Racial and ethicalidentity are both very important components to the total framework of anindividual and collective identity. When focusing on minority groups in othercountries such as the United States, racial and ethical identities are exposedin acutely judicious ways.
These contradictory practices are generated throughsocial and cultural influences. To begin with, the immersion of traditions andculture through the means of education, neighborhood, religious and familialcommunities are deep-seated in a positive logic of individual and ethnicidentity. Furthermore, individuals often are driven to filter ethnic identity through the variousforms of media messages as well as the negative tenues from others based solelyupon race and ethnicity. The information stated above affirms that individualswith a minority status are disproportionately at a considerable disadvantagewithin a society. Groups such as white Americans, for example, charter racialand ethnic identity in manners that are inadvertent through the means of theirbehaviors, assumptions and beliefs. This is by the virtue of societal standardsbeing built upon values, priorities, ethical, racial and cultural framework asthey refer to the unification of cultures in Standard America and not solelythe identity of ethnicity. This is visible every day in the life of anAmerican, through their behaviors and attitudes.
Remarkably most of theminorities culture and norms are hardly ever installed in distinct identitiesthat align with ethnicity. Nevertheless, this paper addresses thatmulticultural framework and ethnic identity are very imperative, for learnerswithin the learning commonwealth.Therefore, this essay examines legitimate racial and ethnic identity literatureto a substantial comprehension in what manner evaluates adult learning. The paradigmsof race and ethnicity in America are much too abstruse to define and frame.This is a topic that is extensively discussed in psychology, literature theologyand philosophy amid other fields hence having experts come up with different interpretationsmaking the distinction of expressions more difficult (Harris 2). The identityof race itself is commonly misunderstood, some get it from social perspectivewhile other understand it from a biological perspective in which the quality ofgene pools, physical characteristics, and the quality of personality defines anindividual (Spickard 14). By exploiting these distinctive characteristicfeatures, Europeans categorize persons hierarchically by physical abilities andethical qualities, with Caucasians being superior followed by Asians and lastlyAfricans and Native Americans at the base of the ethnic ladder.
However, if welook past the characteristic features, racial groups have more affinities than deviations.(Littlefield,Lieberman, and Reynolds 35). Yet, todays definition of the social perspectiveis the most prevalent (Helms 3). People identify themselves different from oneanother based upon their skin color and in most cases it is this specificfeature that plays a considerable part in how certain persons are handled. As aresult, distinguishing ethnicity displays a social contrast or difference, butin actuality skin color identifies a person within a society which ultimatelyserves as an identity card. A group defined by color share norms, cultures andoften times an origin in which they can be informed about themselves and insome cases about other persons (Yinger 200). Assuming that consciously orunconsciously individuals identify themselves within a group of people in whichthey feel as though they share some form of a collective connection of parallelvalues, traditions, beliefs and behaviors. These segments form a connection betweenpeople in a signifying manner which allows them to proudly know who they are asindividuals as well as a collective group therefore finding the world aroundthem to be meaningful.
Contrarily, there are some instances where an individualfeels ashamed and disconnected when they identify with a specific groupespecially in cases where adverse ethnicity is evident thus giving adversepublic messages the capacity to prevail. Therefore, ethnic distinctivenessexpands the ability for an individual to move in the direction of aconsiderable conscious affinity with their cultural values, traditions, beliefsand behavior. The racial and ethnic identity models suggest a theoreticalconclave for individuals to comprehend and appreciate their interposition andthat of varying cultures as well. Models and theories of racial and ethnicidentity progress have steadily advanced in the last two decades, due to peoplebeginning to accept that the United States is racially and ethnically diverse.In addition to this, there are an abundant amount of social and psychologicaltheories that attempt to define the “self” and they concur that the term andconcept of self is delicate to determine (Evans, Forney, and Guido-DiBrito 84;Helms 57). This concludes that both the psychological and cognitive structuralmodels are in fact phase models that acknowledge growth in a stepwiseevolution, whereas up-to-date models characterize racial and ethnic identity tobe a lifelong measure.
The original objective of these models was to constitutethat the reality of the black experience in the United States is declared. Oneof the original examples of these models is Cross (1971) in which he displays afit black developing starting as a non-Afrocentric then develops to Afrocentricand ultimately multicultural distinctiveness. This evolution implicates personsmoving from total ignorance of race via recognizing the black culture in itstotality in order to commit to various cultures in addition to acknowledgingall oppressed groups matters.
Cross’s model is a very critical component of thedelineation ethnic identity as a form of a vibrant development, it prompts agroup of persons in a distinct ethnic group and others as it acknowledgesethnocentric and multiculturalism frames. Nonetheless, the primary weakness ofCross’s model is that he begins with blacks being unaware of the race of othersas well as of their own race before they experience or become aware ofidentity. Parham (1989) is another model of race and ethnic identity.
For him,racial or ethnic identity progression is a lifelong cycle that is continuousfor blacks. His theory proposes that persons, experience state of emotions suchas anger towards whites that progresses to the development of absolute blackreference frame. Correspondingly, through these means objective racial identityand bicultural realizations are achieved. Parham transmits white peopledirectly to the black identity in such a way that blacks move from unconsciousto conscious. This goes on to affirm that when blacks oppose Western cultureand or the adverse treatment received from others due to the differences incolors, they establish awareness or self-consciousness of racial identity.Ultimately, Parham’s model endorses a sense of development or advancement. Inaddition, it displays that there is an evolution from unconscious to consciousin correlation to racial identity.
The flaw of tis model is its assurance thatthe fundamental cause of racial identity development is the display of racialdifference that cannot be bypassed. To some extent, we acknowledge theprincipal trigger for separable racial identity is the assurance of one’s ownracial devolution as well as a group of a racial self through the means ofentanglement. Next is Helms (1993-1995)who is accredited for the development of a model on the white racial identity.The model she developed presumes that the presence of individual, cultural andinstitutional racism accepts white superiority.
In point of this, she presentsthat the stages are a limiting factor considering that an individual isadequate enough to be in more than one definitive stage at a particular time.The initial three standings clearly framework how a white individual evolvesand dissociates themselves from a frame of racism early before they discover anon-racist identity as whites. The influential aspect of this model is itsemphasis on racial identity development as it strongly depends on interracialexposure. Still, its weakness is the mere fact that it does not distinguishbetween a non-racist frame development and racial identity development leadingto disorientation. Helms provides evidence that whites racial identity revolvesaround their perceptions, feelings and behaviors towards black persons ratherthan development and consciousness of an authentic white racial identity. The Cross, Parham and Helms models of racialidentities each discuss and dispute self-racial recognition and a relationbetween racial consciousness of others. Therefore, it is apparent that everyindividual’s self-awareness of racial and ethnic identity is vital.
Additionally, how we perceive and look at others plays an imperative role indevelopment and consciousness. This is also another model that primarilyfocuses on what family and community teaches persons about their cultures.Thus, concluding that there can be no form of ethnicity without sharedlanguage, culture, religion and geography. Moreover, persons of one ethnicityare united by strong loyalty, proximity and kinship (Torres 85). Elements that constitute learnedculture include symbols, rituals and behavior that patent themselves fromelementary values, beliefs and assumptions (Ott 127).
Therefore, commonalitiesthat are accustomed within a distinct group are specified by models of identitydevelopment. These three concepts are what I have discussed as the concept’srepresentative. Walking Stick Garrett and Garrett (1994) give a expressive ordescriptive model of the Native Americans identity and worldview. They suggesta number of elements of the Native American ethnic value and perspective whichcomprise of the meaning of tribe, spirituality, harmony, balance and humor.
Forexample, elders are considered to be the most fundamental members of NativeAmericans as they are highly honored and used as a reference by members whoseriously identify with their culture. Therefore, Native American individualsbecome more useful to their community as they grow older because they areconsidered to have collected much wisdom that they are able to share withothers in the tribe. Walking Stick Garrett and Garrett’s model is useful inmaking accessible logic of communal structures and patterns of the NativeAmerican’s values, identity and worldview. Moreover, they correlate each nativecomponent with major culture and discuss how cultural engagement supports theNative identity development.
However, it is important to realize that eachethnic population can have its own disparities which at times are very vast,hence all the models mentioned above are only guidelines to somecharacteristics in which ethnic identity manifests itself. Katz (1989)identifies fifteen distinct values and perspectives in identifying whiteAmerican culture in her descriptive and evocative model of ethnic identity andworldview. This is transmitted from a notion of time that is linear and guardedas a service or product, to a win-loss alignment that is linked to thecompetition rate. White American individuals seems to value and rewardindependence and autonomy. More so, Katz states that individuals in this classand or with these believes mention that they cannot understand shared culture or even relate to others (Katz1989). Personally, I find the model to be objective as it does not reckon theidea that all whites were born racist. It does not address the stages thatwhites go through to shape an identity in ethnic line.
Furthermore, this modeldoes not discuss activators of ethnic identity consciously. Phinney (1990) introducesanother model that she deems is better than the rest as she believes that itcan pertain to all groups. Phinney explains that every ethnic group has disparitiesthat come about due to their membership within a group that is not dominant andso this must be resolved. Before all else, groups that are less dominant withina society must resolute the stereotypes and prejudices of the white populationthat is dominant against individuals of the non-dominant group which thereforeleads to the creation of a dangerous notion of self-concept.
Secondly, the proposedvalue system clash with the non-dominant and dominant groups is important sinceit gives the minority group the ability to discuss bicultural value systems andorganizations. This model is favorable in that it is able to recognize definiteconsciousness triggers as well as outlines that face ethnic self-concept.However, it lacks an analysis of positive critical component of the assimilationinto an individual’s culture. Additionally, the aim of the issues outlineddepend on the cultures stability. It is difficult to understand how theenvironments of education are deeply affected by our racially and ethnicallydemarcated sense of self, of learning and of education.
Complications arise formany minority and international adult learners when they attempt to transferlearning settings that were built in an ethnic base of values, beliefs andbehaviors and also a different way of doing things. Regrettably, these racialand ethnic indicators are sometimes unintentionally applied by educators andpeers in the process of learning making them problematic to examine, identifyand modify. Those, educators should make an aim to make what is believed to beinvisible to be visible in their position as educators within the learningenvironment. In addition to this, educators have the ability to establishpractices that fit in multiculturalism. Also, multiculturalism’s method ofdoing this varies due to knowledge, style and perspective which must beincluded in a multicultural learning environment.
Furthermore, a stronglearning community should have the ability to honor, support and challengeevery learner despite there contributions or uniqueness. Racial and ethnicidentities thus have an imperative influence to the relationship between individuallearners and a learning environment. In many cases, white children obtain aneducation that cements their ways of life and culture. Therefore, thesestudents don’t get the chance to learn about other cultures which makes it moredifficult for them to embrace an educational environment that thrives withmulticulturalism. This being said for education to be of great value, it isvital to create learning environments that accommodate and respect diversity.
These can be achieved by designing collaborative and individual tasks, that encouragereflective and discussion activities, and employing visual, written, relationaland various types of learning styles (Gardner 286). Curricula and activitiesmust be visible and conscious to multiculturalism in order to involve adiversity of worldviews and knowledge bases. Educators, should also considerthe relationship between the present cultural activities and practices indifferent communities as well as how an effective learning community isdefined.
In many instances, educators would feel comfortable if they hadestablished a setting that maintained their own norms while ignoringmulticulturalism. It is also hard to ignore that different experiences learnerspresent to the learning environment depend upon their cultural and ethnicidentities. This becomes a major factor that affects a learning environment.Most minority and international members bring forth experiences of having tonegotiate educational treatment of negative and lowed expectations,invisibility stereotyping, hostility and survival (Ott 72). Therefore, theseindividuals obtain the ability to give an objective observation and comparedifferent cultures. Lastly, educators can build beneficial communities ofmulticultural learning by teaching in rational and self-sharing ways andencouraging and offering multiple points of views.
Additionally, educatorsshould assistant learners better possess the essence of cultivatingmulticultural skills and understanding as it predominantly fuels andstrengthens the learning experience.