Bicultural Difficulties

Bicultural identity is the condition of being oneself regarding the combination of two cultures. The term can also be defined as biculturalism, which is the presence of two different cultures in the same country or region. As a general term, culture involves the behaviors and belief characteristics of a particular social, ethnic, or age group. Within culture, we have cultural effects, which are the shared behaviors and customs we learn from the institutions around us. An example of a cultural effect would be how an individual’s personality is strongly influenced by the biological and social norms he is exposed to. Another cultural effect would be that in some societies it would be more acceptable to dress or act in a certain way. In regards to bicultural identity, an individual may face conflict assimilating into both cultures or finding a balance between both. An individual may face challenges assimilating into the whole, collective culture. Similarly, an individual may face difficulty balancing their identity within themselves due to the influence of both of their cultures. Bicultural identity also may have positive effects on the individual, in terms of the additional knowledge they acquire from belonging to more than one culture. Furthermore, with the growing number of racial minorities in American society, individuals that identify with more than one culture may have more linguistic ability.

Immigrants particularly find it difficult to assimilate both their cultural contexts. Immigrants need to reconcile both their current host cultures and their culture of origin, which is where they grew up. Immigrants culturally evolve through a process of adaptation and assimilation. Immigrants are usually influenced by more dominant values that they have learned in their native cultures. Immigrants encounter a major upheaval by moving far away from home and sometimes may never find themselves connected to either culture. Immigrants face many stresses, which can raise their risk for substance abuse and other psychological stressors. Developing a bicultural identity is involves blending two cultures together and learning to be competent within their two cultures. Immigrants and children of these individuals may be more at risk for victimization, poverty, and the need for assistance from the government. Immigrant parents for example may struggle to find a balance in their new lives and may be so busy keeping up with the demands that may be less involved in the community and in turn less involved with their child’s education. With immigrants, language barriers may also bring hardship in terms of communication with natives of their less dominant culture. Immigrants may not adapt fully because of the language barriers holding them back from even simple conversation. Acculturation is the process in which a bicultural individual or immigrant adopts the social norms of the mainstream society. The cultural gap between immigrant parents and their children may widen due to acculturation because younger generations find it easier to adapt to the new culture. Family relations may be strained due to this issue. Children of immigrant parents may enjoy more mainstream culture, but may also want to stick to their families’ roots in order to please their caregivers. Immigrants and bicultural families do have more positive roles as well. They have strong commitments to family and have a dream for a better life. This in turns gives families a sense of purpose and connection and makes the family unit stronger. Native customs such as holidays and religious affiliations may also support the family unit and promote unity all around.

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