Challenges to Living in a Multicultural World

Up to this point we have largely focused on many benefits of living in a multicultural world including the cognitive and psychological benefits of bilingualism, cultural frame switching and the regular use of code-switching in the age of social media. This section will focus on many some of the challenges that persist when living in a multicultural world.

Cultural Reaffirmation

Cultural reaffirmation is a phenomenon that occurs when multicultural individuals living in multicultural societies endorse even more traditional values than persons from the native country or monoculture individuals. There have been several instances observed in Western and Eastern cultures. For example, Kosmitzki (1996) examined monocultural and bicultural Germans and Americans who rated themselves, their cultural group and adopted cultural group. The bicultural individuals endorsed even more traits and values of the native culture than the monoculture individuals. Matsumoto, Weissman, Preston, Brown and Kupperbusch (1997) compared Japanese and Japanese Americans on ratings of interpersonal interactions and found that the Japanese Americans rated themselves higher in areas of collectivism than the Japanese nationals. Cultural reaffirmation has been explained by the stresses of immigrating or becoming part of a multicultural society. In other words, the immigrant group hangs tightly to the native culture even as the native culture changes, in this way the immigrant culture begins to conform to stereotypes.

Identity Denial

Identity denial occurs when individuals are not accepted as a member of the group that they identify with. To be clear, individuals are not denying their heritage, culture or experience but others who share their identity are rejecting them. Cheryan and Monin (2005) revealed that Asian Americans experience more identity denial than other ethnic groups in the United States. As a reaction to the denial, individuals will often over identify with American culture (e.g., football, music, television).


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Culture and Psychology by L D Worthy; T Lavigne; and F Romero is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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