People have bicultural identities when they can show involvement in the demands of their own cultural ethnic group and at the same time handle the demands of a cultural majority group. A person with a bicultural identity is successful and knowledgeable about how to interact with people from his or her own culture as well as other cultural groups including the dominant group. With this identity comes acceptance of both cultures in terms of one’s own culture and the dominant culture, but one does not abandon his or her own cultural values. The word bicultural is used to describe the process in which people acculturate to one societal culture while at same time existing in their own culture and both cultures interact with each other. This process of acculturation is a method that many people use when trying to become a part of another culture or society. This method is important because it helps to have knowledge of others cultures to have a better understanding of how to behave, think, and feel. One of the benefits of biculturalism is that people can exist in multiple cultures and believe that all cultures are equal. Biculturalism allows people to keep their culture and accept their new culture without having to decide which one they prefer. This is an advantage of biculturalism because it allows a person to feel confident and sure of him or herself, which is an important part of anybody’s life. With so many positives to state about biculturalism people do experience some problems when they try to have a bicultural worldview.
A study was conducted on the experiences of immigrant Chinese children coming to America. This study discovered that children who experience Chinese culture at home and American culture in an education setting had bicultural conflicts. These conflicts arise from feelings of being forced to choose between the two cultures. This must be a difficult choice to have to be pressured into making. A decision one would not have to make if other cultures possessed more understanding and knowledge about other cultures.
Another example of bicultural conflict has been shown by researchers studying bicultural conflict within Native American children. This study reviewed children raised in their ethnic culture and the dominant culture at the same time. The research demonstrated that these children felt pressure to change their cultural beliefs and acceptable behaviors to become more acceptable to the dominant society. The researchers thought that the stress the children received from coming to terms with the differences between the two cultures causes identity issues.
The people who have attempted to bring two cultures together within their selves and are successful have little conflict with biculturalism. The problems arises when the person’s own culture pressures the person of bicultural status to behave in the manner of his or her cultural norms.
Hall, (2010). Multicultural psychology. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall/Pearson.
Mirella L Stroink; Richard N, L. (n.d). Bicultural Identity Conflict in Second-Generation Asian Canadians. The Journal of Social Psychology, 149(1), 44. Retrieved from ProQuest: ProQuest Psychology Journals database