Racial identity is usually associated with external physical traits such as skin color, hair texture, facial appearance, and eye shape.
Ethnicity or ethnic identity is derived from a sense of shared heritage, history, traditions, values, similar behaviors, area of origin, and in some instances, language.
Gender identity refers to the ways particular cultures differentiate between masculine and feminine roles.
National identity refers to nationality, which the majority of people associate with the nation where they were born. But national identity can also be acquired by immigration and naturalization.
Residents demonstrate their regional identity through ethnicity, language, accent, dialect, customs, food, dress, or different historical and political legacies.
A person’s organizational affiliation can be an important source of identity. This is especially true in collectivistic cultures, but far less so in individualistic cultures.
Personal identity arises from those objects and ideas that help set you and others apart from the dominant culture while also marking you as a member of a specific group.
Cyber and fantasy identity:
Individuals select and promote what they consider the positive features of their identity and omit any perceived negative elements, or even construct entirely new identities by changing your age, history, personality, physical appearance, even your gender; or by assuming, enacting, and communicating the identity of your favorite character.
Acquiring and developing identities
You do it through interaction with others in your cultural group.
Phinney offers a three-stage model to help explain identity development.
+ Unexamined ethnic identity:
Individuals are not particularly interested in exploring or demonstrating their personal ethnicity.
+ Ethnic identity search:
Individuals become interested in learning about and understanding their own ethnicity.
+ Ethnic achievement:
Individuals have a clear and confident understanding of their own cultural identity.
Martin and Nakayama present separate, multi-stage identity development models for minority, majority, and biracial individuals.
In the minority development model:
+ Unexamined identity:
Individuals are unconcerned with identity issues.
Minority members endeavor to fit in with the dominant culture and may even possess negative self-images.
+ Resistance and separatism:
Some cultural awakening stimulates a greater interest in and adherence to one’s own culture. Concurrently, rejection of all or selected aspects of the dominant culture may occur.
Individuals have a sense of pride in, and identify with, their own cultural group and demonstrate an acceptance of other groups.
In the five-step model for majority identity development:
+ Unexamined identity:
Identity is of little concern.
It is characterized by acquiescence to existing social inequities, even though such acceptance may be at a subconscious level.
Members of the dominant culture become more aware of existing social inequities, begin to question their own culture, and increase association with minority culture members.
+ Redefinition and reintegration:
They bring an increased understanding of one’s dominant culture identity and an appreciation of minority cultures.
In the biracial identity development model:
+ In the first stage:
Biracial individuals may rotate through three phases where they (1) become conscious of differences in general and the potential for discord, (2) gain an awareness of their personal differences from other children, and (3) begin to sense they are not part of the norm.
+ In the second stage:
There is a struggle to be accepted and the development of feelings that they should choose one race or another.
+ In the third and final stage:
Biracial individuals accept their duality, becoming more self-confident.
Establishing and expressing cultural identities
By interacting with others you continually create and re-create your cultural identity through communication.
Once established, identities are enacted in many ways, beginning in childhood and progressing through adolescence into the adult years.
Communication employed to create and enact identity can take a variety of forms, including “conversation, commemorations of history, music, dance, ritual, ceremonial, and social drama of all sorts.
+ Stereotypes are mentally constructed simplistic categories used to classify things, events, and groups of people. Stereotypes can be negative or positive, but both tend to overgeneralize.
+ The most obvious, and perhaps most important, agent of stereotypes is the socialization process, which begins with our parents. Many stereotypes are generated by the mass media.
+ Stereotypes hamper intercultural communication: First, stereotypes can filter out the truth. Second, it is just the assumption. Third, stereotypes distort the truth. Fourth, stereotypes are resistant to change.
+ Stereotypes should be avoided: Avoiding stereotypes should begin in childhood. Be open to new information and evidence and aware of your own zone of discomfort.
+ Prejudice occurs when a person holds a generalization about a group of people or things, often based on little or no factual experience. Prejudice can be positive (liking a certain group or thing) or negative (disliking a certain group or thing).
+ Expressions of prejudice: