Ideal Culture vs. Real Culture and Aspects of Ethnicity Essay

Pages: 2 (617 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Anthropology

¶ … culture vs. real culture and aspects of ethnicity

Stereotypes function as a kind of 'shorthand' for understanding individuals of different cultures. Idealizing or essentializing a culture is a form of stereotyping, whether it is done in a positive or negative manner. Sometimes, people may think they are being tolerant when they construct an idealized, homogeneous image of another culture: Italians are warm and emotional and are food-focused; family-oriented Hispanics are very interested in the culture of their homeland; Native Americans are connected to 'the land.' While these apparently positive stereotypes may seem harmless, for individuals of these cultures they can seem like straightjackets. The availability of stereotypes can also cause an outside observer to feel as if he or she knows a culture inside and out, simply because he or she is 'respectful' of a few token cultural differences that merely scratch the surface of a culture's complexity.

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On a personal level, being reduced to an 'idealized' member of a culture can threaten personal growth and expression. An African-American may dislike being the student referred to as an expert on race relations in the United States in his class -- not only is this reductionist, but it also assumes that the dominant, hegemonic culture of 'white' culture is neutral, versus 'other,' ethnic cultures. The African-American student may feel more competent to weigh in on the subject of healthcare, perhaps because his father is a doctor. Also, creating an ideal 'African-American' culture can be profoundly misleading, given that African-Americans who are children of recent African immigrants may have a different cultural sensibility, and even African-Americans from the North and South may have profound cultural differences that belie the construction of a singular cultural gloss.

Essay on Ideal Culture vs. Real Culture and Aspects of Ethnicity Assignment

Idealizing can thus obscure rather than illuminate real problems suffered by ethnic minorities in America. For example, the common stereotype that Asian-Americans are… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Ideal Culture vs. Real Culture and Aspects of Ethnicity.  (2009, November 3).  Retrieved March 7, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Ideal Culture vs. Real Culture and Aspects of Ethnicity."  3 November 2009.  Web.  7 March 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Ideal Culture vs. Real Culture and Aspects of Ethnicity."  November 3, 2009.  Accessed March 7, 2021.