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The present portable concept dictionary focuses on such aspects as multiculturalism and ethnicity. These concepts can be used to understand the readings as well as films, videos, or even events which happen in people’s everyday life.
The first concept is essentialism which can be used to describe a community that is stable and follows its traditions (Siapera 47). This concept can be used to understand the writing describing Hmong people as those people are representatives of an affixed and stable community where people praise their traditions and try to preserve their values. Even though these people had to leave their motherland, parts of their souls (and even bodies) are in that land and people stick to their core values as they still feel the connection.
The fluidity of identity
The fluidity of identity is the concept that can describe communities’ identity as dynamic and changeable (Siapera 47). Thus, people living in a multicultural community often change as they adopt some ways of other people and ethnicities, and American society is a great example of fluidity as ethnicities shape each other’s modern values. The Asian American writer is also a bright example of this fluidity as her mother is a representative of a community that has been changing.
Mother tongue is the language people use while speaking with their parents and older generations (if they are included in certain ethnic groups). Tan notes that the language parents speak to their children has a greater impact on them than a language spoken by their peers (49). Mother tongue is also a part of people’s safe zone where they can feel at home as they know their parents share the same values which are taught through their language.
Broken identity concept
The concept of having a broken identity can be traced in stories of immigrants who always feel they (or at least a part of their soul) belong to their motherland. The placenta hidden by Hmong people is a symbol of these broken souls who often want to go back and see their ancestors’ land (Fadiman 5). Clearly, lots of books, films, and stories told by immigrants show that they want to know more about their motherland and their traditions.
The concept of speaking in one language
The concept of speaking the same language is also very important. Tan provides an example when her mother had problems with doctors as they did not understand her (49). Of course, if people do not understand each other, loads of problems appear as people do not speak the same language.
It is necessary to note that these five concepts are universal and can be found in many situations. The modern world is globalized and people leave their motherland for many reasons. They have to start a new life in a community that can have different values or even speaks another language. These people often do not understand how to move on as they feel they need something. Lots of immigrants fail to see that the thing they want is their ethnic identity.
They want to find the parts of their broken identity and learning more about their motherland can help them. Moreover, they should cherish their language as it is a part of their ethnic identity as well. These people should also understand in what community they live (flexible or stable). This will help them shape their behavior and better fit in.
Fadiman, Anne. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collisions of Two Cultures, New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012. Print.
Siapera, Eugenia. Cultural Diversity and Global Media: The Mediation of Difference, Malden, MA: John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2010. Print.
Tan, Amy. Mother Tongue. n.d. Web.