Culture and Race Identity in Higher Education
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Culture and Race Identity in Higher Education

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Culture and Race Identity in Higher Education Culture and Race Identity in Higher Education Presentation Transcript

  • Cultural Value and Diversity Awareness in Higher Education Chesay Colson, B.A., M.B.A Coordinator of Diversity and Inclusion
  • Purpose  Define and explore personal values and cultural/racial identity.  Identify and discuss some personal barriers to effective intercultural communicating and learning.  Discuss why personal values, cultural and race identity matters in the higher education.
  • Defining Culture  “Culture is learned, shared, and transmitted values, beliefs, norms, and a way of living or being a part of an group, which are generally transmitted inter-generationally and influence one’s thinking and action (Leininger, 1998).”  Culture is made up of meaning systems, such as beliefs, values and ways of thinking and viewing the world:  Is learned through social interactions with family and the community.  It is largely invisible, unrecognized and not discussed. “Seldom do most people acknowledge how our day-to-day behaviors are shaped by our learned cultural norms and values or how the culture we experience is reinforced by our families, peers, and social institutions. How one defines „family‟, identifies desirable life goals, views problems, and even says hello are all influenced by the culture in which one functions(Leininger, 1998) .”
  • Defining Personal Values  An individual‟s values are things each person believes are important in the way the individual lives and works.  Values determine our priorities  Values exists whether we acknowledge them or not
  • Culture, Race and our Personal Identity  Personal identity deals with the virtue of our being people and the questions, which arise from our personal identities who am I; when did I begin; what does my identity mean to me?  Personal identity is what makes one the person one is (culture, language, ethnicity/race, customs, religion etc.).  Parts of our cultural identities are learned and later we select for ourselves those parts of our culture which matter most (keeping some identities, while rejecting others).  Culture and race shapes the way we see ourselves and others. In the context of culture it is contingent upon our associated networks, values and convictions. In regards to race it is largely based upon physical attributes (Stanford Encyclopedia, 2010).
  • Understanding Cultural and Racial Identity  Cultural and Racial identity is often misunderstood and contested amongst scholars with the meanings being derived from biological dimensions and others from its social dimensions (Spickard, 1992).  Racial identity as a Biological Category derives race from an individual‟s physical features and character qualities.  Cultural and Racial identity as a Social Construct, refers to a sense of a group or collective identity based on one‟s perception that (s)he shares a common heritage with a particular racial/cultural group (Helms, 1993).
  • 12 Aspects of Culture 1. History, time period and conditions under, which a group arrives in a country or has their country invaded/colonized. 7. Healing beliefs and practices: attitudes and beliefs about health. 2. Social status factors: education, occupation, income. 8. Religion: spiritual beliefs and practices. 3. Social group interaction patterns: Intra-group (within group relations) and Inter-group (between-group relations). 9. Art and expressive forms: art, music, stories, dance, etc. 4. Value orientation : standards by which members of a culture judge their personal actions and those of others. 5. Language and communication: verbal and nonverbal. 6. Family life processes: gender roles, family dynamics. 10. Diet/foods: preferred food eaten by groups. 11. Recreation: activities, sports for leisure, etc. 12. Clothing: types, styles, and extent of body coverings.
  • Culture and Race is Multi-layered  Everyone goes through a process of cultural and racial identity development. It exists at the individual, group and societal level:  Individual assumptions, values, beliefs shaped by family and social groups.  Group membership based on ethnicity, gender, age, class, race, religion, sexual orientation, region, country, etc.  Societal institutions that shape our world, schools, workplaces, media and the government.
  • Cultural and Racial Identity Development  Cultural and racial identity development is not linear.  People move back and forth from stage to stage, but when revisiting an earlier stage, it will look different because of new experiences.  The concept of recycling through the stages can be seen as a spiral staircase.
  • 5 Stages of Cultural/Racial Development – Persons of Color (Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, PhD)  Pre-encounter: Seeks to assimilate into the dominant culture.  Encounter: Individual is forced to acknowledge his/her differences through an event or series of events.  Immersion/Emersion: Strong desire to surround oneself with visible symbols of one‟s racial/cultural identity.  Internalization: Individual is secure in their racial/cultural identity and seeks to establish meaningful relationships of one‟s racial/cultural identity.  Internalization-Commitment: The individual discovers ways to communicate their commitment to the concerns/needs of their own racial/cultural group.
  • 6 Stages of Racial/Cultural Development – Whites (Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum)  Contact: A lack of awareness cultural and institutional racism, one‟s own racial/cultural White privilege (limited knowledge/awareness of racial issues and interactions with People of Color).  Disintegration: Increased interactions with People of Color may lead to a new understanding of racial/cultural issues.  Reintegration: Desire to be accepted by one‟s own race/culture may lead an individual to accept covert/overt racism and racial/cultural superiority. (A negative encounter or a need to survive in one‟s circumstance can heighten the need for reintegration)  Pseudo-Independent: Information seeking about People of color, abandoning cultural (White) superiority beliefs, may still unintentionally perpetuate institutional systems of racism.  Immersion/Emersion: Feelings of uncomfortableness with his/hers Whiteness, but understands their Whiteness is a part of their personal identity/culture (Searches for Whites with similar experiences and seeks to resist racism in their environment).  Autonomy: Acquires positive feelings about oneself as White, may form alliances outside with races/cultures more easily. Positive feeling and encounters may lead the individual confront racism and oppression in their daily life.
  • Assumptions and What We Don‟t Know  “Sometimes the assumptions we make about others come not from what we have been told or what we have seen on TV, read in books, but rather from what we have not been told (Tatum, 1997).”  The distortion of historical information about People of Color leads young people (and older people too) to make assumptions that may go unchallenged for a long time.
  • Cultural and Racial Identity in the in Higher Education…What‟s Missing?  Racial and cultural identity is commonly left out of educational text and curriculum, therefore is not seen as salient in the classroom for white students and students of color alike (Tatum, 1997).  Consequence of this omission is that educators most of whom are White, teaching in racially mixed classrooms who are observing identity development in the classrooms are lacking an important interpretative framework to help them understand what is happening in their interactions with students and their cross-racial interactions with colleagues (Tatum, 1997).
  • Intercultural Learning: A Complex Process  “Intercultural learning is derived from the increased awareness of subjective cultural context (world view), including one‟s own, and developing greater ability to engage sensitively and competently across cultural contexts. This competence is both an immediate and long-term effect of intentional cultural exchange (Intercultural Development Research Institute, 2013).”  “Intercultural learning is never linear or orderly. It is a process that occurs in complex ways with increasing levels of cultural knowledge with new encounters and experiences (Nakanishi and Ritter, 1992).”  This process looks different for People of Color and White People.
  • Bank‟s (2001) 5 Dimensions of Building Cultural and Race Awareness in Higher Education  Content integration  Knowledge education  Prejudice reduction  Equity pedagogy  Empowering school culture
  • Barriers  Customs/conflicting personal values/beliefs  Subject matter anxiety (fear of saying or doing the wrong thing)  Inconsistent commitment  Preconceptions, stereotypes and discrimination  Language/Communication (verbal and nonverbal)
  • Conclusion  “Differences do not separate us, but refusing to acknowledge them and the role they take in shaping our relationships and institutions keeps us apart. We need to rethink difference---use it as a place to reconstruct our world (Audre Lorde).”  A post-secondary education does not always speak for itself, especially when it comes to cultural competence; there must be a commitment to intercultural learning. If we remain convinced that whatever emerges automatically from cross-cultural contact is intercultural learning; it becomes very difficult to make the case for intentional preparation beyond the logistics of passive contact.
  • References Banks, J.A., Cookson, P., Gay, G., Hawley, W.D., Jordan Irvine, J., Nieto, S. Ward Schofield, J. & Stephan, W.G. (2001). Diversity within Unity: Essential Principles for Teaching and Learning in a Multicultural Society. Seattle, WA: Center for Multicultural Education, University of Washington. Helms, J.E. (1990/1993). Toward a Model of White Racial identity Development. In J.E. Helms (Ed.), Black and White Racial identity, pp. 49-66. New York: Greenwood/Praeger.. Leininger, Madelleine (1998). Culture Care: Diversity and Universality Theory. Nursing Science Quarterly, Sage Publications, Inc. Lorde, Audre, (1973). From a Land Where Other People Live. Broadside Press Publishing. Detroit, MI. Nakanishi, M., and Ritter, B. (1992). The Inclusionary Cultural Model. Journal of Social Work Education, 28(1), 27–35 Olson, Eric T. (2010) . The Black well Guide to the Philosophy of Mind. Stanford Encyclopedia on Philosophy Spickard, P. R. (1992). The Illogic of American Racial Categories, Maria P. P. Root (Ed.), Racially mixed people in America (pp. 12–23) Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications, Inc. Tatum Daniel, Beverly Dr. (1997) Why are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria. Basic Books, United States