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Cultural Identity Dr. W. Terrell Jones Vice Provost for Educational Equity The Pennsylvania State University www.equity.psu.edu.

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Presentation on theme: "Cultural Identity Dr. W. Terrell Jones Vice Provost for Educational Equity The Pennsylvania State University www.equity.psu.edu."— Presentation transcript:

1 Cultural Identity Dr. W. Terrell Jones Vice Provost for Educational Equity The Pennsylvania State University

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3 Six Observations 1. All of us have multiple identities, some of which we may identify with more than others. 2. We often experience contradictory urges or needs for a sense of belonging or "fitting in" as well as a feeling of uniqueness or specialness. 3. Some differences or identities exact a higher and/or different price for the bearer in a particular societal, historical, or situational context.

4 Six Observations continued 4. Some individuals have a choice of becoming recognized as members of a particular identity or choosing to remain anonymous. 5. Individual identities are always changing and developing. 6. The development of an individual identity does not preclude the development of shared goals and purpose.

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6 Summary of Some Characteristics of White Racial Identity Ego Statuses Adapted from J.E. Helms, 1992 Types of Ego Status General DescriptionBehavioral-Cognitive Dimensions ContactNaiveté, obliviousness to sociopolitical implications to race Has difficulty consciously thinking of self as White; claims to be color-blind and thinks it a positive attribute DisintegrationDisorientation and confusion First conscious acknowledgement of the value of being White; awareness of racial moral dilemmas is salient

7 Summary of Some Characteristics of White Racial Identity Ego Statuses Adapted from J.E. Helms, 1992 Type of Ego Status General DescriptionBehavioral-Cognitive Dimensions ReintegrationEndorsement of White superiority and supremacy is guiding theme Displaced anger and hostility toward people of color is in the forefront; identity is maintained by increasing White privilege

8 Adapted from J.E. Helms, 1992 Type of Ego Status General DescriptionBehavioral-Cognitive Dimensions Pseudo- independence Intellectualized acknowledgement of implications of racial- group membership; feels responsible for “helping” the less fortunate groups become more like Whites Attempts to resolve racial tensions by feeling guilty; believes that racism is not personally relevant if one has a friend of color; contends that racism is engaged in only bad Whites Summary of Some Characteristics of White Racial Identity Ego Statuses

9 Adapted from J.E. Helms, 1992 Type of Ego Status General DescriptionBehavioral-Cognitive Dimensions A search to define and abandon personal racism and to define a nonracist White identity Attempts to help Whites understand their role in perpetuating racism; tries to build a network of nonracist Whites AutonomyRacial humanism; internally defined nonracist identity; valuing of racial diversity Seeks opportunities to increase the diversity in his or her life; does not force White culture on others Immersion and emersion

10 Five Functions of Identity 1.Buffering Function Refers to those actions that allow for psychological protection and self-defense against everyday encounters with racism Serves as a shield against unavoidable or unsuspected racist encounters Can also be applied or used in ways that block or limit opportunities for development and growth

11 Five Functions of Identity 2.Bonding Function Relates to the degree to which a person derives meaning and support from affiliation with or attachment to people of one’s race and one’s culture

12 Five Functions of Identity 3.Bridging Function Refers to abilities associated with being comfortable moving back and forth between one’s own culture and that of another A person with this function can experience high levels of comfort and joy with opportunities to learn about other cultures and in sharing with and educating others

13 Five Functions of Identity 4.Code-switching Function An ability to temporarily accommodate to norms and regulations of a group, organization, school, or workplace A natural defense for situations where other groups express uneasiness with different norms and values

14 Five Functions of Identity 5.Individualism Function An expression of one’s uniqueness One’s individual personality allows one to act in a race-neutral fashion in accord with individual norms, likes, and dislikes

15 Racial/Ethnic Identity Development Models and Statuses From Cross, 1971, Atkinson, Morten, and Sue, 1989, 1990, and Helms, 1992 Negro-to- Black Minority Identity Development Composite Description Pre-encounterConformityMinimization of membership or denigration of one’s own as well as other visible racial and ethnic groups*; idealization of Whites and White culture EncounterDissonanceDisorientation and confusion regarding own-group and majority-group affiliation and appreciation * Refers collectively to Asian, Black, Native, and Hispanic Americans of color

16 Racial/Ethnic Identity Development Models and Statuses From Cross, 1971, Atkinson, Morten, and Sue, 1989, 1990, and Helms, 1992 Negro-to- Black Minority Identity Development Composite Description Immersion and emersion Resistance and immersion Idealization of one’s own visible racial and ethnic group* and physical and psychological withdrawal into one’s own group; rejection and denigration of “Whiteness” IntrospectionSearch for more rational group self- definition and more balanced intergroup relations * Refers collectively to Asian, Black, Native, and Hispanic Americans of color

17 Racial/Ethnic Identity Development Models and Statuses From Cross, 1971, Atkinson, Morten, and Sue, 1989, 1990, and Helms, 1992 Negro-to- Black Minority Identity Development Composite Description InternalizationIntegrative Awareness Positive sense of visible racial and ethnic group* self, capacity to value and respect other racial and ethnic groups Internalization and commitment Recognition of shared oppressions with broad range of societal groups and the will to promote change * Refers collectively to Asian, Black, Native, and Hispanic Americans of color

18 Cultural Identity Dr. W. Terrell Jones Vice Provost for Educational Equity The Pennsylvania State University


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