solidarity”. Native-Americans tend to take “native issues” close to heart, regardless of the actual locale (Leavitt, Covarrubias, Perez, & Fryberg, 2015).

Europeans (Germany)

Self-identity Stereotypes Cultural values
The formation of one’s European (German) identity is believed to be to be reflective of:
  • The German people’s

endowment with the “Faustian” (object-oriented) mentality, which prompts the concerned individuals to feel like enforcing their dominance on the surrounding social/natural environment.

  • The fact that Germany

contributed greatly towards the development of Western philosophy and music.

  • The fact that even

today, most Germans cannot help experiencing the sensation of historical guilt over the country’s Nazi legacy.

The most commonly occurring stereotypes of Germans derive from the following speculative assumptions:
  • Germans are very

accurate/punctual people. At the same time, they tend to be cruel and sentimental.

  • Most Germans are

blond and blue-eyed. They experience an unconscious attraction towards Nazism, even without realizing it consciously.

  • Germans are

innately predetermined to derive much pleasure from waging wars/acting in a warlike manner.

The typical (as of today) “Germanic” values include:
  • Strongly defined

sense of individualism/self-centeredness.

  • Secularism.

Most Germans (and Europeans, in general) prefer to lead a secular (non-religious) lifestyle, even if affiliated with Christianity formally.

  • Scientific

industriousness.
Germans have traditionally been known for their ability to contribute to the continuation of scientific progress on this planet (Koehne, 2014).

Given the listed particulars of my sense of cultural self-identity (as seen in the previous paper), I believe that I will be most likely to reach a mutual understanding with African-Americans and Native Americans. After all, there is indeed a good rationale to assume that the workings of these peoples’ psyches are somewhat similar to those of my own – not the least due to the ancestral memories of discrimination, shared by African-Americans, Native-Americans, and Hispanics (Guglani, 2016). The ontological soundness of such my belief is supported even further by the fact that, as one can infer from what has been said earlier, there are a number of reasons for the existential attitudes, on the part of all three peoples, to be compatible (Contreras, 2016).

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At the same time, however, I am deeply convinced that it will not prove particularly challenging for me to be able to find the “communication key” to the representatives of the rest of the chosen populations, as well. The reason for this is apparent – while conducting the research I was able to increase the measure of my intercultural competence rather substantially. In particular, I learned that when it comes to indulging in intercultural communication, one may never cease paying close attention to the culturally/historically determined peculiarities of how people from different ethnic backgrounds tend to go about trying to realize their full existential potential.

References

Aharoni, S. (2014). The gender-culture double bind in Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations: A narrative approach. Security Dialogue, 45(4), 373-390.

Beamon, K. (2014). Racism and stereotyping on campus: Experiences of African American male student-athletes. The Journal of Negro Education, 83(2), 121-134.

Contreras, S. (2016). For economic advantage or something else? A case for racial identification switching. Review of Black Political Economy, 43(3-4), 301-323.

Guglani, L. (2016). American, Hispanic, Spanish-speaking? Hispanic immigrants and the question of identity. Journal of Language, Identity & Education, 15(6), pp. 344-360.

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Hallman, H. (2017). Millennial teachers and multiculturalism: Considerations for teaching in uncertain times. Journal for Multicultural Education, 11(3), 194-205.

Koehne, S. (2014). Were the National Socialists a folkish party? Paganism, Christianity, and the Nazi Christmas. Central European History, 47(4), 760-790.

Leavitt, P., Covarrubias, R., Perez, Y., & Fryberg, S. (2015). “Frozen in time”: The impact of Native American media representations on identity and self‐understanding. Journal of Social Issues, 71(1), 39-53.

McGee, E., Thakore, B., & LaBlance, S. (2017). The burden of being “model”: Racialized experiences of Asian STEM college students. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 10(3), 253-270.

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