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Bicultural Paradigm in a Contemporary Society Essay

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Updated: Apr 1st, 2020

Introduction

Background Information

The bicultural paradigm, which is adopted in this paper, is derived from an individual’s coexistence in a setting that has more than one cultural inclination. According to Kagawa-Singer (93), this form of a paradigm focuses on a number of areas. The areas include the language, behavior, and even emotional aspects of an individual presenting such conditions.

I am writing the current paper against this background. In the paper, I will explore the paradigm from a personal point of view. It is important to mention that I was born in China and currently reside in the United States of America (USA). In this paper, I seek to illustrate that a bicultural paradigm does not create conflict with one’s identity. On the contrary, a harmonious co-existence can be established.

Thesis Statement

The current paper revolves around one major thesis statement. The thesis statement is stated below:

A bilingual paradigm reinforces one’s identity in a society

Notwithstanding the thesis statement, the paper provides a critique of the paradigm by evaluating emotional response to outsiders’ opinions. In addition, the critique extends to how the paradigm affects inter-cultural marriages. Marriage is an important element in the society. It is noted that people from different cultures in a diverse society can come together to establish a family. Such inter-cultural unions are very significant in such a community.

The third critique in this paper is on the aspect of racial stereotypes. The racial generalizations analyzed in the paper are those brought about by the bicultural paradigm. One of the major objectives of this paper is to analyze the various stereotypes associated with bicultural identity in the society today. I will review this scenario from my point of view as a ‘Chinese American’.

A Review of Bicultural Paradigm in a Contemporary Society

A bicultural paradigm elicits various attitudes and opinions from outsiders. The realization is one of the reasons why sociologists and other scholars find this field very appealing in their studies. One such scholar is Callister (as cited in Tucker 375). The author uses the New Zealand society to illustrate that identity is the main attitude that outsiders fixate upon.

As an American of Chinese origin, my experience in the society is very unique. For example, I often get questions from my friends and strangers on my exact identity. They are not sure whether I am Chinese, American, or a mix of both. They also wonder whether my family still observes traditional Chinese practices. In addition, outsiders view a bicultural paradigm as an example of coexistence in spite of the apparent diverse backgrounds of different members of the society.

There is a common perception in contemporary society that an individual with a bicultural heritage destroys their identity. The perception is far from the truth. Tucker (375) argues that an individual may have changed their nationality at one point in their life. However, such persons are not inclined or expected to alter their culture in order to acquire the identity of their new country.

For instance, I still hold on to certain Chinese traditions in spite of the fact that I live in America. In addition, I still exercise my duties as an American citizen. The duties include voting and paying taxes to the American government. The identity issue arises out of stereotypes. In most cases, such forms of identity are flawed and misleading.

Bicultural Paradigm: A Critical Analysis from a Personal Perspective

Background

I derive my Chinese heritage from the fact that I was born in China at a place called Tianjin. I adopted a bicultural nature upon my parent’s immigration to the USA. It is important to note that a bicultural paradigm is realized once one has experienced the two cultures under consideration (Kelley, Lee and Soutar 250). In my case, this observation is true. The reason is that my entire family relocated to the USA after I completed my high school education.

Members of the Paradigm

A bicultural paradigm is made up of individuals motivated by socio-economic factors like education and trade. Thus, it is common to find students and businessmen as members of a bicultural paradigm. Tucker (377) argues that such a paradigm demands an adoption of new societal norms. Thus, it is common to find multicultural bonds. However, the same tends to be stressful because acquiring new things at an advanced age is quite challenging.

Goals

People are in constant demand of a better life. The goals of a bicultural paradigm include educational advancement. Schwartz and Unger (27) insists that people are wired to better themselves, As an individual y goals are to advance my knowledge in technology and forge more ties in my field.

Assumptions, Expectations and General Thinking

Outsiders make the general assumptions that members of a bicultural paradigm are deviant. They expect that one has to renounce their cultural inclinations to be seen as having a new and proper identity. Schwartz and Unger (28) point out that such thinking is derived from stereotype biases. Thus, the general thinking of outsiders is that members of a bicultural paradigm are inferior.

Related Paradigm

The bilingual and international student paradigms are related to the bicultural paradigm. According to Bagozzi, Wong, Abe and Bergami (99) such paradigms have similarities in the language. In both cases, the members speak more than one language. However, the discrepancy emerges in the nationality. Bicultural paradigm demands a nationality change whereas the other two don’t demand of the same.

Language

A bicultural paradigm is characterized by, among others, multiple languages. My Chinese background has affected the quality of my English to the extent of my friends branding it Chinglish. Bagozzi et al. (100) suggest that one’s background affects their oratory skills. The same explains my inability to utter certain terminologies as required in English.

Personal Experience

On a common day, I attend classes to improve on my English. One of the physical components includes dressing in conformity with the society. Also, I try to adopt the American accent in my speech. However, the shortcoming of the same is realized in the psychological effects one experiences (Schwartz and Unger 30). I suffer emotional distress when I have to endure the ridicule based on my race and phonetics.

Having analyzed the aspects of the bicultural paradigm, it is important to appreciate the fact that there are some aspects which demand a critique. Relationships are the most common critique points exhibited by such a paradigm. According to Schwartz and Unger (29), biculturalism is a breeding ground for racial stereotypes.

The researchers opine that when an individual settles in a society with new cultures, they are bound to be viewed as inferior. The native members begin to profile individuals based on their original culture as opposed to their individual prowess.

I have personally been a victim to such situations. My classmates often associate my East Asia background with smartness. Kagawa-Singer (95) mentions that such racial stereotypes are also advanced in the media. Consequently, the diversity of a bicultural paradigm is scorned rather than being appreciated. The bicultural society in the years after slavery was abolished saw racism being entrenched in places like America.

Picking up on the relationship aspect, it is important to appreciate that a bicultural paradigm is not immune to societal notions like marriage. For instance, my family’s oriental backgrounds dictate that I should marry according to the traditions.

However, in a society like the one I currently reside, marriage does not conform to a traditional manner. Kelley et al. (250) argue that it is possible for one not to marry outside their culture out of fear of breaking cultural traditions. In my case, the same is true owing the pressure from my parents to take a Chinese companion.

Inter-cultural marriages are an attempt at ensuring coexistence between individuals of different backgrounds. Thus, receding to one’s cultural orientation enhances such issues as racial stereotypes. Tucker (374) supports this view by insisting that intra-marriages create the impression of a community that does not like associating with others. Such scenarios create animosity and increase the negative perceptions of a bicultural paradigm.

A bicultural paradigm has certain emotional connotations. Kelley et al. (103) observe that the need to fit into the new society’s culture has a psychological effect on the members of a specific bicultural paradigm. Under such circumstances the members strain to learn cultural aspects like language and cuisine. Drawing from my oriental background, the languages are nothing similar. When I started learning English, it was so difficult and the taunts I kept on getting from my colleagues were not helpful either.

The emotional duress due to the adoption of a new culture is even more pronounced when it comes to making friends. It took me a while to associate with people because of the language barrier. However, the most psychologically hurtful bit was when people imitated my speech in a bid to make me look inferior. Tucker (378) argues that one’s esteem is at risk whenever they face attacks on their person. Thus, whereas a bicultural paradigm exposes one to a better life, such psychological constraints make one question whether it was worth it.

Conclusion

The discussions outlined in this critique are essential to understanding the benefits of a paradigm bicultural. The criticisms provided are not an attempt at painting the paradigm in bad light. Rather, they help to illustrate areas that need rectification (Tucker 378). Thus, the racial stereotypes can be replaced by an idea exchange. When an individual comes from a different culture, they come with new ideas like cooking and painting. Embracing such diversity would be a solution to racial profiling.

Further, dropping biases and enhancing inter-cultural marriages is one step at improving coexistence in a society. Also, a change in the mindset is required for one not to take jokes too seriously as they tend to affect one’s emotions. In conclusion, the solutions t these criticisms are intended to ensure that one does not lose their identity even by adopting a new culture.

Works Cited

Bagozzi, Richard. “Cultural and Situational Contingencies and the Theory of Reasoned Action: Application to Fast Food Restaurant.” Cultural Psychology 9.9 (2000): 97-106. Print.

Kagawa-Singer, Marjorie. “Improving the Validity and Generalizability of Studies with Underserved U.S. Populations Expanding the Research Paradigm.” Annals of Epidemiology 10.8 (2000): 92-103. Print.

Kelley, James, Julie Lee, and Geoffrey Soutar. “Global Cultural Identity: An Examination of Bicultural Self- Concepts through Priming in Australia.” International Business: Research Teaching and Practice 6.1 (2012): 76-95. Print.

Schwartz, Seth, and Jennifer Unger. “Biculturalism and Context: What is Biculturalism, and when is it Adaptive?.” Human Development 53.1 (2010): 26-32. Print.

Tucker, Brian. “Paul in Bi-Cultural Perspectives.” Journal of Beliefs and Values: Studies in Religion and Education 34.3 (2013): 374-377. Print.

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