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Human beings like other living organisms live together in groups according to the nature of a locality and their adaptability to the locality. It is also notable that people living in a given locality have a particular way of life which in one way or another may be different from that of people in other localities. This paper seeks to discuss some concepts of multicultural aspects. The paper will look at the significance of the culture in understanding cultural differences.
Culture, according to Schein (2010), is a set of common beliefs acquired and adopted by a group as a way of resolving issues pertaining to the inter-group cohesion as well as its adaptation to factors from outside the group. Culture is therefore the way a group of people in a locality conduct themselves in a move to peaceful cohesion. It entails a set of practices that are learnt and adopted over tine as acceptable to the given society. Cultures vary across groups of people with some similar aspects being common across some groups.
The groups in this concept could be ethnic, geographical or even time based. Regardless of the difference in the group’s basis, the aspects of culture still remain to significantly be the group’s existence and sustainability in the locality and the peaceful co existence of the group members (Schein, 2010).
Cleary (2004) views cultural difference as a hindrance to one group understands of another group in terms of communication and conception intentions. The misunderstandings can lead to conflicts that at times end in wars among groups like nations and even ethnic groups (Cleary, 2004).
The cultural difference can be explained in many concepts such as “religion, cultural, ethnic, racial sexual and gender identities, bicultural conflicts and acculturation” (Rice, n.d., p. 1) among others. Acculturation can be defined as the process of adoption of cultural practices of a group by another group. One group can in the process of interaction with another identify a behavior or practice of interest. The group can then adopt the particular practice or practices into its culture.
A good example is the adoption of foreign language patterns by groups. It is important to note the difference between acculturation and assimilation. In assimilation, the receiving group makes a preference towards the new practice and it leads to loss of identity of the receiving group while the practice is just incorporation when it comes to acculturation (Rice, n.d.).
Acculturation does not erode the culture of the receiving group. The acquired traits are however blended into the group‘s culture to enhance its practices in to a more acceptable one. In a contact between two groups, there may a series of custom acculturations in either direction. Both the superior and the inferior of the two can incorporate the other’s culture. This is because superiority is not all inclusive.
A party superior in education matters may not be in health issues hence as one adopt practices on health, the other will be adopting educational practices. It can therefore be a one way or a dual way process. An interaction between two groups can also fail to yield acculturation especially if the groups share practices at a similar level of development. Hatred or superiority complex can also be a hindrance to acculturation. The concept in its process is interactive and an indication of a group appreciating another.
It will also ensure communication and a closer interaction in the learning process. by its definition, acculturation has an advantage of enhancing understanding and cohesion between the interacting groups. Since conflicts are a result of disagreement of views and practices, groups that have similar practices either independently or though acculturation will have fewer matters to differ in. acculturation is therefore an aspect of integrating cultures thereby reducing cultural differences (O’Neil, 2009).
Another aspect of cultural concept is the gender factor. Gender identity is what it means to be a male, a female, both or neither. The gender identity is a combination of factors in/on a person’s body as well as environmental factors. The identity is expressed in gender roles in particular communities. The gender identity is a result of continuous process of development that starts at conception. The male and female sex gametes are the initial determinants.
This is actually what brings the gender identity of a child as a male or a female. The process develops in a series of steps as a child is born and grows up to maturity. The identity therefore dictates the development nature of the child according to the environment and society of the child. There are cases of people reported to posses both sexes. These are called hermaphrodites. They are however viewed negatively in the society and in most cases subjected to medical operations to remove one sex.
The choice of the sex to be removed or left has ben at the discretion of parents though it’s advisable that such born children be given time to grow and their behavior noted before a decision is made on which sex to be removed. This is meant to give time for the child to develop its psychological features upon which decision can be made on which sex to be removed (Ghosh, 2009).
A person’s gender identity can be faced with abnormalities like in cases of abnormally small organs in male children. Ghosh (2009) indicates that medical personnel advise for operation to correct this, an indication of the importance of the gender identity. A complication is also noted in females where the uterus is not fully developed or undeveloped phallus in male children. These are just a highlight of abnormalities.
The abnormalities at times call for a consideration of changing the gender of the victim in a medical process although some people have attempted to change their gender identities even in the absence of abnormalities. The corrective measures are indications of the importance of the identity.Disorders are also experienced in gender identity.
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One’s identity dictates his/her role depending on the society. The gender difference is majorly important in the reproduction process, a fact that dictates the importance of both genders. This has seen the recent protection of the female who was once seen as a weaker gender (Ghosh, 2009).
Cultural differences among groups or societies can be a source of conflict or cohesion depending on whether there is an appreciation or misconception among the subjects. Acculturation as a result of a positive difference is a source of cohesion as well of developing practices. Gender difference is also an important aspect of a society that fosters reproduction and division of labor in a large number of societies.
Cleary, S. (2004). The Communication Handbook: A Student Guide to Effective Communication. Cape town, South Africa: Juta and Company Ltd.
Ghosh, S. (2009). Sexuality, Gender Identity. E medicine. Web.
O’Neil, D. (2009). Acculturation. Anthro Palomar. Web.
Rice. Acculturation. Rice University. Web.
Schein, H. (2010). Organizational Culture and Leadership. New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons.