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Nigeria has more than 250 various ethical groups on its territory, which is why people identify themselves very differently. In addition to recognizing himself as an African, a Nigerian can also say that he belongs to the Hausa, Fulani, Yoruba, Kanuri, Igbo, or another ethical group. (Falola, 2001, p. 5).
Considering the variety of ethnicities, Nigerians have a very diverse culture and are proud of it. People, who have never been to this country, have a lot of stereotypes regarding the way people live here. For example, many foreigners believe that Nigerians practice black magic, which even has its own name here – “juju” (Falola, 2001, p. 37). This stereotype can probably be explained by Nigerian movies where black magic rituals are very common. In reality, it is much harder to find a man who has a hand in juju. On the contrary, Nigerian population is deeply religious: the majority of people there are either Muslims or Christians (Falola, 2001, p. 40).
In addition, Nigerians are believed to speak their own Nigerian pidgin, which is not true since the official language of the country is English, and many people speak it fluently (Falola, 2001, p. 7). Also, there is a popular belief that Nigerians are uneducated. In fact, even though schools in this country are not the best, parents always insist on their children’s education. The stereotype that all Nigerians look alike is unfounded as well. All Africans look alike no more than all Chinese or Asians do.
In general, Nigerians are modest, hard-working people, who are very smart, if educated. They are passionate and enjoy their life, and that is similar to my own cultural group, which is African-American. The majority of African-Americans are very religious too. Apart from this, I do not see many similarities between Nigerian and African-American people.
Caribbean (St. Croix)
People from the Caribbean in general and St. Croix in particular, usually self-identify themselves as West Indians while individuals of other cultural groups and nationalities can call dark-skinned people from the Caribbean African-Americans and white-skinned people from the Caribbean Canadians, Europeans, or even Asians. As Organista, Marin, and Chun (2010) state, dark-skinned individuals from the Caribbean would rather prefer to be called black than African-Americans since they are not African-Americans, in fact. So, that is the first stereotype people have about those from the Caribbean.
Another one is that many people associate the Caribbean with Jamaica. Evidently, that is not right since Jamaica is only one of the Caribbean countries, and it does not even have the largest population. Also, Rihanna and Bob Marley are not the only great people who are from the Caribbean, and Rihanna’s songs hardly represent her home country at all. Additionally, even though many people picture West Indians listening to reggae and smoking marijuana all the time, reggae is only one of art forms the Caribbean has to offer, and marijuana is still illegal everywhere, except Jamaica.
In general, people from the Caribbean are open-minded, tend to stick together and value their own culture, even though it is diverse and greatly inspired by European ones (for example, there is the “quadrille” dance in St. Croix) (St. Croix, n.d., par. 2). As for my own culture, we also tend to stick together and value shared beliefs, traditions and customs, just as people from the Caribbean do.
Self-identification of Hispanic people is an unclear issue since an individual the government identifies as Hispanic actually may state he is Latino or Spanish. According to the study described in the article by Taylor, Lopez, Martinez, and Velasco (2012), more than the half of Hispanics would prefer to identify themselves in accordance with their countries of origin.
One of the most popular stereotypes people have about Hispanic is that they are loud, crazy, and passionate. While it is true about some of them, there are still a lot of Hispanic people who are modest, calm and shy. Another controversial issue is that of gender identity. Hispanic women are believed to be sexy. Considering that the world sees such women as Rita Hayworth, Eva Longoria and Raquel Welch in films and on the television, such a belief is not surprising since those women indeed have sexy bodies. However, not every Hispanic woman is like that. Men of this cultural group, in its turn, are wrongly stereotyped as drug dealers or users, which is probably because of Mexico, the top drug producing country.
Similarly to Hispanic gender identity, male African-Americans are stereotyped to be negative characters as well. As Organista et al. (2010) state, “historically, African-American men have been stereotyped as being deviant, irresponsible, and neglectful in their family and social lives” (p. 165).
The majority of people in Pakistan recognize themselves as Pakistani. However, those who want to refer themselves to other cultural groups are deprived of that opportunity. As Chaudhry (2015) writes in his article, the country denies “its five million Ahmedi Muslims this basic right to self-identity” (par. 4).
When it comes to associations with Pakistani and stereotypes about them, a lot of people immediately begin to think about terrorism. A common reason for that is the tragedy happened on September 11, 2011. Surely, there is no excuse for people who are responsible for it, but that is only thirty persons out of almost 200 million people. Individuals who conclude that every Pakistani must be a terrorist is wrong, and this tendency has to stop. The same is about the religion Pakistani have. It is not connected to terrorism in any way: terrorism comes from understanding religion wrongly, not from religion itself.
In his book, Harry (2012) writes about Pakistani as they really are. According to him, they are simple and honest people, who are tolerant and want do no harm. They value family and friendship, like thankfulness and laughter. The same qualities can describe people of my own cultural group as well.
European (The Netherlands)
People in the Netherlands recognize themselves as Europeans and Dutch. Immigrants or refugees, who live in the Netherlands, may identify themselves in accordance with their countries of origin.
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As for the stereotypes, Dutch people are believed to smoke marijuana and be stoned all the time. Still, that is not true. Legalization of marijuana in this country turns out to help the government to lower the number of addicts. Besides, the majority of people who buy soft drugs are tourists. The same is about the prostitution. Also, not so many people in the Netherlands are gay, as the world tends to believe. The country is very tolerant in this regard, but that does not mean that everyone is gay there.
People in the Netherlands are very direct and honest, they “speak their mind freely”, which is why someone may say that they are rude (Besamusca & Verheul, 2010, p. 267). However, that is not rudeness. The Dutch just say whatever they think directly and personally; they never gossip. Also, they are not greedy, as many people believe. They do keep a tight watch on their money and try to save, but they can be really generous when it is needed. As for my own cultural group, I think that directness and honesty are the common qualities we have with the Dutch.
Conclusions: The Chart
|African (Nigeria)||Caribbean (St. Croix)||Hispanic||Pakistan||European (The Netherlands)|
|Self-identifying||Africans. May identify themselves as the Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, etc.||People from the Caribbean (West Indians).||May identify themselves as Hispanic or Latino or in accordance with their countries of origin.||Pakistani. People are deprived of the opportunity to self-identify.||Europeans, the Dutch.|
|Stereotypes||Nigerians are believed to practice black magic, speak Nigerian pidgin, be uneducated.||The Caribbean is associated with Jamaica, Rihanna and Bob Marley, reggae and marijuana.||Women are considered to be sexy; men are believed to be drug dealers or drug users.||Pakistani are associated with terrorism and ‘dangerous’ religion.||The Dutch are associated with marijuana, prostitution, and gays. The Dutch people are believed to be rude and greedy.|
|Things in common with my own cultural group (African-American)||Modest, hard-working, and passionate people, who are usually also very religious.||People, who stick together and value their culture.||African-Americans are also stereotyped to be ‘negative characters’.||Simple, honest and tolerant people, who value family and friendship.||African-Americans are usually also direct and honest.|
Besamusca, E., & Verheul, J. (2010). Discovering the Dutch: On Culture and Society of the Netherlands. Amsterdam, the Netherlands: Amsterdam University Press. Web.
Chaudhry, K. N. (2015). Pakistan, Burma and the right to self-identify. Web.
Falola, T. (2001). Culture and Customs of Nigeria. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group. Web.
Harry, N. (2012). Understanding Pakistani Culture. Bloomington, IN. AuthorHouse. Web.
Organista, P. B., Marin, G., & Chun, K. M. (2010). The Psychology of Ethnic Groups in the United States. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications. Web.
St. Croix: Culture and History. (n.d.). Web.
Taylor, P., Lopez, M. H., Martinez, J., & Velasco, G. (2012). When Labels Don’t Fit: Hispanics and Their Views of Identity. Web.