Culture

Identity and Assimilation

Cultural Identity

How someone labels themselves with regards to the defining factors of: race, sex/gender, health, ability/disability, social class, ethnicity/nationality, religion/spirituality, geographic location/region, age, sexuality, language, social status

Cultural Assimilation

The process of a recessive culture and language being phased out by a more dominant culture

Agents that Transmit Culture

Family, School, House of Worship, Community, Neighborhood, Peer Group, Media (print and electronic), Sports, Arts, Workplace, Technology

Sources of Cultural Identity

Assimilation Theories

In Your Classroom

1. Create a sense of belonging

2. Consensus on rules of conduct

3. Learning Adaptations

What is Cultural Identity to You?

Video Starter Questions

1. What is your initial reaction to these videos?

2. Is globalization a good thing or a bad thing? Explain.

3. Why do we value culture so much?


Feel free to talk about other questions you have or anything else you want to discuss about these video clips.

Small Group Discussion

Question #1

Steven Wong is the child of a rather well-to-do family. Compared to many students in his community, he is well traveled, having had the opportunity to visit China as well as other countries throughout Asia in order to maintain family and cultural connections. He has also had exposure to many different opportunities as he was growing up. To his parents' dismay, Steven is not excited about college, sometimes saying he would rather study the martial arts as a profession and at other times saying he would like to leave the area, perhaps move out west, and "find" himself. (pg. 100)


1. How could you explain Steven's apparent ambivalence toward college?

2. Why do you think Steven needs to find himself?

Question #2

Michael Williams, who comes from a working-class family and was raised by his grandparents and mother, is planning to got to college, although he does not have a particular major in mind. He is, however, pretty certain that he would like to continues with his golf and hopes to obtain a college scholarship through the sport. Many people in his community would have expected him to play basketball rather than golf.


1. To what would attribute this?

2. Did you automatically assume Michael was of a certain race or ethnicity? Why or why not?

3. How is this related to cultural identity and assimilation?

Question #3

Shameka Collins lives a life many people could not imagine. Being biracial in American society has presented for her both numerous opportunities and many challenges. Many doors were open to her, especially when she was young, but since her father began working away from home, she feels as though things have changed.

Shameka identifies herself as African American now, not because of what she thinks but because of what everybody else thinks. It's just become easier, she says. In seventh and eighth grade, soon after her father left, Shameka saw a counselor on a regular basis. She told her counselor that sometimes she doesn't feel like a black person because in many ways she was raised white. When she was younger, she would tell the counselor, she used to wish that she was just one race, because then she could say that's what she was and it was less confusing for people. But that wish created a dilemma for her. She felt that if she just said she was black, then she was denying her white side. And if she said she was white, she was denying the other side.


1. How could you help Shameka understand her internal conflicts?

2. If you were her classroom teacher, how could you make things easier for her in the classroom for her, or others feeling the same conflict?

A Resource for You!

Thanks for listening!

By: Caitlin, Daisha and Chelsea