Free «Response Paper: Culture and Race» Essay Paper

Response Paper: Culture and Race

Culture is a broad term that generally describes the local context of a place or a community including its particularities. Seemingly, over time cultural resources have exerted significant influence on development at large. Therefore, this implies that in every development process, particularly of human psychology, it is vital to acknowledge and respond to the peculiarities of culture. Nurturing and advancing the human mind has appeared to be equally important as other factors in the matters of development, which culture provides for. However, culture is defined wrongly in most cases when considered at an individual rather than at a community level.

In the article, Schweder regards culture as a great aspect in determining general development especially that of values and morals as the areas of concern. Besides, this kind of development has been summarized as personality development, which shows interconnection with cultural practices as presented in the article. In the example used by Schweder concerning co-sleeping of infants with their parents until adolescence, cultural practices in the past conflict with those in the present. Hence, this is portrayed by pediatric conversations, which have shown that Japanese children typically know no other culture than co-sleeping with their parents until they reach teenage years. On the other hand, there is a belief that it is highly effective to allow a child to sleep alone for the promotion of autonomy and independence among the little ones (Shweder, Jensen, & Goldstein, 1995). Moreover, it has a great role in inducing psychological growth and development as exhibited by different case scenarios. Although co-sleeping arrangements may differ among various groups, in some instances, such habits are extremely rare to find while in others spending the night in the parents’ room may last until a kid is one year old.

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Co-sleeping as a practice is divergent in all cultures. The difference in practices has been associated with development majorly insinuating that resource limitations and the aspect of crowding are the main factors behind such practices. The timespan for co-sleeping habits has been extended, especially in African-American families. Thus, this depicts that such sleeping practices have not been adopted in a uniform way, as some still hold their belief that co-sleeping ensures the establishment and enhancement of social bonds between parents and children.

Psychological development of people is influenced by numerous factors. According to the integrative model that explains the aspect of personal growth, the key factors of social class, ethnicity, culture and race are of significance with regard to such a development. The model offers theoretical framework with the aim to provide an understanding of the processes of development in children even at the intersection of the major decisive factors. The Schweders’ article creates insights on how social class has enormous determining power on the development among kids and generally parenting habits. Although ethno theories stress infant independence as well as other values, some communities are resistant to cultural change despite the social changes that are regarded as ultimate drivers to the latter (Shweder, Jensen, & Goldstein, 1995). Thus, this is mainly because several researches assert that in child development, the learning environments and cultural values determine the adaptation to certain social demographic conditions.

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While some embrace autonomy, individualism and independence, more reserved communities bring attention to collectivism and great hope in solidarity as well as interdependence in infant care in this case. Hence, this has mainly reflected in sleeping arrangements. The article associates social change with human development when the writer tries to show the conflict in the practices of sleeping arrangements among different groups within the same country. He explains that the lack of uniformity in adapting to practices of infant care as a result of intertwined factors of social class, race, ethnicity and collective cultural values is highlighted by ethno theorists. Further, the emphasis is placed on the aspect of independence, as it is highly influenced by the practices of caregiving among young children and in this case of sleeping arrangements. However, for the communities and groups that follow co-sleeping traditions, it is unclear and unpredictable that there is likely to be a shift to the practice of sleeping apart, and Japan is a good example.

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Race as a concept is used to classify people according to their ancestry, heritable characteristics or physical appearances. As opposed to race, culture is more focused on peoples, beliefs, behaviors and traditions, which they hold. While race remains constant, culture is the practices, which are not steady and which focus on individual differences rather than the deficits. In their point of view, Gutierrez and Rogoff believe that even in the cultural-historical kind of approach, no assumptions should be made since the major one, which presupposes that individuals are the ‘carriers’ of culture, affects research radically (Gutierrez & Rogoff, 2003).

  • Their idea is important, as it emphasizes more reason, in particular, that such studies of different ethnic groups are applied in schools and other institutions.
  • It also highlights open-mindedness while conducting the research, which therefore has a complementary effect on drawing attention away from the deficits rather than towards the differences.
  • In their article, they try to explain that in some applications of the aptitude treatment approach, it may be assumed that individual style is independent of contexts and tasks, although it might be constant. Moreover, this outlook expounds that there is a diversity in style, the understanding of which is greatly helpful in appreciating culture and its advancement. Cultural differences should not be mistaken for individual traits, as this encourages extreme generalization.
  • Overgeneralization has posed a challenge, especially in the process of designing of learning experiences intended to complement the differences in learning styles among certain ethnicities in schools.
  • The consideration of such aspects as dynamicity of communities and culture in general avoids grounding cultural observation. Even though shortcomings were noted in trying to locate the commonalities among people sharing a particular culture within individuals, the writer believes that culture regularities can best be derived from collective traits of several representatives of a culture and not those located in a person.

In an argument of culture development and the deficit model, according to Gutierrez and Rogoff, learners cannot be reduced to their cultural background. For instance, culture and history of a student cannot be separated but should be rather perceived as a trait. As different ethnic groups participate in their cultural activities, the unsteady lifestyle and trends promote changes (Gutierrez & Rogoff, 2003). The children who share a background have different strategies and approaches to learning. Each individual is to be viewed as a separate entity in the process of comparison of the way they choose to deal with situations. Thus, these include their reactions pertaining learning methods. Youngsters who use their cultural practices in learning are better placed and they perceive some things easier than those who adapt to new cultures, for instance, a junior who learns the second language in a new cultural environment. The method of teaching applied by teachers from the same background as the students is different from the techniques of the instructors who may not speak the language of the pupils. In case teachers have little or no background information about the learners, they employ the deficit model tactic. They should try to use the information they have to determine the learning patterns of the students. The writer’s argument complements the Shweder’s article in its claim that some cultures tend to protect its people from risks by maintaining their moral values. Therefore, early years are crucial for the psychological development of juveniles.

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In summary, after the discussion on race and culture, it is justifiable to conclude that the psychological development of humans is mainly influenced by culture rather than one’s race. Considering the variations among different groups, culture is only best determined when commonalities are identified among people. Hence, this is supported by the fact that such reasons as poverty, availability of the living space and others affect cultural practices may be overlooked. Therefore, it is right to argue that the physiological development of a child could be heavily impacted by the external national practices.

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