Cultural Identity Essay

27 August, 2020

12 minutes read

Author:  Elizabeth Brown

No matter where you study, composing essays of any type and complexity is a critical component in any studying program. Most likely, you have already been assigned the task to write a cultural identity essay, which is an essay that has to do a lot with your personality and cultural background. In essence, writing a cultural identity essay is fundamental for providing the reader with an understanding of who you are and which outlook you have. This may include the topics of religion, traditions, ethnicity, race, and so on. So, what shall you do to compose a winning cultural identity essay?

Cultural Identity

Cultural Identity Paper: Definitions, Goals & Topics 

cultural identity essay example

Before starting off with a cultural identity essay, it is fundamental to uncover what is particular about this type of paper. First and foremost, it will be rather logical to begin with giving a general and straightforward definition of a cultural identity essay. In essence, cultural identity essay implies outlining the role of the culture in defining your outlook, shaping your personality, points of view regarding a multitude of matters, and forming your qualities and beliefs. Given a simpler definition, a cultural identity essay requires you to write about how culture has influenced your personality and yourself in general. So in this kind of essay you as a narrator need to give an understanding of who you are, which strengths you have, and what your solid life position is.

Yet, the goal of a cultural identity essay is not strictly limited to describing who you are and merely outlining your biography. Instead, this type of essay pursues specific objectives, achieving which is a perfect indicator of how high-quality your essay is. Initially, the primary goal implies outlining your cultural focus and why it makes you peculiar. For instance, if you are a french adolescent living in Canada, you may describe what is so special about it: traditions of the community, beliefs, opinions, approaches. Basically, you may talk about the principles of the society as well as its beliefs that made you become the person you are today.

So far, cultural identity is a rather broad topic, so you will likely have a multitude of fascinating ideas for your paper. For instance, some of the most attention-grabbing topics for a personal cultural identity essay are:

  • Memorable traditions of your community
  • A cultural event that has influenced your personality 
  • Influential people in your community
  • Locations and places that tell a lot about your culture and identity

Cultural Identity Essay Structure

As you might have already guessed, composing an essay on cultural identity might turn out to be fascinating but somewhat challenging. Even though the spectrum of topics is rather broad, the question of how to create the most appropriate and appealing structure remains open.

Like any other kind of an academic essay, a cultural identity essay must compose of three parts: introduction, body, and concluding remarks. Let’s take a more detailed look at each of the components:


Starting to write an essay is most likely one of the most time-consuming and mind-challenging procedures. Therefore, you can postpone writing your introduction and approach it right after you finish body paragraphs. Nevertheless, you should think of a suitable topic as well as come up with an explicit thesis. At the beginning of the introduction section, give some hints regarding the matter you are going to discuss. You have to mention your thesis statement after you have briefly guided the reader through the topic. You can also think of indicating some vital information about yourself, which is, of course, relevant to the topic you selected.

Your main body should reveal your ideas and arguments. Most likely, it will consist of 3-5 paragraphs that are more or less equal in size. What you have to keep in mind to compose a sound ‘my cultural identity essay’ is the argumentation. In particular, always remember to reveal an argument and back it up with evidence in each body paragraph. And, of course, try to stick to the topic and make sure that you answer the overall question that you stated in your topic. Besides, always keep your thesis statement in mind: make sure that none of its components is left without your attention and argumentation.


Finally, after you are all finished with body paragraphs and introduction, briefly summarize all the points in your final remarks section. Paraphrase what you have already revealed in the main body, and make sure you logically lead the reader to the overall argument. Indicate your cultural identity once again and draw a bottom line regarding how your culture has influenced your personality.

Best Tips For Writing Cultural Identity Essay

Writing a ‘cultural identity essay about myself’ might be somewhat challenging at first. However, you will no longer struggle if you take a couple of plain tips into consideration. Following the tips below will give you some sound and reasonable cultural identity essay ideas as well as make the writing process much more pleasant:

  • Start off by creating an outline. The reason why most students struggle with creating a cultural identity essay lies behind a weak structure. The best way to organize your ideas and let them flow logically is to come up with a helpful outline. Having a reference to build on is incredibly useful, and it allows your essay to look polished.
  • Remember to write about yourself. The task of a cultural identity essay implies not focusing on your culture per se, but to talk about how it shaped your personality. So, switch your focus to describing who you are and what your attitudes and positions are. 
  • Think of the most fundamental cultural aspects. Needless to say, you first need to come up with a couple of ideas to be based upon in your paper. So, brainstorm all the possible ideas and try to decide which of them deserve the most attention. In essence, try to determine which of the aspects affected your personality the most.
  • Edit and proofread before submitting your paper. Of course, the content and the coherence of your essay’s structure play a crucial role. But the grammatical correctness matters a lot too. Even if you are a native speaker, you may still make accidental errors in the text. To avoid the situation when unintentional mistakes spoil the impression from your essay, always double check your cultural identity essay. 

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Essays about Culture and Identity: 9 Examples And Prompts

Writing essays about culture and identity will help you explore your understanding of it. Here are examples that will give you inspiration for your next essay.

Culture can refer to customs, traditions, beliefs, lifestyles, laws, artistic expressions, and other elements that cultivate the collective identity. Different cultures are established across nations, regions, communities, and social groups. They are passed on from generation to generation while others evolve or are abolished to give way to modern beliefs and systems.

While our cultural identity begins at home, it changes as we involve ourselves with other groups (friends, educational institutions, social media communities, political groups, etc.) Culture is a very relatable subject as every person is part of a culture or at least can identify with one. Because it spans broad coverage, there are several interesting cultural subjects to write about.

Our culture and identity are dynamic. This is why you may find it challenging to write about it. To spark your inspiration, check out our picks of the best culture essays. 

1. Sweetness and Light by Matthew Arnolds

2. how auto-tune revolutionized the sound of popular music by simon reynolds, 3. how immigration changes language by john mcwhorter, 4. the comfort zone: growing up with charlie brown by jonathan franzen, 5. culture and identity definition by sandra graham, 6. how culture and surroundings influence identity by jeanette lucas, 7. how the food we eat reflects our culture and identity by sophia stephens, 8. identity and culture: my identity, culture, and identity by april casas, 9. how america hinders the cultural identity of their own citizens by seth luna, 1. answer the question, “who am i”, 2. causes of culture shock, 3. your thoughts on dystopia and utopia, 4. gender inequality from a global perspective, 5. the most interesting things you learned from other cultures, 6. the relationship between cultural identity and clothes, 7. describe your culture, 8. what is the importance of honoring your roots , 9. how can a person adapt to a new culture, 10. what artistic works best express your country’s culture, 11. how has social media influenced human interaction, 12. how do you protect the cultures of indigenous peoples, 13. are k-pop and k-drama sensations effectively promoting korea’s culture , 14. what is the importance of cultural diversity.

“… [A]nd when every man may say what he likes, our aspirations ought to be satisfied. But the aspirations of culture, which is the study of perfection, are not satisfied, unless what men say, when they may say what they like, is worth saying,—has good in it, and more good than bad.”

Arnolds compels a re-examination of values at a time when England is leading global industrialization and beginning to believe that greatness is founded on material progress. 

The author elaborates why culture, the strive for a standard of perfection, is not merely driven by scientific passions and, more so, by materialistic affluence. As he esteems religion as “that voice of the deepest human experience” to harmonize men in establishing that ideal society, Arnolds stresses that culture is the effort to “make reason and the will of God prevail” while humanizing gained knowledge to be society’s source of “sweetness and light.”

“Few innovations in sound production have been simultaneously so reviled and so revolutionary. Epoch-defining or epoch-defacing, Auto-Tune is indisputably the sound of the 21st century so far.”

Reynolds shows how Auto-Tune has shaped a pop music genre that has cut across cultures. The article maps out the music landscape Auto-Tune created and examines its impact on the culture of song productions and the modern taste for music. While the author debunks accusations that Auto-Tune destroyed the “natural” process of creating music, he also points out that the technology earned its reverence with big thanks to society’s current custom of using technology to hide blemishes and other imperfections.

Looking for more? Check out these essays about culture shock .

“… [T]he heavy immigration that countries like Italy are experiencing will almost certainly birth new kinds of Italian that are rich with slang, somewhat less elaborate than the standard, and… widely considered signs of linguistic deterioration, heralding a future where the “original” standard language no longer exists.”

American linguist McWhorter pacifies fears over the death of “standard” languages amid the wave of immigration to Europe. On the contrary, language is a vital expression of a culture, and for some, preserving is tantamount to upholding a cultural standard. 

However, instead of seeing the rise of new “multiethnolects” such as the Black English in America and Kiezdeutsch in Germany as threats to language and culture, McWhorter sees them as a new way to communicate and better understand the social groups that forayed these new languages.

“I wonder why “cartoonish” remains such a pejorative. It took me half my life to achieve seeing my parents as cartoons. And to become more perfectly a cartoon myself: what a victory that would be.”

This essay begins with a huge fight between Franzen’s brother and father to show how the cultural generation gap sweeping the 60s has hit closer to home. This generation gap, where young adults were rejecting the elders’ old ways in pursuit of a new and better culture, will also be the reason why his family ends up drifting apart. Throughout the essay, Franzen treads this difficult phase in his youth while narrating fondly how Peanuts, a pop culture icon at the time, was his source of escape. 

“…Culture is… your background… and Identity is formed where you belong to… Leopold Sedar Senghor and Shirley Geok-Lin Lim both talks about how culture and identity can impact… society…”

In this essay, Graham uses “To New York” by Senghor and “Learning To Love America” by Lim as two pieces of literature that effectively describe the role of culture and identity to traveling individuals. 

The author refers to Sengho’s reminder that people can adapt but must not forget their culture even if they go to a different place or country. On the other hand, Lim discusses immigrants’ struggle to have double identities.

“Culture is something that surrounds all of us and progress to shape our lives every day… Identity is illustrated as the state of mind in which someone or something distinguishes their own character traits that lead to determining who they really are, what they represent.”

Lucas is keen on giving examples of how his culture and surroundings influence an individual’s identity. She refers to Kothari’s “If you are what you eat, then what am I?” which discusses Kothari’s search for her identity depending on what food she eats. Food defines a person’s culture and identity, so Kothari believes that eating food from different countries will change his identity.

Lucas also refers to “Down These Mean Streets” by Piri Thomas, which argues how different cultural and environmental factors affect us. Because of what we encounter, there is a possibility that we will become someone who we are not. 

“What we grow is who we are. What we buy is who we are. What we eat is who we are.”

Stephens’ essay teaches its readers that the food we grow and eat defines us as a person. She explains that growing a crop and harvesting it takes a lot of effort, dedication, and patience, which mirrors our identity. 

Another metaphor she used is planting rice: it takes skills and knowledge to make it grow. Cooking rice is more accessible than cultivating it – you can quickly cook rice by boiling it in water. This reflects people rich in culture and tradition but who lives simpler life. 

“Every single one has their own unique identity and culture. Culture plays a big role in shaping your identity. Culture is what made me the person I am today and determines who or what I choose to associate myself with.”

Casas starts her piece by questioning who she is. In trying to learn and define who she is, she writes down and describes herself and her personality throughout the essay. Finally, she concludes that her culture is a big part of her identity, and she must understand it to understand herself.

“When it comes to these stereotypes we place on each other, a lot of the time, we succumb to the stereotypes given to us. And our cultural identity is shaped by these expectations and labels others give us. That is why negative stereotypes sometimes become true for a whole group or community.”

In this essay, Luna talks about how negative stereotyping in the United States led to moral distortion. For example, Americans are assumed to be ignorant of other countries’ cultures, making it difficult to understand other people’s cultures and lifestyles. 

She believes that stereotyping can significantly affect an individual or group’s identity. She suggests Americans should improve their intellectual competence by being sensitive to other people’s cultures.

14 Prompts on Essays about Culture and Identity

You can discuss many things on the subject of culture and identity. To give you a starting point, here are some prompts to help you write an exciting essay about culture. 

If you are interested in learning more, check out our essay writing tips and our round-up of the best essay checkers .

Understanding your personality is vital since continuous interaction with others can affect your personality. Write about your culture and identity; what is your personality? How do you define yourself? Everyone is unique, so by writing an essay about who you are, you’ll be able to understand why you act a certain way and connect with readers who have the same values. 

Here’s a guide on writing a descriptive essay to effectively relay your experience to your readers.

Sometimes, people need to get out of their comfort zone and interact with other individuals with different cultures, beliefs, or traditions. This is to broaden one’s perspective about the world. Aside from discussing what you’ve learned in that journey, you can also focus on the bits that shocked you. 

You can talk about a tradition or value that you found so bizarre because it differs from your culture. Then add how you processed it and finally adapted to it.

Essays about Culture and Identity: Your Thoughts on Dystopia and Utopia

Dystopia and Utopia are both imagined worlds. Dystopia is a world where people live in the worst or most unfavorable conditions, while Utopia is the opposite. 

You can write an essay about what you think a Dystopian or Utopian world may look like, how these societies will affect their citizens, etc. Then, consider what personality citizens of each world may have to depend on the two worlds’ cultures.

Today, more and more people are fighting for others to accept or at least respect the LGBTQ+ community. However, countries, territories, and religions still question their rights.

In your essay, you can talk about why these institutions react the way they do and how culture dictates someone’s identity in the wrong way. Before creating your own, feel free to read other essays and articles to learn more about the global gender inequality issue. 

The world has diverse cultures, traditions, and values. When you travel to a new place, learning and writing about your firsthand experiences with unique cultures and rituals will always be an interesting read.

In this prompt, you’ll research other cultures and how they shaped their group’s identity. Then, write about the most exciting aspects you’ve learned, why you found them fascinating, and how they differ from your culture.

Those proud of their culture will wear clothes inspired by them. Some wear the same clothes even if they aren’t from the same culture. The debate over cultural appropriation and culture appreciation is still a hot topic. 

In this essay, you may start with the traditions of your community or observances your family celebrates and gathers for. Then, elaborate on their origins and describe how your community or family is preserving these practices. 

Learning about your roots, ancestors, and family cultures can help strengthen your understanding of your identity and foster respect for other cultures. Explore this topic and offer examples of what others have learned. Has the journey always been a positive experience? Delve into this question for an engaging and interesting essay.

When a person moves country, it can be challenging to adapt to a new culture. If there are new people at work or school, you can interview them and ask how they are coping with their new environment. How different is this from what they have been used to, and what unique traditions do they find interesting?

Focus on an art piece that is a source of pride and identity to your country’s culture, much like the Tinikling of the Philippines or the Matryoshka dolls of Russia. Explore its origins and evolution up to its current manifestation and highlight efforts that are striving to protect and promote these artistic works.

The older generation did not have computers in their teen years. Ask about how they dated in their younger years and how they made friends. Contrast how the younger generation is building their social networks today. Write what culture of socialization works better for you and explain why.

Take in-depth navigation of existing policies that protect indigenous peoples. Are they sufficient to serve these communities needs, and are they being implemented effectively? There is also the challenge of balancing the protection of these traditions against the need to protect the environment, as some indigenous practices add to the carbon footprint. How is your government dealing with this challenge?

A large population is now riding the Hallyu or the Korean pop culture, with many falling in love with the artists and Korea’s food, language, and traditional events. Research how certain Korean films, TV series, or music have effectively attracted fans to experience Korea’s culture. Write about what countries can learn from Korea in promoting their own cultures.

Environments that embrace cultural diversity are productive and innovative. To start your essay, assess how diverse your workplace or school is. Then, write your personal experiences where working with co-workers or classmates from different cultures led to new and innovative ideas and projects. Combine this with the personal experiences of your boss or the principal to see how your environment benefits from hosting a melting pot of cultures.

If you aim for your article to effectively change readers’ perspectives and align with your opinion, read our guide to achieving persuasive writing . 

this is my culture essay

Aisling is an Irish journalist and content creator with a BA in Journalism & New Media. She has bylines in OK! Magazine, Metro, The Inquistr, and the Irish Examiner. She loves to read horror and YA. Find Aisling on LinkedIn .

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this is my culture essay

How to Write an Essay about Your Culture

this is my culture essay

Do you need to write an essay about your culture but don’t know where to start? You’ve come to the right place! I’m Constance, and I’ll show you how to write an essay about your culture. I’ll guide you step by step, and we’ll write a sample essay together. Let’s dive in. 

Writing an essay about your culture includes 5 steps:

Step 1. Plan how many words you want in each paragraph.

When you know the exact number of words you need for an essay, planning the word count for each paragraph will be much easier. 

For example, a 300-word essay typically consists of five paragraphs and three key elements:

  • The introductory paragraph.
  • Three body paragraphs.
  • The conclusion, or the concluding paragraph.

Here’s a simple way to distribute 300 words across the five paragraphs in your essay:

this is my culture essay

You’ll get 300 when you add up these numbers. 

Step 2. Decide on what your main and supporting points will be.

First, you must take a stand, meaning you must decide on your main point. What do you really want to say about your culture? Whatever you want to say, that becomes your thesis. 

For example, “My culture is very rich.” That is enough to get started. You’ll get a better idea of how to expand or tweak your thesis after the next step.

Next, divide your topic using the Power of Three to prove the point that your culture is rich using three supporting ideas.

this is my culture essay

The Power of Three effectively divides an essay’s main idea into its supporting points. It means your main idea is true because of the three reasons you will provide in the body. So, it is a three-part structure that helps produce your body paragraphs .

Let’s try it for an essay about Filipino culture!

For example, here are three supporting ideas explaining the richness of Filipino culture:

  • The Philippines has incredible food .
  • Traditional Filipino clothing reflects the country’s heritage.
  • Family values in the Philippines are essential.

Great! Now we have everything we need to write an essay about Filipino culture. We’re all set for the next step!

Step 3. Write your introductory paragraph.

Here are the key components of an introductory paragraph you need to remember in writing your essay:

this is my culture essay

Our first sentence is the introduction, which should pull our reader into the world we want to portray in our essay.

And the rest of the introductory paragraph is our thesis statement. It includes our main idea and three supporting points.

Example of an introductory paragraph about culture

“Having been colonized for centuries, the Philippines boasts a vast heritage. It has a rich culture characterized by food, clothing, and family values. Filipino culture has delicious food inherited from diverse parts of the world and periods of conquest. Traditional Filipino clothing reflects the country’s history, as well. And Filipinos prize their family values probably above all else.”

Look at how the introductory paragraph goes from a general statement to specific ideas that support our main idea.

Our introductory sentence is a general statement that serves as the opening in our essay. It briefly sets the essay’s context. Next comes the thesis statement — our main idea. Finally, we have three supporting ideas for our thesis.

Step 4. Write your essay’s body paragraphs.

Again, a 300-word essay typically has three body paragraphs containing your three supporting ideas. Here’s how to structure a body paragraph:

this is my culture essay

Looking back at our word count plan, we know that our body paragraphs should have roughly 70 words each. Remember your word plan as you write.

Body Paragraph 1

“The Philippines boasts a diverse food culture. It reflects indigenous flavors and foreign influences, such as American, Spanish, Indian, and Chinese. Whether it’s a typical or special day, Filipinos love eating these various dishes with rice, a staple. For example, rice goes well with curry, noodles, and adobo. It is also common to see various foods like pizza, pancit, lumpia, paella, (Filipino-style) sweet spaghetti, cakes, and ice cream at parties.”

As you can see, the first sentence in this body paragraph is a topic sentence . It gives context to the paragraph and briefly summarizes it.

The second sentence explains why the Philippine food culture is considered diverse. 

The remaining sentences illustrate your main point (topic sentence) by providing examples, starting with rice in sentence 3.

Body Paragraph 2

“Traditional Filipino clothing reflects Philippine cultural heritage. Although Filipinos now conform to current fashion trends in their everyday lives, the traditional clothing style is often used during celebrations. The traditional fashion sense exhibits influences from indigenous tribes, Chinese immigration waves, the Spaniards, and Americans, portraying the chronology of Philippine historical events. For example, the Philippines’ national costume, the baro’t saya, is an elegant blend of Spanish and Filipino clothing styles. Even some modernized forms of clothing also display other global influences.”

Just like Body Paragraph 1, this paragraph follows the same structure outlined in the diagram. It proceeds from a general statement to more specific points :

  • The topic sentence.
  • An explanation.

Body Paragraph 3

“Family values are vital in the Philippines. The daily lives of most Filipinos revolve around close and extended family, making them known for their family-oriented lifestyle even when they’re overseas. It’s common for children to live with their parents after reaching legal age; some even stay after getting married or obtaining a job. Filipinos also cherish their extended families (aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins) and hanging out or celebrating significant events together.”

Once again, this paragraph follows the body paragraph structure. Now, we’re all set for the final step — the conclusion.

Step 5. Write the conclusion.

The easiest way to write a concluding paragraph for your essay on your culture is to restate your main idea and its supporting points using different words. You can even paraphrase your introduction — a time-proven method!

Let’s write the conclusion for our essay.

“Because of its history, the Philippines has a rich, diverse culture rooted in a vast heritage. Filipino cuisine is a blend of indigenous and foreign flavors. The nation’s history is reflected in its traditional clothing. And family values display a distinct Filipino trait.”

Note that this conclusion uses different words to restate the points we’ve already made, including those in the body paragraphs. 

Hope this was helpful. Now go ahead and write an essay about your culture!

Tutor Phil is an e-learning professional who helps adult learners finish their degrees by teaching them academic writing skills.

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My Cultural Identity Essay: A Guide to Writing about Who You are

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October 12, 2015

A cultural identity essay is a paper that you write exploring and explaining how your place of upbringing, ethnicity, religion, socio-economic status, and family dynamics among other factors created your identity as a person. Even facts such as what activities you took part in as a child can be part of your cultural identity. Your culture identity is ultimately the group of people that you feel that you identify with. The thought process behind this is known as cultural identity theory. To get a better idea of this, take a look at this single paragraph blurb of information that you might see in a culture identity essay. After reading, you can easily  write my paper  and feel comfortable getting grades as high as you can imagine.

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I was born in rural Missouri, but my family moved to St. Louis before I was a year old. My mother is 100 percent Irish and comes from a family that identifies very strongly with Irish culture. My father is Middle Eastern, but was adopted by an English family who moved to the United States when he was 5. We lived in a pretty big house in a subdivision. My parents had two more kids after me, they were both boys as well. My father wasn't religious, but my mom was a practicing Catholic. She went to mass every week. My brothers and I both had first communion and were confirmed, but stopped going to church as teenagers. We weren't really encouraged to play sports because our parents thought we should focus on our studies. They really emphasized math and science. I did well in these classes, but I didn't enjoy them. In high school, I became active in music and theater. Most of my friends were also into that as well. I earned a scholarship to study engineering on the East Coast, but I dropped out as a sophomore. I returned home to study music, needless to say my parents were disappointed. My brothers both pursued careers in technical fields. One is a mechanical engineer and the other is a software engineer. I am close with my family, but we do not have much in common. My circle of friends is fairly varied when it comes to race, ethnicity, religion, and economic background, but it consists almost entirely of people who are artists, musicians, writers, or people involved in those industries.

Keep in mind that your essay samples may look nothing like this. In our example, the writers choice of career, talents, and interests influenced his cultural identity more than his religious, ethnic background, or family values did. This may not be the case for you. Remember that when you are writing your paper there are no wrong answers. You just have to ask yourself insightful questions and keep the theory of cultural identity in mind as you write. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • How did the foods I ate as a child influence my identity
  • Did I look different from the kids I went to school with? How did that impact me?
  • Did birth order influence who I am as an adult?
  • Does my life today match the life I was raised in?


While being committed to a number of charitable causes, like volunteering at special events or giving free art lessons to children, Marie doesn’t forget her vocation – writing. She can write about almost anything but has focused on time management, motivation, academic and business writing.

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How to Write a Cultural Identity Essay With Tips and Examples

  • 11 December 2023
  • 11 min read

Writing a cultural identity essay is an exciting academic exercise that allows students to develop and utilize critical thinking, reflective, and analytical skills. Unlike a standard essay, this type of paper requires learners to use first-person language throughout. In essence, a cultural identity essay is about writers and what makes them identify with a particular cultural orientation. When writing a cultural identity essay, authors should choose a specific identity and focus on it throughout their texts. Moreover, they should reflect and brainstorm, use the “show, not tell” method, utilize transitions to create a natural flow, and proofread their papers to eliminate mistakes and errors. Hence, students need to learn how to write a cultural identity essay to provide high-quality papers to their readers.

Definition of a Cultural Identity Essay

Students undertake different writing exercises in the learning environment to develop their critical thinking, reflective, and analytical skills. Basically, one of these exercises is academic writing , and among different types of essays that students write is a cultural identity essay. In this case, it is a type of essay where authors write about their culture, which entails exploring and explaining the significance of their cultural identity. Moreover, there are numerous topics that instructors may require students to write about in a cultural identity essay. For example, some of these essay topics fall under different disciplines, such as religion, socio-economic status, family, education, ethnicity, and business. In essence, the defining features of a cultural identity essay are what aspects make authors know that they are writing in this type of essay. In turn, these features include language, nationality, gender, history, upbringing, and religion, among many others.

How to write a cultural identity essay

Differences Between a Cultural Identity Essay and Other Papers

Generally, a cultural identity essay is similar to a standard essay regarding an essay structure and an essay outline . However, the point of difference is the topic. While standard essays, such as argumentative, persuasive, and informative essays, require learners to use third-person language, such a paper requires them to use first-person language. In this case, when writing a cultural identity essay, authors should use the word “I” throughout to show the audience that they are writing from their perspective. Indeed, this aspect is the primary objective of a cultural identity essay – to give the writer’s perspective concerning their culture. Besides, another point of difference between a cultural identity essay and other papers is that the former does not require writers to utilize external sources but to write from a personal viewpoint.

List of Possible Examples of Cultural Identity Essay Topics

1. cultural identity and socialization in a learning environment.

Here, a cultural identity essay prompt may require students to discuss the significance of culture in education, focusing on cultural identity and socialization. As such, this topic requires writers to reflect on how culture influences behavior in a learning environment.

2. The Impact of Culture Change on Family

Here, this prompt may require students to explore and discuss how culture impacts a family unit. Moreover, the theme is a family, and the students’ mission would be to explain how culture in all its dynamics affects families in diverse settings.

3. The Role of Language in Building a Cultural Identity

Here, instructions may require students to explore and explain the significance of language in cultural identity. Hence, writers should focus on explaining the place of culture in the sociology discipline, focusing on the connection between language and cultural identity.

4. The Significance of Culture in a Globalized Economy

Here, a cultural identity essay topic may require students to explore and discuss how culture affects individuals and businesses in today’s connected world. Also, the students’ task would be to explain how culture, in all its dynamics, such as language, is essential in business for individuals and enterprises.

5. How Culture Influences Relations in the Workplace

Here, an essay prompt may require students to explore and explain how culture, in all its dynamics, affects or influences social relations at the workplace. In turn, the task of writers, for example, would be to focus on how Human Resource (HR) departments can use culture to enrich workplace relations.

6. The Place of Culture in Individuals’ Self-Concept

Here, an analysis of a theme may require students to reflect on how their cultural orientation has affected their self-concept. Moreover, the student’s task would be to discuss how culture and its dynamics enable individuals to build a strong or weak understanding of themselves.

7. The Importance of Cultural Orientation in a Multicultural Environment

Here, assignment instructions may require students to explore and discuss how their cultural orientation enables them to operate in a culturally diverse environment, such as a school or workplace. In this case, the student’s task would be to explain how cultural characteristics, such as language and religion, facilitate or hamper social competency in a multicultural setting. 

8. How Global Conflicts Disturb Cultural Identity for Refugees

Here, this example of a cultural identity topic may require students to explore and explain how conflicts in today’s world, such as civil unrest, affect the cultural identity of those who flee to foreign countries. Also, the student’s task would be to explain how one’s culture is affected in a new environment with totally different cultural dynamics.

9. The Challenges of Acculturation

Here, a cultural identity essay prompt may require students to explore and explain the challenges that individuals face in identifying with the dominant culture. In particular, the student’s task would be to explain the significance of the dominant culture and what those from other cultures that try to identify with it must confront.

10. Host Country Culture and Multinational Enterprises

Here, this prompt sample may require students to explore and explain how a host country’s culture affects expatriates working for multinational corporations. Besides, the students’ task would be to show how one’s culture defines their behaviors and how that can be affected in a new environment with new cultural characteristics.

11. Compare and Contrast Native Culture and Dominant Culture in the United States

Here, such instructions require students to explain specific areas of similarity and difference between the Native culture and the dominant culture. In turn, the students’ task would be to define the Native culture and the dominant culture and help the audience to understand whether they mean the same thing. Hence, whether they do or do not, students should elaborate.

12. The Objective of Acculturation

Here, this example of a cultural identity essay topic requires students to explore and explain why people prefer to identify with the dominant culture. Moreover, the students’ task would be to note the advantages of the dominant culture over others and the opportunities that one may access to identify with this dominant culture.

13. The Challenges That the LGBTQ Community Faces in the Modern World

Here, essay prompt instructions require students to explore and discuss the challenges that lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender people face in their normal day-to-day activities. In this case, the students’ task would be to explain the uniqueness of the LGBTQ community and how stereotyping makes their lives miserable in an environment where people are intolerant of different personalities and viewpoints.

14. Dangers of Cultural Intolerance in the Health Care System

Here, instructions may require students to explore and discuss how nurses that are intolerant to cultural differences may jeopardize patients’ lives.

15. Advantages and Disadvantages of Acculturation

Here, a cultural identity essay prompt requires students to discuss the pros and cons of identifying with the dominant culture.

How Students Know if They Write a Cultural Identity Essay

The defining features of a cultural identity essay give students the indication that they need to write this kind of essay. Basically, when learners read instructions regarding their essay topics they need to write about, they should identify one or several defining elements. In turn, these elements include language, nationality, religion, ethnicity, and gender.

Structure of a Cultural Identity Essay

As stated previously, the primary point of similarity between a cultural identity essay and standard papers is an essay structure and an essay outline. Basically, this structure and outline comprise of three main sections: introduction, body, and conclusion. Like in all other essays, writing a cultural identity essay requires students to address specific issues, which are, in essence, the defining characteristics of the essay’s structure and outline.

I. Introduction and Its Defining Characteristics

The introduction is the first paragraph of a cultural identity essay. Here, students introduce themselves to the audience, giving a brief background of their cultural identity. Moreover, rules of academic writing dictate that this part should not exceed 10 percent of the entire paper. In this case, writers should be brief and concise. Then, the most prominent component of this section is a thesis, a statement that appears at the end of an introduction paragraph and whose objective is to indicate the writer’s mission. In summary, the introduction part’s defining features are the writer’s background and thesis statement . In turn, the former gives a hint about a writer, and the latter provides the audience with insight into the writer’s objective in writing a cultural identity essay.

The body of a cultural identity essay is the most significant section of a paper and takes the largest part. Generally, writers use several paragraphs to advance different arguments to explain specific concepts. In a cultural identity essay, writers can use different paragraphs to explain important aspects of their cultural identity. Nonetheless, what determines the number of paragraphs and the content of each is a paper topic. Also, the most prominent defining features of a cultural identity essay’s body are paragraphs, with each advancing a unique concept about the writer’s cultural identity. In turn, paragraphs are where writers provide real-life experiences and other personal anecdotes that help the audience to develop a deeper understanding of authors from a cultural perspective.

III. Conclusion

The conclusion part is the last section of a cultural identity essay. In particular, writers restate a thesis statement and summarize the main points from body paragraphs. Moreover, authors provide concluding remarks about a topic, which is mostly an objective personal opinion. In summary, the conclusion part’s defining features are a restatement of a thesis, a summary of the main points, and the writer’s final thoughts about a topic.

Outline Template for a Cultural Identity Essay

I. Introduction

A. Hook statement/sentence. B. Background information. C. A thesis statement that covers the main ideas from 1 to X in one sentence.

II. Body Paragraphs

A. Idea 1 B. Idea 2 … X. Idea X

A. Restating a thesis statement. B. Summary of the main points from A to X. C. Final thoughts.

An Example of a Cultural Identity Essay

Topic: Identifying as a Naturalist

I. Introduction Sample in a Cultural Identity Essay

The period of birth marks the beginning of one’s identity, with culture playing a significant role. However, from the stage of adolescence going forward, individuals begin to recognize and understand their cultural makeup. In my case, I have come to discover my love for nature, an aspect that I believe has made me a naturalist both in belief and action.

II. Examples of Body Paragraphs in a Cultural Identity Essay

A. idea 1: parents.

Parents play a critical role in shaping the cultural and personal identity of their children. In my case, it is my mother who has instilled in me a love for nature. Although I may not say exactly when this love started, I can only reason that since it was ingrained in me since childhood, it has developed gradually.

B. Idea 2: Naturalism

Today, naturalism defines my interactions with people and the environment. In short, I can say it shapes my worldview. As a lover of nature herself, my mother had this habit of taking me outdoors when I was a toddler. I have seen family photographs of my mother walking through parks and forests holding my hand. What is noticeable in these pictures besides my mother and me is the tree cover that gives the setting such a lovely sight. Moreover, I can now understand why I seem more conversant with the names and species of flowers, trees, and birds than my siblings- my mother was the influence. In turn, my siblings and friends make a joke that I have developed a strong love for nature to the point of identifying myself with the environment. Hence, the basis for this argument is my love for the green color, where even my clothes and toys are mostly green.

III. Conclusion Sample of a Cultural Identity Essay

Naturally, human beings behave in line with their cultural background and orientation. Basically, this behavior is what determines or reflects their cultural identity. In turn, my intense love for nature underscores my naturalist identity. While I may not tell the stage in life when I assumed this identity, I know my mother has played a significant role in shaping it, and this is since childhood.

Summing Up on How to Write a Good Cultural Identity Essay

Like any standard paper, writing a cultural identity essay allows students to build essential skills, such as critical thinking, reflective, and analytical skills. In this case, the essence of a paper is to provide the writer’s cultural identity, background, or orientation. Therefore, in order to learn how to write a good cultural identity essay, students should master the following tips:

  • Decide where to focus. Culture is a broad topic, and deciding what to focus on is essential in producing a cultural identity essay. For example, one may have several cultural identities, and addressing all may lead to inconclusive explanations.
  • Reflect and brainstorm. Given the close link between one’s cultural identity and personal experiences, learners need to reflect on experiences that would provide the audience with an accurate picture of their cultural identity.
  • Adopt the “Show, not tell” approach by providing vivid details about one’s experiences. Using personal anecdotes may be effective in accomplishing this objective.
  • Use transitions , such as “therefore,” “thus,” ” additionally,” and “furthermore,” to enhance a natural and logical flow throughout the essay.
  • Stay personal by using first-person language to describe one’s background and experiences.
  • Proofread a cultural identity essay to eliminate spelling and grammatical mistakes and other notable errors, such as an inconsistent life storyline.

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My Culture, Identity, and Cultural Identity

This essay about cultural identity explores how culture deeply influences personal identity through traditions, language, art, and cuisine. It examines the integral role culture plays in shaping individual perspectives and how it evolves over time through interactions within a global community. The narrative highlights the importance of cultural heritage in connecting with one’s roots and the broader human experience, emphasizing culture as a dynamic, enriching force in the modern interconnected world.

How it works

Within the vast mosaic of human existence, culture emerges as a profound element, serving as a lens through which we view the world, mold our identities, and integrate into the wider societal matrix. My cultural identity is not simply a collection of customs and traditions; it represents the core of my existence, seamlessly integrated into my personal narrative.

From my early days, I was enveloped in a diverse array of cultural influences. The values, beliefs, and traditions of my family laid the foundation of my personal identity.

The inviting scents from my grandmother’s cooking, the sounds of folk music during celebrations—each experience was imbued with the essence of my cultural heritage.

Language has been a vital component in shaping who I am. The rhythms and nuances of my native language resonate within me, linking me to my forebears and anchoring me to my cultural roots. Through language, I keep alive the wisdom and tales handed down over generations.

Culture is more than language; it includes numerous elements that inform our perspectives and shape how we perceive the world. From social norms to the meaning behind gestures, each component of my culture provides insight into the collective psyche of my community.

Artistic expression is a significant reflection of cultural identity, whether through the vibrant colors of traditional art, the pulsating rhythms of native drums, or the rich stories in classic literature. As an artist, I draw comfort and motivation from the myriad of artistic forms that are part of my cultural background.

Cuisine also acts as a portal into the essence of a culture, offering a taste experience that goes beyond words. The aroma of spices, the sounds of cooking, and the explosion of flavors recall communal and familial celebrations, each meal narrating the culinary skill and cultural amalgamation that characterize my gastronomic legacy.

However, I acknowledge that cultural identity is fluid and ever-evolving, influenced by time and interaction with the world. As a member of the global community, I am keen to engage with different cultures, learning and enriching my own through these interactions.

In our globally connected society, cultural identity serves both as a point of pride and a bridge for mutual understanding. It is a collage of various influences, each adding to the unique fabric of my being. As I traverse the complexities of contemporary life, I carry the legacy of my ancestors, the customs of my culture, and the endless opportunities for cultural interaction.

In essence, my culture is more than a reflection of history; it is a beacon for the future, guiding my path of self-exploration, fostering connections, and celebrating the richness of diversity. It reminds us that, despite our varied backgrounds, we are all woven into the same complex human tapestry, united by our collective experience of what it means to be human.


Cite this page

My Culture, Identity, And Cultural Identity. (2024, Apr 29). Retrieved from

"My Culture, Identity, And Cultural Identity." , 29 Apr 2024, (2024). My Culture, Identity, And Cultural Identity . [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 12 May. 2024]

"My Culture, Identity, And Cultural Identity.", Apr 29, 2024. Accessed May 12, 2024.

"My Culture, Identity, And Cultural Identity," , 29-Apr-2024. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 12-May-2024] (2024). My Culture, Identity, And Cultural Identity . [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 12-May-2024]

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612 Culture Essay Topic Ideas & Examples

If you are writing a culture essay, topics are easy to find. However, their abundance can quickly become overwhelming – so we prepared this handy list of culture title ideas, along with writing tips and examples.

🤫 Culture Essays: Topics and Writing Tips

🏆 best culture topic ideas & essay examples, 👍 good essay topics about culture, 🎓 simple & easy culture title ideas, 📌 cultural topics and writing prompts, 🥇 most interesting culture topics to write about, ❓ research questions about culture.

Describing culture is a challenging task. You have probably stumbled across the concept if you study sociology, media, or a variety of other subjects. There are many cultural differences across the Earth. Each nation, community, and subgroup of people have its own values, vocabulary, and customs. In the 21st century, we can document and share them thanks to cross-cultural communication.

Since there is an almost infinite number of things to consider about this broad topic, our team has collected 582 topics about culture. Check them out on this page!

Culture essays present excellent opportunities for conducting extensive research. They allow students to analyze acute global problems and investigate the topic of diversity, customs, and traditions, as well as the significance of individuals’ cultural backgrounds. You can choose one of the many topics for your culture essay. You can find culture essay ideas online or ask your professor.

We suggest the following culture essay topics and titles:

  • The significance of cultural identity in an individual
  • Culture as a political instrument in the modern world
  • The differences between the Eastern and the Western culture
  • The role of culture in people from mixed origins
  • The impact of religious views on culture
  • Cultural diversity in the workplace
  • Are there similarities among different cultures?
  • The link between culture and gender roles

After selecting culture essay questions for discussion, you can start working on your paper. Here are some secrets of the powerful paper on the topic:

  • Conduct preliminary research on the selected issue. Remember that you should find as much relevant information as possible while presenting a multifaceted perspective on the issue. Ask your professor about the sources you can use and stick to the instructions. Avoid using personal blogs or Wikipedia as the primary sources of information. Do not make a statement if you cannot support it with evidence.
  • If you are writing a paper about a particular culture, think about whether you can talk to someone coming from this background. Such an approach can help you to include all the relevant information in your paper and avoid possible crucial mistakes.
  • Remember that a well-organized culture essay outline is key for your paper. Think of the main points you want to discuss and decide how you structure your paper. Remember that each topic or subtopic should be stated in a separate paragraph, if possible.
  • If it is necessary, check out essay examples online to see how you can organize the information. In addition, this step can help you to evaluate the relevance of the issue you want to discuss. Remember to include an introductory and concluding paragraph in which you will state the main points and findings of your paper.
  • Avoid discriminating against some cultures in your essay. Remember that even if you do not understand the causes of some behaviors or norms, you should not criticize them in your paper. Instead, help the reader to understand them better and provide insight into important differences between cultures.
  • Be accepting and try to be as accurate as possible. Support your claims with evidence from your preliminary research.
  • If relevant, include graphs and charts to represent significant information. For example, you can visualize the presence of diversity in the workplace in different countries.
  • Remember that the reader should understand the goal and idea of your paper clearly. Define all terms and avoid using overly complex sentences. Be concise but provide enough relevant information on the topic.
  • Make sure that you use correct grammar and sentence structures in your essay. Even an excellent essay can look bad with grammatical mistakes. Grammar-free papers allow the reader to see that your opinion is credible. Check the essay several times before sending it to your instructor.

Do not forget to find a free sample in our collection that will help you get the best ideas for your writing!

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  • Cultural Analysis – China and the Us In a bid to survive in such a market, it is crucial for the American investors to conduct a broad analysis of the cultural differences between China and the United States.
  • The Zulu Nation’s History and Culture The Zulu people live on the continent of Africa, in the southern part of it, which is known as KwaZulu-Natal. In this family, the husband stands for the chief, and institution of marriage is hallowed.
  • Celebrity Culture and Its Influence on Society Before discussing the way Angelina Jolie and other celebrities affect modern society, it is necessary to identify the origins of the celebrity culture.
  • Toyota’s Culture and Leadership Strategy Toyota’s Leadership and Culture Irrespective of numerous difficulties, the company is still one of the leaders of the industry. To understand the essence of the lean leadership, it is crucial to consider some peculiarities of […]
  • The Beautiful Country of Kazakhstan: Kazakh Culture The report on the culture must broaden the audience’s ideas about the country and explain some of the most respected traditions every Kazakh follows.
  • Culture and Development in Nigeria The following are some of the organizations that are concerned with cultural developments in Nigeria:- The African development bank is involved in major activities in the water sector and in sanitation projects across Nigeria.
  • Social Cultural Causes of Crime There is need to highlight the social cultural factors of crime and describe the necessary positive measures to prevent the occurrences of crime.
  • Apple’s Cross-Cultural Problems in China In the case of Apple, the main issues have to do with employee management issues mostly associated with working conditions and compliance to Chinese labor laws.
  • Communication Challenges in Intercultural Interactions This essay aims to show that communication in intercultural interactions is hindered by the communication style, body language, stereotypes, the tendency to evaluate, high anxiety, and differences in ways of completing tasks.
  • Cultural Identity Theory: “How to Be Chinese” by Celeste Ng Thus, while recognizing the role that the specified cultural signifiers have for Asian American people in their attempts to retain their cultural identity, Ng also demonstrates the urge to introduce immediate change to prevent the […]
  • The Kikuyu Community: Religion and Culture The community speaks the Kikuyu language. Kenya’s Kikuyu people are the most popular and largest ethnic group.
  • Adolf Hitler’s Cultural Theories in “Mein Kampf” So, according to Adolf Hitler, the foreign Aryan spirit was the awakener of Japanese people hence the bore a culture that they did not create.
  • Ramen Culture as a Vital Part of the Traditions in Japan Studying the history of the transformation of ramen culture and the role it plays in modern Japanese popular culture helps to explore the uniqueness of the phenomenon and understand the origins of its immense popularity.
  • Culture and Communication: Egypt Egypt is the origin of the earliest civilizations and has taken an important position in the Middle East as the connection between the Arab and Europe regions.
  • Social and Cultural Aspects of Pre-Colonial Africa in Chinua Achebe: Things Fall Apart The novel emphasize on the encounters of the pre-colonial Africa and the effect of British colonialism during the 19th century. Gender disparity is clear in this village and the crimes are identified with gender where […]
  • East Meets West: Culture Differences He described the Japanese as the best people known among the heathens.[2] “Portuguese Views of Chinese”[3] is an account of the first impression the Portuguese had upon encountering the Chinese.
  • Political and Cultural Impact of Alexander the Great’s Conquests Due to many territories that he conquered, the dominion that Alexander the Great had was regarded as one of the greatest in the history of the world.
  • Cultural Pride and Cultural Baggage One of the articles that was written by Kincaid gives her experiences in England which portrays her cultural baggage as she finds it quite hard to fit in this society and to adopt a similar […]
  • The Fashion of the Hippie Culture Studying the fashion of the hippie culture is important because it illustrates the changes that society had undergone in the 1960s not only with regards to the style of clothing that people wore but also […]
  • Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication Styles Across Ethnic and Cultural Backgrounds In the essay, I discuss verbal and non-verbal communication styles across ethnic and cultural background, communication styles that a counselor may come across when dealing with culturally diverse clients and how a therapist can succeed […]
  • Convergence vs. Divergence of Culture and Literature – Examples The notion of culture emerged for the first time in the course of the 18th century. It was used to identify the culture of the people.
  • Cultural Diversity in the UAE: Social and Economic Development This view is in line with Rabah’s emphasis on the importance of respecting cultural diversity in the process of nation-building because the concept is useful in solving conflicts and developing solutions that are beneficial to […]
  • The Impact of the Internet in Culture and Daily Habits The growth of the internet has greatly improved our culture and society today with services it offers in the enrichment of our lives at work and at home.
  • Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: Structuralism and Post-Structuralism In the fields of literature, and design, architecture, in addition to marketing business and the interpretation of culture, history and law are started to analyze on the basis of post-structuralism in the nineteen sixties of […]
  • The Culture Industry According to Adorno and Horkheimer, the culture industry refers to the collection of all the aspects of technology in the modern society that brings change in the lifestyles of many.
  • Cross Cultural Management and International Business In this essay we will focus on the role of culture in international business situations and also the strategies and frameworks that are appropriate in cross-cultural management.
  • Cross-Cultural Management Major Theories The study of different languages helps one in comprehending what people have in common and also assist in comprehending the diversity that underlies languages, methods of creating and organizing knowledge and the several different realities […]
  • Hofstede’s Cultural Model in Negotiations It is important to include terms and conditions of the relationship as a measure of reducing conflicts where third parties are involved.
  • Multicultural Education Benefits: Functioning in a Pluralistic and Egalitarian Society Students are thus required to acquire knowledge and skills necessary to function effectively in a pluralistic and egalitarian society. The teacher is thus able to enhance socialization and transmission of culture while providing academic skills […]
  • Italian Culture There is no post of the vice president in Italy and in the event that the president dies, elections will have to be held.
  • The Mughal Empire: Culture and Heritage The combination of the regions’ economic independence, the tensions between Hindus and Muslims, and the penetration of the subcontinent by the European economic powers led to the decline of the Mughal Empire.
  • Culture and Agriculture: Nature and Significance Understanding Seeing that agriculture shapes the society and defines the course of its further development, promoting the ideas of environmentalism and sustainability, it will be reasonable to assume that agriculture belongs to the domain of cultures.
  • The Luo Culture of Kenya The Luo people are the indigenous people of Kenya living around lake Victoria, which lies in the western part of the country.
  • Material and Nonmaterial Culture of Middle East The cultural heritage of the Middle Eastern countries is rooted in the deep history of humanity. The states of this territory almost entirely belong to the countries of the eastern part of the Islamic world.
  • The “Brave” Intercultural Film Analysis In their discourse in the forest, the princess and her mother realized the need for relationship rebuilding, mending the bond that led to a solution for the kingdom’s survival.
  • The Role of Ethnocentrism in Intercultural Communication The only way to control ethnocentrism is to avoid biases as we find better ways to understand other people’s point of view.
  • Hall Stuart: Questions of Cultural Identity Hall states that it is important to theorize the notion of identity to make it more applicable. However, Hall still claims that it is important to understand what identity is.
  • Born Red: A Chronicle of the Cultural Revolution With the fine details included in the memoir, it helps a reader to walk through the Chinese revolutionary era and witness the havoc that the revolution triggered by Mao Zedong had on the Chinese people. […]
  • Gang Culture in the USA: Symbols, Norms, Values The term culture refers to the norms and social behavior of a given community or group of people. Having the objects makes them feel brave and ready to act in the interest of the group […]
  • The Preservation of Our Cultural Heritage: Music for Entertainment and Communication Similar to how music plays a significant role in the lives of many people, it is an important aspect of history and culture.
  • Organizational Culture & Leadership: Whirlpool Corporation At the heart of the discussion of management and leadership are the concepts of goal setting and results. Common to both managers and leaders is the focus on the results they produce, which are based […]
  • Cultural Hybridization: The Beliefs, Language, and Social Habits The interaction between the Tai, Han and Zhuang was through conflicts between the majority group, the Han in the Northern regions and the minority Zhuang and the Tai in the southern regions of China.
  • Importance of Cross-Cultural Management in International Business As earlier pointed out, a vital requirement for success in an international business setup is the ability of managers to comprehend and appreciate other cultures across the world.
  • Western Culture Impacts on the UAE Local Lifestyle One of the countries that observe the impact of western culture on the life of the young generation in the United Arad Emirates.
  • Culture and Health Beliefs in Korea Buddhism and Confucianism have had the most profound impact on the spiritual world and the life of the Korean people, and more than half of the country’s cultural heritage is associated with these two religions.
  • Jamaican Family Cultural Practices The history of the Jamaicans in the United States began in 1619 when some blacks from Jamaica, as well as from the Caribbean islands migrated to the United States.
  • Kazakhstani Culture Through Hofstede’s Theory The purpose of the research paper is to discuss cultural similarities and dissimilarities, challenges of acculturation, helpful patterns of behavior, and look at the featured culture through the prism of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory.
  • Cultural Differences Among Families in the “Hotel Rwanda” Film Arguably, the existence of cultural differences between families across the lifespan is the most significant problem affecting the family of Rusesabagina as he attempts to play the role of a corporate manager and a family […]
  • Subjectivism and Cultural Relativism: Objections and Differences The key difference is that relativism relates the human experience to the influence of culture, while subjectivism states that right and wrong is a matter of personal opinion.
  • Impact of Globalization on the Maasai Peoples` Culture This essay will therefore focus on the roles the aforementioned forces have played in changing the culture of the Maasai. Moreover, tourism has resulted in environmental degradation which is putting the Maasai on the brink […]
  • Indian Custom and Culture Community For example, there were various activities used to illustrate this marking, and these would include invitation and welcoming of the bridegroom, exchange of flower garlands, presentation of the would-be wife, the ceremony of the sacred […]
  • Cultural Diversity in the Play “Othello” It is the role of men to support women in this society, and that is why Desdemona’s father goes to court immediately, he is convinced that his daughter was bewitched by Othello.
  • A Comparison Between Swedish and Australian Culture Impact of Culture on Life Experience and Belief System The interviewee explained that having been born in Sweden, where Lutheran is the main church, he followed the teachings of the Lutheran church.
  • Comparison of the Australian and Indonesian Culture On the other hand, Indonesia is one of the countries with the largest population in the world and it has over two hundred ethnic groups who use different languages. Marriage is also important in the […]
  • Cross-Cultural Environment Negotiations: Japan and America Based on this understanding, this paper shows that understanding the need for neutrality, cultural sensitivity, and flexibility is the key to having a positive outcome in a cross-cultural business negotiation. To have a proper understanding […]
  • Cultural Pollution:Traditions and Historical Concepts The cultures traditions and historical concepts of the Middle East have over the centuries been characterised as by a distinct sense of variety that stems from a whirlwind of customs and traditions.
  • Emerson’s, Whitman’s and Thoreau’s Cultural Impact This movement was based on the belief in the unity of the world and God. The doctrine of “self-confidence” and individualism was developed by convincing the reader that the human soul was connected with God […]
  • Culture and Identity: “The House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros The past is a driving force for the future and it is hard to erase that part of an individual’s life.
  • Body Ritual Among the Nacirema: Cultural Study For instance, the research by Professor Linton is qualitative in the aspect that it tries to unearth the cultural practices and belief system of the Nacirema people.
  • Campinha-Bacote’s Model of Cultural Competence It is valid to specify that the original title of the model is the Process of Cultural Competence in the Delivery of Healthcare Services.
  • African Cultural Traditions and Communication Unfortunately, there are a lot of countries with the shortest life expectancy rates and the low quality of life in Africa.
  • Three Stages of Cultural Development The main goal of this paper is to describe my personal experience along the lines of the stages of cultural development.
  • eBay in Japan, Its Strategic and Cultural Missteps Its strategy of purchasing local companies in target countries as a measure of the quick establishment made it thrive in the European and the American markets.
  • Cultural Intelligence by Christopher and Elaine Mosakowski With this identification on how cultural intelligence affects or influences perceptions of people, and definition of the term, the authors continue exploring the major sources of cultural intelligence, the various cultural intelligence profiles, and ways […]
  • Threats of Globalization on Culture of Individual Countries The world has become a “global village” this is due to the expansion of communication networks, the rapid information exchange and the lifting of barriers of visas and passports.
  • Cultural Competence: Jamaican Heritage Self-reflection as a way to improve one’s cultural competence Jamaican cultural ancestry Addressing social norms, cultural beliefs, behaviors, and the impact on health care Self-reflection has been regarded as an effective way to self-develop […]
  • The UAE Cultural Analysis: Adherence to Traditions, Cultural Beliefs, and Values The other important information for the pavement industry with regards to location is that the region lies in a longitude range of 56 to 25 degrees north and in a latitude range of 22 to […]
  • Culture Comparison Between China and Japan In Japan, it can be proved by the fact that the name Japan is written in the Chinese Kanji and not the Japanese Katakana or Hiragana.
  • Saudi Arabian Culture In this view, observation of Islamic beliefs, norms, values, and traditions enables people to understand the Saudi Arabian culture and adopt it.
  • Multicultural Education: Action Plan for Professional Development of the School’s Staff Multicultural education has to be emphasized in the discussion to make it the core of a future action plan for the next academic year. It is a chance for teachers to recognize their roles in […]
  • The Cultural-Individual Dialectic and Social Nature of Intercultural Relationships This specific type of dialectics is based on the idea that communication of persons depends not only on cultural aspects and differences but also on their individual attributes and visions. Thus, the cultural-individual dialectic is […]
  • Cross Cultural Management Strategies: Brazil vs. America The failures in cross-cultural management mainly arise from the weaknesses of managers to consider the impact of cultural differences in their management practices.
  • Geography, Peoples and Culture Areas of Oceania Oceania is a geographical region of the planet that is located in the central and western parts of the Pacific Ocean and is mostly composed of a large number of small islands and atolls.
  • Cultural Identity and Heritage in the “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker In the broad context, Walker designs the story to underscore the conflict that African Americans faced concerning their cultural identity and heritage after the abolition of slavery.
  • British and Brazilian People: Cultural Differences It is critical to make appointments in advance, not to begin business discussions before the host, and to be on time for a business meeting.
  • The Overall Effects of Cultural Diversity in the Hospitality Industry The report focuses on analyzing the overall effects of cultural diversity in the hospitality industry. The nature of the industry’s workplaces and the way they deal with the issues concerning management of cultural diversity.
  • Principles of Effective Cross-Cultural Communication Essay Most disagreements in businesses can be attributed to lack of skills in intercultural communication, which is more common when the sender and the recipient are of different cultures.
  • Cultural Identity in “White Teeth” by Zadie Smith Exploring the thematic significance of the novels title “White Teeth” it would be instrumental to argue that the title touches on the aspects of cultural identity.
  • Multicultural Communication and Its Origin The level of education can be an ultimatum arising in society when healthcare services are administered to patients leading to the dissatisfaction of both patients and the doctors.
  • Cultural Aspects in Different Societies For example, in some cultures, funerals represent a time of feasting and making merry whereas in majority of cultures funerals represent a time of grief and mourning. Their different cultures enable them to tolerate the […]
  • Cross Culture Management The salaries paid to the employees should be comparable, both within the firm and in the industry. Communication audits should be performed in order to measure the effectiveness of the strategy.
  • Culture Identity: Asian Culture Men on the other hand, are socialized to believe they should offer financial support to their families and ensure that the family is secure.
  • History of Children’s Literature in Western Culture Plato, one of the most notable rulers of the time, held it that story-telling sessions should take the form of a play and he insisted that professional storytellers and poets be the ones in charge […]
  • Servant Leadership in Indian Culture and Hindu Religion The basis of this approach is the reorientation of the values of the leader, who considers the empowerment of followers as a means and goal of his activity.
  • The Marriage Traditions of Wolof Culture These include the role that marriage plays in the family formation in the Wolof society, what the economic background of the plural marriages is, and which traditions describe the marriage ceremony of the Wolof culture.
  • Five Cultural Dimensions for Understanding the Values For instance, looking at Japan from the Hofstede five dimensional models will give the most significant drivers in the culture of the country in comparison to other countries across the world.
  • The Nature of People and Culture The first key point is the understanding that culture is the framework of life and influences the aspects of life for every individual.
  • Consumerism Culture: Challenges and Solutions In order to avoid further spread of consumerism and its influence on popular culture, the government should introduce change to the education of children and their parents.
  • Diversity of Jamaican Culture The culture of Jamaica is a rich blend of the ways deriving from both Spanish and British eras which affected lives of the people on this small island.
  • Concept of Globalisation and Cultural Diversity
  • Cultural Assimilation, Acceptance and Identity in Julia Alvarez’s Poetry
  • The Impact of Fashion Marketing on Culture
  • Cultural, Political, Economic and Legal Aspects of Doing Business in France
  • Cultural Diversity and Cultural Integration in Western Societies
  • Culture and Health Correlation
  • Cultural Factors and Their Influence on Individuals
  • Chinese New Year Foods: Chinese Culture and Traditions
  • Intercultural Understanding in Hala Alyan’s Poems
  • The Erosion of Cultural Differences and Globalised Consumer Culture
  • Culturally Sensitive Care For Jehovah’s Witnesses
  • Vanilla: History, Culture and Production
  • African and Western Culture in the “Touki Bouki” Film
  • IKEA’s and Home Depot’s Cross-Cultural Management
  • Anthropological Approach to Culture
  • Sustaining a Culture in Multinational Corporations
  • Cultural Diffusion: Factors and Effects
  • Deaf in America: Voices From a Culture by Carol A. Padden, Tom L. Humphries
  • The “Friends” TV Show as a Cultural Artifact
  • Culture of the Dominican Republic
  • Authenticity in Cultural Tourism Sites: A Critical Discussion
  • Language and Culture Interaction in English Language Teaching
  • Taiwan and the U.S. Cultural Elements
  • How Geography Has Impacted the Development of Ancient Cultures
  • IKEA Company’s Organizational Culture
  • Greek Culture and Traditions
  • Tesco and Global Supermarket Chain in Hungary: Cultural Issues
  • Intercultural Awareness and Multicultural Society in a Global Village
  • Socialization for the Transmission of Culture
  • History of Multicultural America by Ronald Takaki
  • Islamic Culture and Civilization
  • Culture, Subculture, and Their Differences
  • American Culture Pros & Cons
  • History: Cultural Exchanges in the Medieval Period
  • Football Impact on England’s Culture
  • Identity, Language, and Culture
  • Leading a Culture of Excellence in Healthcare Industry
  • Korean Culture: History and Principles
  • Culture Influence on Intimacy and Human Relationships
  • The Renaissance and Its Cultural, Political and Economic Influence
  • What Role Does Food Play in Cultural Identity?
  • Differences in Culture between America and Sudan
  • Culture and Identity as Depicted in Kay’s “Trumpet”
  • Organizational Culture of Google Incorporation
  • Cultural Convergence: The Interactions Between Different Cultures
  • The Influence of the Cultural Current “Modernism” on the Conception of Music in the 20th Century
  • Dance Analysis: Social and Cultural Context
  • Cultural Criminology: Inside the Crime
  • Cultural Role of Crepes in France
  • Music and Its Effects on Culture
  • Race Matters, Cancel Culture, and “Boys Go to Jupiter”
  • Adorno and Horkheimer ‘The Culture Industry’ Review
  • Heritage Tourism vs. Cultural Tourism Definition
  • Ways in Which an Organization’s Culture is Transmitted to its Members
  • Cultural Traditions and Practices in the Novel the Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • Disney and Its Impact on Popular Culture and Society
  • Paisà (1946) by Roberto Rossellini: Style, Theme, and Cultural Value
  • Culture, Language and Influences on Development
  • Does Copyright Enhance Creativity and Culture?
  • Cultural Bias in Counseling Practices
  • Exploring the Human Culture
  • Influence of Political, Social, and Cultural Issues
  • Cultural Prostitution: Okinawa, Japan, and Hawaii
  • Hamlet’s Renaissance Culture Conflict
  • Starbucks in China and Cross-Cultural Values
  • The Jarawa People and Their Culture
  • Nacirema Culture
  • Cross-Cultural Sleeping Arrangements in Children
  • Haiti History and Culture
  • Handy and Schein Models in Organizational Culture
  • Appropriations, Prejudices and Cultural Cruise Control: Overview
  • Cultural Identity: Problems, Coping, and Outcomes
  • Cultural Diversity Management in the Workplace
  • Cultural Diversity in Hotel Industry
  • The Bushmen: Culture and Traditions
  • Muriel’s Wedding as a Representation of Australian Culture
  • Columbia Under Hofstede’s Cultural Analysis
  • Intercultural Relationships Importance
  • Dubai’s Food, Dress Code and Culture
  • The Role of Culture in Gospel Communication
  • Intercultural Relations: Physical, Economic, and Linguistic
  • The Impact of Cultural and Religious Tourism on Communities
  • Subculture Theories: Response to the Dominant Culture
  • The Spread of European Culture
  • Society, Culture, and Civilization
  • Cultural Family Assessment in “Under the Same Moon” Film
  • Racial and Cultural Identity Development Model
  • Cultural Products in Strategic Plan Development
  • Disneyland’s Cultural Dimension: USA v. France
  • Cultural, Legal, Economic, and Political Aspects of Doing Business in China
  • Roman & Greek Mythology in Pop Culture: Examples, Referenses, & Allusions
  • Cultural Significance of Flynn Rider in “Tangled” by Greno
  • Cross-Cultural Management and HRM in Walmart
  • Qantas Airways: Cross Culture and Safety Management
  • Cross-Cultural Differences Between the US and Pakistan
  • Cross-Cultural Marketing and Cultural Differences in Markets
  • Youth Culture and Globalization
  • Cultural Traditions: Arranged vs. Autonomous Marriage
  • Colombia’s and the US’ Cultural Dimensions
  • Multicultural Diversity Conceptual Study
  • Cultural Differences in International Business
  • Japanese and Emirati Cultural Differences
  • The Role of Chinese Hats in Chinese Culture
  • Mass Society and Popular Culture Theories
  • The Effects of Modern Popular Culture on Personal Beliefs and Values
  • Google’s Corporate Culture and its Success
  • Hofstede and Trompenaars Theories of Culture Diversity
  • Ways to Improve Intercultural Communication
  • Cultural Change: Mechanisms and Examples
  • The Cross-cultural Construct of Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems
  • Implications of Korean Culture on Health
  • Western Pop Culture and Street Fashion of Japanese Youth
  • Matthew Arnold’s and Raymond Williams’ Ideas About Culture
  • Intercultural Communication Led by UNESCO
  • The History of the Hippie Cultural Movement
  • Food, Eating Behavior, and Culture in Chinese Society
  • General Motors Company: Organizational Culture and Strengths
  • Symbol: The Basic Element of Culture
  • Cultural Diversity: Diversification and Integration
  • The White House as a Cultural Symbol in US
  • Angels and Insects: The Issue of Incest in the Pop-Culture
  • Coping With Cultural Shock and Adaptation to a New Culture
  • People and Culture in Morocco
  • Culture Clash as a Great Conflict
  • How Does Culture Affect the Self Identity Personal Essay
  • Theory of Culture Care Diversity and Universality
  • Sushi: History, Origin and the Cultural Landscape
  • Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective by Brettell & Sargent
  • Nike, Inc.: The Corporate Culture
  • The Egyptians and the Hindu Cultural Rites Comparison
  • Cultural Diversity and Cultural Universals Relations: Anthropological Perspective
  • Starbucks Corporation Organizational Culture
  • Intercultural Communication Patterns in the U.S. and UK
  • Efficient Intercultural Interaction and Communication
  • “Family Supper” by Ishiguro: Eastern and Western Family Attitudes Cultural Differences
  • Jewish Family Cultural Perspective
  • American Culture and Indian Culture Comparison
  • The Culture of the Nacirema Society
  • Enron Company’s Organisational Culture Problem
  • Xaniths as a Transgender in Omani Culture
  • Technology as a Form of Material Culture
  • A Discussion of Key Challenges Faced by MNCs in Developing a Cohesive & Inclusive Culture
  • Cultural Belief System: Experiences and Traditions
  • The Culture of Francis and Clare
  • Venezuela Analysis: Economic, Political, Financial and Cultural Perspective
  • Disneyland Hong Kong Company: Cultural Adaptation
  • Gender Roles and Family Systems in Hispanic Culture
  • “High” and “Low” Culture in Design
  • Hotpot Concept and Cultural Value
  • How Cultural Beliefs, Values, Norms and Practices Influence Communication
  • Globalization: Not a Threat to Cultural Diversity
  • What Is the Relationship Between the Social Definition of Deviance and the Media’s Role in the Dissemination of Popular Culture?
  • The Influence of Heavy Metal on Japanese Culture
  • Bombas Firm’s Organizational Structure and Culture
  • Pokémon Go as a Pop Culture Phenomenon
  • The Parthenon and the Pantheon in Their Cultural Context
  • The Depiction of Cultural Conformity and Moral Values in Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”
  • Multicultural Literature. Juliet Kono’s “Sashimi” Poem
  • Umm Al-Nar: Geoarchaeology and Cultural Heritage
  • Irish Culture and Stereotypes in The Quiet Man
  • Impacts of Culture on Formulation of International Marketing Strategies
  • Compare and Contrast the Political Culture of Australia and Saudi Arabia
  • An Academic Critique of Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions Theory
  • HR Managers and Cultural Differences
  • Concept of Cultural Differences in Society
  • Arab Culture and Teenagers
  • Challenges of Effective Intercultural Communication
  • Tribal Tattoos: Cultural Appropriation and Appreciation
  • Intellectual, Scientific and Cultural Changes in Europe Towards the End of 19th Century
  • The Influence of American Popular Culture on the Heroes of “The Bluest Eye”
  • Cultural Linguistic Autobiography: An Experience of a Second Language
  • Hospitality Industry: Coping with Culture Shock
  • Punjabi: the Culture
  • Local Museums and Their Cultural Heritage
  • Caribbean Rum: History and Culture
  • Punjabi Culture and Threat to Survival
  • Researching of Rituals in Culture
  • Christianity Social and Historical Impact on Western Culture
  • Singapore’s Culture and Social Institutions
  • Organizational Culture and Physical Structure
  • Adorno’s Concept of Culture Industry
  • Cultural Competence Within the Healthcare System
  • Harry Potter Stories and Impact on Pop Culture
  • Indigenous Australian Culture, History, Importance
  • Food Preferences and Nutrition Culture
  • Competent Care: Filipino Cultural Assessment Model
  • Cultural Assimilation of International Students
  • Porsche Brand’s Cultural Biography
  • Cultural Revolution in China in “Hibiscus Town”
  • Cross-Cultural Management in Multinational Corporations
  • Classroom Behavior and Culturally Diverse
  • Cross Cultural Impacts on the Non-Verbal Communication
  • Acadian Culture in Cape Breton in Nova Scotia
  • Cultural Revolution and Education in China During the 1960s-1970s
  • Billboard as an Element of the Popular Culture
  • Socialization in a Multicultural Framework
  • Business Culture and Muslim Financial Institutions
  • Non-Material and Material Culture
  • Discussion: Cultural Roots and Routes
  • Cultural Heritage of Oyo Empire in Africa
  • “The Woman Warrior” by Maxine Hong Kingston: Arguments About Prejudice, Gender, and Culture
  • IBM Company’s Multicultural Project Team Management
  • Linguistic Repertoire: Language Identity and Culture
  • W.L. Gore Company’s Culture of Innovation
  • Marriott Hotel’s Promotion of Intercultural Synergy
  • Nissan Motors Company: Cultural Change
  • Chicano Culture in “First Communion” by T. Rivera
  • Bahrain Fashion: Culture and Antiquities
  • The Japanese and the US Cultural Dimensions
  • Social and Cultural Diversity Statement
  • How Chinese Culture Influences Foreign Businesses
  • American Work Culture
  • Beauty and Culture
  • Cultural Differences in Arranged Marriages
  • Fashion as an Integral Aspect of Modern Culture: Identity Importance
  • Indian Culture and Its Distinctive Qualities
  • Challenges of Adapting to Another Culture
  • Culture and Society Through the Babylonian Sufferer
  • Gender Inequality: On the Influence of Culture and Religion
  • History of Pop Music in the World: Cultural and Social Changes
  • The Effect of Global Technology on Intercultural Communication
  • Japanese Popular Culture: Anime, Video Games, and the Film Industry
  • Building High Performance Culture: Zappos
  • Korean Popular Culture: Attractiveness and Popularity
  • Cultural Diversity in Correctional Facilities
  • Abu Dhabi Tourism and Cultural Authority
  • Human Emotions Psychology: Rooting in Biology or Culture
  • Impact of Power on Organizational Culture
  • A Lesson Plan For the Multicultural Learning of Science
  • The Impact of Nineteenth Century Photography on Visual Representation and the Development of Visual Culture
  • History, Culture and Language of Wales
  • Class and Culture
  • Female Chauvinist Pigs: Raunch Culture and Feminism
  • Cultural Diversity in Women and Sport Participation
  • Cross-Cultural Communication Between the French and German Communities in Switzerland
  • The Role and Influence of Women in Western Culture
  • Clothing and Culture
  • Singapore Geography and Culture
  • Geological and Cultural Importance of Deer Creek Park (Colorado)
  • Complexity of Managing Multinational Corporations: MNC Culture
  • Culturally Informed Psychological Assessment
  • The Importance of Understanding National Culture
  • Cultural Approaches to Healthcare Delivery in the US
  • Deaf Culture and Sign Language: Social Equality in Society
  • John Donne’s Poetry Relate to the Culture
  • Google Inc. Employees’ Intercultural Competencies
  • UK-Singapore Cultural Differences at Work
  • Cultural Hybridity in Cisneros’ “The House on Mango Street”
  • Food, Customers, and Culture in the Grocery Store
  • Asian Community’s Cultural Values and Attitudes
  • Gender and Cultural Studies: Intimacy, Love and Friendship
  • Diverse Culture in the “Ongka’s Big Moka” Film
  • Feminism and Respect for Culture
  • Cabramatta’s Culture and Art
  • Popular Culture – Madonna’s Significant Impact
  • Cultural Sensitivity and Language Use
  • Effects of Globalization on Native Non-Western Cultural Practices
  • Weird Chinese Foods: Cultural Practices and Eating Culture
  • Interpersonal and Intercultural Communication in the UAE
  • Business Culture and Values
  • Popular Culture in the History of the USA
  • The History of Guqin in Chinese Culture
  • Ethiopian Culture Impact on Perinatal Health Care
  • Family and Culture: Major Problems Facing Families Around the World
  • Marvin Harris’ Cultural Materialism Concept
  • African Civilizations. The Bantu Culture
  • Jazz Social Dance and Impact on American Culture
  • Caribbean Culture in Senior’s and Stewart’s Short Stories
  • The Culture of Smartness in Education
  • The UK Cultural, Business and Political Environment
  • How the Internet Has Changed World Culture?
  • Intercultural Communication Barriers
  • The Role of Culture in International Marketing
  • James Rachel’s Speech About Cultural Relativism
  • Multicultural Counseling Theory and Multicultural Counselors
  • Verbal Culture: An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
  • The Impact of Western Society on the Music Cultures of Other Societies in the World
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IvyPanda. (2023, December 21). 612 Culture Essay Topic Ideas & Examples.

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My Cultural Story, Essay Example

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The purpose of this essay is highlighting a personal view of the world, through self-examination of cultural values as represented by how they differ from other people’s cultural values, as well as how they influence working relationships, adhere to personal beliefs, influence personal experiences, and reflect cultural backgrounds.

Becoming aware of one’s cultural background is important on any occasion, but becomes crucial when one is an educator, because when an educator interacts with his or her students, it is actually a culture which interacts with another culture. Culture is defined by Ginsberg & Vlodkowski (2009) as “the deeply learned confluence of languages, values, beliefs and behaviors that pervade every aspect of a person’s life and it is continually undergoing changes” (p. 9). In order for the interaction to be meaningful, the educator must be aware of his or her own system of beliefs and values. Adult students, unlike children, come with baggage loaded with life experiences, each of them affecting the way they view the world. Children form in the collectivity, and are shaped to a large extent by their educators, and by the experiences they have in school. On contrary, adult learners are already formed when they enter the collectivity and they must interact with each other, and with their educators, which does not always lead to successful learning experiences, due to the conflicting worldviews that might characterize the teacher and the students.

Experience, as a learning method, is not treasured in the contemporary Western Educational system. Rather, education is based on theoretical knowledge and abstract thinking and experience is ignored, or neglected in the learning process. However, as Merriam & Grace (2011) explain, “much of our learning is embedded in the experiences we have in our everyday lives” (p. 311). Experience, therefore, not only shapes us as individuals, but also defines their learning experience throughout their lives. Formal education stops at a given moment, but we continue to learn throughout our experiences, and, to a great extent, our learning experiences are cultural experiences. For this reason, culture is a very influential part of any person’s life and our behavior reflects, to a great extent, our cultural background and our beliefs, which were shaped by experiences. People are unique and their experiences are very different and so, their beliefs and values differ to a great extent depending on what they have learnt to respect, to treasure and to practice.

Therefore, the educator’s task is to learn about himself or herself, before being able to interact successfully with adult learners. This is because, as Ginsberg & Vlodkowski (2009) argue, “educators exert a powerful influence over classroom norms [and so] it is important to make explicit those values that are most implicit and profoundly affects students in our classrooms”. The educator must understand which of his beliefs and values are shared with the representatives of the dominant culture, and which reflect his own unique background. He must understand how his background influences the way he sees the world and how much of these beliefs are transmitted through teaching and interacting with students.

A Precarious Equilibrium: Between Two Worlds

How My Past Influences My Present

My past is not past. My past is present in everything I do and has a significant share in every decision I make. What I came to be today, where I situate myself in society, the life path I chose is to a great extent the result of my past. As an American citizen of Spanish and Puerto Rican ancestry, who was born and reared in Spain, I have certain values and beliefs that are different from dominant American culture. However, having been educated in the United States, and having seen my parents working extremely hard to achieve the American Dream, I also adopted the American society’s values and ideals and therefore, I consider myself both the product of the values of the dominant culture and of my own cultural heritage. I am the sum of my varied experiences: some were painful, some were extraordinary, and some were hard to learn. All these experiences have taught me something about the world I come from, and the world I live in today and have made me the kind of person I am.

Since I was a child, I saw my parents working very hard to make a better life for themselves and especially for me and my brothers. I looked up to them, but especially to my father, who was a strong and very firm man. My family lived in Spain when I was very young but we relocated to the United States, eager to live the American dream. In Spain, we were not poor but as immigrants, our lives in America were as difficult as those of almost all immigrants: difficulty in understanding the language, in finding and keeping a job, in adapting to the new culture and to the problems that are inherent to the American society, such as racism and stereotyping. My parents filled our minds with stories of success and told us how we were going to succeed because we had the advantage of growing up American. All my childhood and teenage life, I worked towards accomplishing this goal. I truly believe that hard work will lead one to success and my own success on both personal and professional plans are to a great success due to my commitment and hard work.

Even though I am a disciplined and hardworking individual, being productive and disciplined is not a goal in itself for me. In this respect, I am influenced by the values of my Spanish culture, in which the family is the most important treasure of an individual and comes before career. Therefore, there is a conflict within me between my desire to achieve success in my career, and my deep commitment to my family. I am married, and I have a daughter, even though I am an officer in the U.S. Army, and I am also working very hard to obtain my Masters degree. Despite so many challenges, I always find time for my daughter, and we also visit my parents twice each year. Being productive, disciplined and active are very important values to me, but my cultural heritage helps me to balance these values with a very strong sense of the family, of my environment and of my culture.

Where my commitment to helping others is concerned, I strongly believe in the equality of chances and social justice. However, my life experiences have taught me to respect people that help themselves, rather than being committed to the dominant culture’s traditional dedication to helping the needy, I believe that people must first do their best to succeed and help should be earned rather than received unconditionally. This belief was shaped since childhood. As I came to the United States, I did not speak English and I was very scared of school. I had a hard time adjusting and my teachers did not make things easier for me simply because of my background. I had to work very much in order to earn their sympathy and their respect, and their sympathy regarded my hard work, and not my persona, or my poor situation. It was only when I began to demonstrate that I am willing to work hard and I am very ambitious that they also began to help me in this direction. Also, my parents refuse to rely on social assistance and worked very hard on low-paying jobs, under their educational level, in order to demonstrate their value.

The concepts of right and wrong are very important for me and I largely believe that the world is split between these two notions. As an officer, I learned that what is right for my country is right in general is good for me, and I was taught never to question orders regardless of my own judgment of a situation. Trying to be non-judgmental does not work for me because, in order to respect orders and be able to believe in what I am doing, I have to truly believe that there is right and wrong in the world and that, by choosing to serve in the U.S. army, I chose to be on the side of the good.

Also, by choosing to serve in the army, I not only followed my father’s example, but also demonstrated my devotion for my adoptive country. I am as much American as I am Spanish, and I believe that patriotism is one of the most important values a person can learn and teach to his children. For me, there is a very particular American identity that all of us share, regardless of our race, religion, or class. This is apparent to me every time I return to Spain. Even though Spanish is my native language, and I have a strong sense of belonging to the Spanish culture, I feel very ‘American’ when I am there. I am able to connect much better with my African- American husband than with my Spanish relatives, because of the sense of the American identity we share.

My Public Image vs. My Private Life

While I was at the academy, I learnt the value of being efficient and practical. For my teachers, I did not matter how I got there, what matters is to be there in an exact time frame. Efficiency and ‘getting things done’ are very important for me and I try my best to work efficiently and make the most practical choices. In one’s career and in the professional and public life in general, what matters is the product and not the process, because efficiency is a value of the dominant culture. However, in the private sphere, I value the process more than the product, and this demonstrate that I am a complex individual and that I was shaped professionally by the dominant culture in which I work, and personally, by the cultural heritage carry. My public image is a practical and efficient one, but at home, I value the things we do together, rather than the result. For example, even though it would be much more efficient to bake a cake, or do chores alone, and the result would be much better, I always involve my daughter and allow her to be an active part in the process, because the quality time spent together is more important than being time efficient and having the best result.

Progress is also part of my public image, and is an important concept in the dominant culture. Progress drives society forward and it is assumed that both the individual within the society, and the society, and indeed, the world, must constantly aim towards progress. As an educator also, progress is an important concept and one of the goals of education. Thus, according to Grace (2011), “liberal adult education is focused on the progress of the individual who uses different perspectives to analyze social and personal location as the first step in building new knowledges and understandings” (p. 42). Even though progress is not always beneficial for the environment, and for the culture, human beings have the capacity and should balance progress with the preservation of our environment and our culture. We should, therefore, take what is best from both concepts: from Native Americans and other culture, we should learn to maintain traditions and to preserve our heritage, but in the same time, we should strive towards personal progress. Once, I asked my father why he wanted to move from Spain to the United States, and he answered that people constantly try to improve their lives and to ‘make things better’ for themselves and for their families. My parents’ desire to progress therefore is what allowed me to be in America today, and from them, I learnt what progress meant.

How I See the World

Material comfort is also one of the goals that drove my parents to leave their country and move to the United States. Material comfort is a major value in most western societies and living a comfortable life is what makes people feel ‘rewarded’ for being productive in the society. Once, my father gathered all children, and asked us, “Do you want to be able to afford everything you see in the show window, or you want to spend your life worrying about money?” We all answered that we want to have a good life, and this question haunted me and pushed me forward. Material comfort is therefore one value of the dominant culture that I value.

Freedom is another fundamental value that is inherently American. Americans believe in freedom more than anything else, but, as an officer, as an educator and as a parent, I know that freedom is sometimes dangerous. In Horton & Frieire (1990), the idea of freedom is linked to that of authority, because, “we need limits, and in experiencing the need for limits, we are also experiencing the respect for freedom and the need for exercising authority” (p. 142). Therefore, freedom is not to be assumed, but has to be respected as a valuable and important notion. It implies so much danger that, even though it is one of the principles of the American society, no one is ever entirely free and, as you assume more responsibilities in the society and at home, you are less free, and more responsible with limiting the freedom of others.

Along with freedom, individualism is yet another important value of the American society. Unlike societies in which the ‘group’ is more important, in the U.S.A, each person has to fight for himself, and has to make it on his own. This is contradictory to the Spanish culture, which emphasizes more on the relationships between individuals, and in which helping each other as a group is very important. Instead, the American society is a very competitive environment, in which the individual is always alone. This was easy for me to adapt to in the education system, and later in the work environment, but for my parents, it was much harder. I believe that this environment promotes economic progress and that it encourages individuals to overcome their disabilities and their weakness.

However, there are spaces in which I see the world as Spanish rather than as an American. As compared to the average American, I am much more religious and this is all due to my Catholic education. I believe that science does not have all the answers, and that there are limits as to what we are allowed to do with science. For me, the Earth is sacred and we should strive to maintain it in a good shape, instead of modifying nature to fit our needs. Science is not always the best option, and in my commitment to nature, I try to buy natural food products for myself and my family.

Both as a Spanish person, and as an American, I deeply trust in the power of democracy to give equal chances to everybody, and promote social justice. I travelled all over the world as an U.S. army officer, and I had the occasion to see what dictatorial regimes actually mean. Those experiences taught me to value democracy as a system that sets people free and gives them the right to develop as individuals and to be part of the decision making process in the society. In a democratic system, everyone has the right to try to reach success, and oppression of certain classes in not allowed, although it does occur. Racism exists in our society and it cannot be ignored, but we must struggle to overcome it. Being married to an African-American person, and being of Spanish and Puerto Rican heritage myself, I did confront racism and it represented a challenge for our family, both on a personal and on a professional level. However, racism is not a reason to fail, but merely a new challenge to overcome.

My unique background and my experiences created me as a person with a dual character, who assumed the values of the dominant culture in what professional life is concerned, but maintained the characteristics of my own cultural background in my personal life. As the child of my father, I undertook a military career which further shaped my view of the world. As a parent, I try to transmit to my daughter the values I was taught, and to teach her to be proud of her multiracial heritage. Finally, as an educator, I will try to perceive my students as the sum of their own experiences, and to allow them to teach me, as I teach them.

Grace, A. (2011). Building a knowledge-base in academic adult education (1945-1970). In Merriam, S. and Grace, A., (eds.). The Jossey-Bass Reader on Contemporary Issues in Adult Education. (pp. 33-57). San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons.

Ginsberg, M. & Wldodkowski, R. (2009). Diversity and motivation: culturally responsive teaching in college (2 nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: John Willey & Sons.

Horton, M. & Freire, P. (1990). We make the road by walking: conversations on education and social change . Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Merriam, S. & Grace, A., eds. (2011). The Jossey-Bass reader on contemporary issues in adult education. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons.

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Daniel Handler.

On my radar: Daniel Handler, AKA Lemony Snicket, on his cultural highlights

The US children’s author and novelist on a sublime musical trio, how spices reinvigorated his cooking, an addictive ‘mid-19th century’ BBC panel show and being floored by a new jazz track

B orn in California in 1970, author Daniel Handler is best known for A Series of Unfortunate Events , 13 children’s books written under the pseudonym Lemony Snicket . To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the series, Farshore is publishing new editions with covers illustrated by Emily Gravett ; the first six – The Bad Beginning , The Wide Window , The Miserable Mill , The Austere Academy , The Reptile Room and The Ersatz Elevator – are out now. Handler’s books have sold more than 70m copies and been adapted for stage, film and television. He is also the author of seven novels, and his memoir And Then? And Then? What Else? is published on 4 July. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and son.

Vexations by Annelyse Gelman

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Spices from

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Contract bridge

An evenly spread biddable hand of 13 cards, sorted into suits and rank, in a game of contract bridge, showing 17 high-card points

When I was a child, my father played contract bridge every Tuesday night with a congenial group of men his age. I would fall asleep hearing them laughing and bickering downstairs for hours and hours. In this game, one can be alternately clever, obtuse, sneaky, blatant, strategic and inept, all with very low stakes and an ice-cold cocktail in hand. My wife and I have spread this gospel to carefully selected partners, and while we remain only mediocre at the game itself, it’s brought us endless evening delight.

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The Hidden-Pregnancy Experiment

By Jia Tolentino

An illustration of a pregnant woman looking at her iPhone as it connects to the data points around her.

Shortly after I became pregnant with my second child, in the fall of 2022, I decided to try a modest experiment. I wanted to see whether I could hide my pregnancy from my phone. After spending my twenties eagerly surveilling and sharing the details of my life online, I had already begun trying to erect some walls of technological privacy: I’d deleted most apps on my phone and turned off camera, location, and microphone access for nearly all of the ones that I did have; I had disabled Siri—I just found it annoying—and I didn’t have any smart devices. For the experiment, I would abide by some additional restrictions. I wouldn’t Google anything about pregnancy nor shop for baby stuff either online or using a credit card, and neither would my husband, because our I.P. addresses—and thus the vast, matrixed fatbergs of personal data assembled by unseen corporations to pinpoint our consumer and political identities—were linked. I wouldn’t look at pregnancy accounts on Instagram or pregnancy forums on Reddit. I wouldn’t update my period tracker or use a pregnancy app.

Nearly every time we load new content on an app or a Web site, ad-exchange companies—Google being the largest among them—broadcast data about our interests, finances, and vulnerabilities to determine exactly what we’ll see; more than a billion of these transactions take place in the U.S. every hour. Each of us, the data-privacy expert Wolfie Christl told me, has “dozens or even hundreds” of digital identifiers attached to our person; there’s an estimated eighteen-billion-dollar industry for location data alone. In August, 2022, Mozilla reviewed twenty pregnancy and period-tracking apps and found that fifteen of them made a “buffet” of personal data available to third parties, including addresses, I.P. numbers, sexual histories, and medical details. In most cases, the apps used vague language about when and how this data could be shared with law enforcement. (A 2020 FOIA lawsuit filed by the A.C.L.U. revealed that the Department of Homeland Security had purchased access to location data for millions of people in order to track them without a warrant. ICE and C.B.P. subsequently said they would stop using such data.) The scholar Shoshana Zuboff has called this surveillance capitalism , “a new economic order that claims human experience as free raw material for hidden commercial practices of extraction, prediction, and sales.” Through our phones, we are under perpetual surveillance by companies that buy and sell data about what kind of person we are, whom we might vote for, what we might purchase, and what we might be nudged into doing.

A decade ago, the sociology professor Janet Vertesi conducted a more rigorous form of the hidden-pregnancy experiment. Using an elaborate system of code words and the anonymous browser Tor, she managed to digitally hide her pregnancy all the way up to the birth of her child. In an article about the experience, for Time , she pointed to a Financial Times report, which found that identifying a single pregnant woman is as valuable to data brokers as knowing the age, gender, and location of more than two hundred nonpregnant people, because of how much stuff new parents tend to buy. She also noted that simply attempting to evade market detection—by, for example, purchasing stacks of gift cards in order to buy a stroller—made her and her husband look as though they were trying to commit fraud.

I wasn’t going to do anything so strict or elaborate. I’d allow myself to text and send e-mails about my pregnancy, and to talk about it with my phone nearby. I assumed that, eventually, it would notice; I’d just wait and see when a diaper ad popped up on Instagram. I liked the idea of establishing a buffer zone between my psyche and the object that most closely monitors it. I found it almost shocking to remember that this was possible.

Pregnancy tends to erode both your freedom and your privacy. Past a certain point in your second trimester, strangers will begin reaching toward your stomach and telling you about the real difference between boys and girls. But I had eluded this during my first pregnancy, because COVID hit before I started showing. In the months that followed, I began to feel the difference between witnessing something and surveilling it, and to recognize that the most pleasurable moments in my life had occurred out of the reach of any oversight. I had felt then an almost psychedelic sense of autonomy; time was dilating, and the slow bloom inside me was beyond anyone’s reach. I wanted to see if I could feel anything like that again.

During pregnancy, and in the early days of parenthood, one is both the object and the conductor of intense surveillance. Last year, the artist and filmmaker Sophie Hamacher co-edited an anthology of writing on the subject, called “ Supervision ,” which was published by M.I.T. Press. “As I became absorbed with tracking and monitoring my child,” Hamacher writes in the preface, “I was increasingly aware that I was a subject of tracking and monitoring by others: advertisers, medical professionals, government entities, people on the street. I began to wonder about the relationship between the way I watched her and the ways we were being watched.” Surveillance encompasses both policing and caretaking, Hamacher notes. In practice, its polarized qualities—“beneficial and harmful, intimate and distanced”—intertwine. Baby monitors use technology developed for the military. Many contemporary models run on CCTV.

Most American households with young children use baby monitors or trackers; two recent surveys put market penetration at seventy-five and eighty-three per cent, respectively. (Both surveys were conducted by companies that make these devices.) And there are now countless other ways that technology will help you to observe and scrutinize your child: nanny-cam Teddy bears, G.P.S. stroller accessories, scales that track your baby’s weight over time, disks that can be affixed to diapers and which will notify you if your baby rolls onto his stomach while he’s asleep. Increasingly, such products use A.I. to detect signs of distress. “The need to know whether a child is safe and well is perfectly natural, which makes the nature of such surveillance appear innocent,” the writer and scholar Hannah Zeavin notes in “Family Scanning,” one of the essays in “Supervision.” But, she adds, “these technologies conceal the possibility of false positives, disrupted emergency services, and of collaboration with state forces—wittingly or unwittingly—all in the name of keeping children safe.” As a general rule, these devices don’t lead to better outcomes for the babies they monitor. More often—like social media, which promises connection as a salve for the loneliness created by social media—parenting tech exacerbates, even calls into existence, the parental anxieties that it pledges to soothe.

This has become a common pattern in contemporary life. Nearly a fifth of U.S. households are estimated to use doorbell cameras, many of them from Ring, the Amazon-owned company that has expanded its reach through police partnerships and a dedicated app that encourages users to post footage of strangers. Ring cameras haven’t made neighborhoods measurably safer, but they have made users measurably more paranoid, and placed more people, sometimes with grave outcomes, in contact with the police. Until recently, police could readily access surveillance footage from the Ring network without a warrant by posting requests on the app. It also gave its own employees and third-party contractors “ ‘ free range ’ access” to view and download videos from users’ homes.

In 2015, the company Owlet started selling a two-hundred-and-fifty-dollar Smart Sock, which monitored babies’ heart rates and oxygen levels, and alerted parents if these figures were abnormal. Although the company insists that it has made clear that the product is not intended to “treat or diagnose” sudden infant death syndrome—and there is no evidence that it reduces the risk of SIDS occurring—such devices are sometimes referred to as “ SIDS monitors.” But, in 2017, an opinion piece in the Journal of the American Medical Association cautioned physicians against recommending the product. “There are no medical indications for monitoring healthy infants at home,” the authors wrote. The device, they noted, could “stimulate unnecessary fear, uncertainty, and self-doubt in parents about their abilities to keep their infants safe.” The following year, a study in the same journal found “concerning” inaccuracies in oxygen readings. When Owlet went public, in February, 2021, the company had a valuation of more than a billion dollars; later that year, the F.D.A. issued a warning letter that the Smart Sock wasn’t an authorized medical device, and the company pulled it off the market. A million units had already been sold. The following year, Owlet launched a new version, called the Dream Sock, which would receive F.D.A. approval. Most of the reviews for the Dream Sock exude profound gratitude. Parents write about the peace of mind that comes from knowing the baby is being constantly monitored, about not knowing what they would do if the device didn’t exist.

Surveillance capitalism, Zuboff writes, “aims to impose a new collective order based on total certainty.” But little is certain when it comes to babies. The control that we feel when we’re engaged in surveillance almost always proves illusory, though the control, or at least the influence, that others exert on us through surveillance is real.

It is not a coincidence that Roe v. Wade, a ruling grounded in the right to privacy, was overturned at a time when privacy in the U.S was on its conceptual deathbed. There are other legal principles that might have served as a stronger foundation for abortion rights: the right to equal protection, or the right to bodily integrity. As Christyne Neff wrote, in 1991, the physical effects of an ordinary pregnancy and delivery resemble those of a severe beating—flesh lacerated, organs rearranged, half a quart of blood lost. Can the state, she asked, rightfully compel a person to undergo this?

Since Roe fell, two years ago, fourteen states have claimed that power in absolute terms, banning abortion almost completely. Two states have successfully passed abortion-vigilante laws, which confer the power of carceral supervision on the public. Indiana’s attorney general has argued that abortion records should be publicly available, like death records; Kansas recently passed a law that would require abortion providers to collect details about the personal lives of their patients and make that information available to the government. Birth control and sex itself may be up next for criminal surveillance: the Heritage Foundation , last year, insisted, on Twitter, that “conservatives have to lead the way in restoring sex to its true purpose, & ending recreational sex & senseless use of birth control pills.”

For many women in America, pregnancy was a conduit to state surveillance long before the end of Roe. Poor women, especially poor nonwhite women, are often drug-tested during pregnancy, and sometimes during labor and delivery, without their informed consent. Women who take drugs during pregnancy have been charged with child abuse or neglect, including in cases in which the drugs were legal; women who have miscarried after taking drugs have been charged with manslaughter, even homicide, even when no causal link was proved. Sometimes this happens because the woman in question had responded to billboards and service announcements promising to help pregnant people who are struggling with substance use. In multiple states, women have been taken into custody when the safety of the fetus was called into question. “To be pregnant and poor in the United States is to play a game of roulette with one’s privacy, presumed confidential relationship with medical providers, and basic constitutional and medical rights,” the law professor Michele Goodwin writes in “ Policing the Womb ,” from 2020.

Goodwin describes the case of a woman in Iowa named Christine Taylor, who, in 2010, as a twenty-two-year-old mother of two, was accused of attempted feticide after she fell down the stairs while pregnant. Part of the evidence cited by the police was that she reportedly told a nurse that she hadn’t wanted the baby. (Ultimately, prosecutors decided not to press charges.) The carceral surveillance of pregnancy entails the criminalization of ambivalence, the inspection of these innermost desires. But the deepest truths about motherhood seem to me to be rooted in conflicting, coexisting emotions: nightmare and rapture in the same moment during labor, the love and despair that box each other at night in the weeks that follow, the joy of cuddling my nine-month-old undergirded by the horror of knowing that other babies are starving and dying in rubble. Before I had my first child, I had badly wanted to get pregnant. I had planned for it, prepared for it, hoped for it. Still, when I saw the positive test result, I cried.

My modest experiment went surprisingly smoothly. Because I’d had my first child not long before, this time I didn’t need to buy anything, and I didn’t want to learn anything. I smooth-brained my way to three months, four months, five; no diaper ads. I called up a lawyer and data-privacy specialist named Dominique Shelton Leipzig to get her perspective. Globally, she told me, we generate 2.5 quintillion bytes—that’s eighteen zeroes—of data per day. “The short answer is, you probably haven’t hidden what you think you have,” she said. I told her about the rules I’d set for myself, that I didn’t have many apps and had bought nothing but prenatal vitamins, and that Instagram did not appear to have identified me as pregnant. She paused. “I’m amazed,” she told me. “If you didn’t see any ads, I think you might have succeeded.” I congratulated myself by instantly dropping the experiment and buying maternity pants; ads for baby carriers popped up on my Instagram within minutes.

I had felt little satisfaction hiding from the ad trackers—if anything, I’d only become more conscious of how much surveillance I was engaged in, as both subject and object, and how much more insidious the problem was becoming. We rarely have a clear understanding of what we’re doing when we engage in surveillance of ourselves or others. Life360, an app that’s used by more than sixty million people and is marketed as an easy way to track your child’s location via their smartphone, was found in 2021 to be selling raw location information to data brokers. (The company said it now sells only aggregate data.) In a Pew survey from 2023, seventy-seven per cent of Americans said they had very little to no trust in how social-media executives handle user data, and seventy-one per cent were concerned about how the government uses it. In another survey, ninety-three per cent of Americans said they wouldn’t buy a doorbell camera if it sold data about their family. People just want to be safer. I had wanted security, too, and affirmation—and I had wanted to be a writer. I had disclosed so much of my life to people I’ll never know.

My husband and I had not bought a baby monitor for our first child, a choice that satisfied his desire to not buy things and my desire to insist that certain aspects of experience are fundamentally ungovernable. But shortly after the second child was born she developed eczema, and started scratching her sweet, enormous cheeks in her sleep. One morning, my husband went to her and found that she’d clawed her face open, leaving blood smudged all over her sleep sack and smeared all over her face. “We need a video monitor!” I wailed, already Googling options. “We need to buy a video monitor today.”

We didn’t buy one, but for weeks I regretted it and second-guessed myself. And I surveilled the baby with technology in other ways all the time. In the early weeks, I relied on an app to tell me how much milk she’d drunk and how many soiled diapers she’d had that day—activities that I myself had witnessed just hours before. I felt like a Biblical angel with a thousand eyes, somehow unable to see anything. I took pictures because I knew I would have no memory of the precise contours of this exact baby in a month. When she didn’t seem hungry enough, I panicked, obsessing over every feed.

“What’s the line between pathological self-surveillance and care for a newborn? Is there one?” Sarah Blackwood, an English professor at Pace University, asks, in “Supervision.” Blackwood contrasts the “fantasy of efficiency and sterility” built into parenting tech with the “psychic state of watchfulness so many mothers find themselves in”—a state that is “metastatic, fecund, beyond.” One afternoon, my husband took the baby from me: she was sobbing, and I was incoherently frantic, trying to get her to eat. She was O.K., he told me; she’d eat when she needed to. But I know what’s good for her, and it’s my job to make her do it, I thought, furious. Around the fringes of my consciousness, I felt a flicker of understanding about how this idea that everything was controllable had become so ubiquitous, how we had confused coercion with care. ♦

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Sophia Bush comes out as queer, confirms relationship with Ashlyn Harris

Sophia Bush

Actor Sophia Bush came out as queer in an emotional essay in Glamour and confirmed she’s in a relationship with retired U.S. Women’s National Team soccer player Ashlyn Harris. 

“I sort of hate the notion of having to come out in 2024,” Bush wrote in a cover story for the fashion magazine published Thursday. “But I’m deeply aware that we are having this conversation in a year when we’re seeing the most aggressive attacks on the LGBTQIA+ community in modern history.” 

Bush noted that there were more than 500 anti-LGBTQ bills proposed in state legislatures last year and said this motivated her to “give the act of coming out the respect and honor it deserves.” 

“I’ve experienced so much safety, respect, and love in the queer community, as an ally all of my life, that, as I came into myself, I already felt it was my home,” she wrote. “I think I’ve always known that my sexuality exists on a spectrum. Right now I think the word that best defines it is queer . I can’t say it without smiling, actually. And that feels pretty great.”

The “One Tree Hill” star filed for divorce from entrepreneur Grant Hughes in August. People magazine first reported in October that Bush and Harris were dating, but neither confirmed nor commented on the report. The pair later attended an Oscar’s viewing party together in March . 

In the essay, Bush addressed online rumors that her relationship with Harris began before Harris had officially divorced from fellow soccer star Ali Krieger, in September. 

“Everyone that matters to me knows what’s true and what isn’t,” Bush wrote. “But even still there’s a part of me that’s a ferocious defender, who wants to correct the record piece by piece. But my better self, with her earned patience, has to sit back and ask, What’s the f------- point? For who? For internet trolls? No, thank you. I’ll spend my precious time doing things I love instead.”

Bush said that after news about her and Harris became public, her mom told her that a friend called and said, “Well, this can’t be true. I mean, your daughter isn’t gay .” 

“My mom felt that it was obvious, from the way her friend emphasized the word, that she meant it judgmentally,” Bush wrote. “And you know what my mom said? ‘Oh honey, I think she’s pretty gay. And she’s happy .’”

Bush wrote that she felt like she was wearing a weighted vest that she could finally put down. 

“I finally feel like I can breathe,” Bush wrote. “I turned 41 last summer, amid all of this, and I heard the words I was saying to my best friend as they came out of my mouth. ‘I feel like this is my first birthday,’ I told her. This year was my very first birthday.”

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this is my culture essay

Jo Yurcaba is a reporter for NBC Out.

Photo Essay: My Spring 2024 Semester at CDS

this is my culture essay

Hi there! My name is Isabella Boncser, and I'm currently a sophomore in the six-year Accelerated BS/DPT program in Boston University's Sargent College (2026/2028). In addition to my academic pursuits, I have a passion for photography, and am currently the CDS student event photographer. I love capturing student life within CDS, whether that be taking pictures of students studying in the building on a rainy day, attending 24-hour civic tech hackathon on the 17th floor, or a faculty and staff appreciation event. Over this past semester, I had the honor of working with the CDS communications team, led by Maureen McCarthy , director, and Alessandra Augusto , events & communications manager.

I was asked to highlight some of my best and brightest work from the semester. The following images were captured this spring, and are some of my favorite images. They showcase the versatility of student life within CDS and BU Spark !

this is my culture essay

BU Spark! hosted a Tech For Change Civic Tech Hackathon , where students spent 24 hours at BU to developed a new project with teamwork and technical skills at the forefront. I had the opportunity to meet students from 19 different schools, all of whom spent (literally) day and night on the 17th floor of the Center for Computing & Data Sciences working together and using their hacking skills to create a difference in the world. Pictured here are two students celebrating after discussing their individual projects and asking for some advice regarding their presentations.

this is my culture essay

CDS serves as home for a variety of people and their furry friends! This image shows Miss Belle, the beautiful English Setter (who loves birds) who shares office space with her owner, Chris DeVits, CDS Director of Administration.

this is my culture essay

The Center for Computing & Data Sciences truly has a place for everyone at BU. The main level has become the campus living room, where students can meet to chat over coffee, or catch up on emails on the staircase. On a rainy day, students can find a " cozy corner " and focus on their work in a relaxing environment. This is a glimpse of the "sit steps" - the large staircase with over two dozen conversation spaces that has become popular for students to relax and get some work done between classes.

this is my culture essay

You may have heard people refer to the Center for Computing & Data Sciences as the "Jenga Building" because of its Jenga-like architecture. The building, which is home to the Faculty of Computing & Data Sciences, the Departments of Mathematics & Statistics and Computer Sciences, and the renowned Rafik B. Hariri Institute for Computing and Computation Science & Engineering, embraces its beautiful yet fun architecture while focusing on community! Next time you are craving a fun study break, join the CDS Events Team for a night of Jenga and try some delicious popcorn!

this is my culture essay

Driving down Commonwealth Avenue, the building stands out amongst its peers and shines bright along the Boston city skyline. Illuminating the streets during dusk, the building is one of my favorites the photograph. The 17th floor is home to many events hosted by CDS faculty and staff, as well as the general BU community.

this is my culture essay

The students pictured had been working tirelessly on their TFC Civic Tech Hackathon project. This photo exemplifies teamwork, collaboration, and partnership. Although students were working on their projects for 24 hours on the 17th floor of CDS, they were all smiles for the camera during final presentations!

this is my culture essay

Yoga at the Top of BU has become a staple for students to come and enjoy a one-hour yoga session. The class is open to all students across BU, and is a great way to take a study break and get your body moving. If you are a zen master, or have never taken a yoga class before, come join us for the next session!

this is my culture essay

The BU Spark! team gathered for a group picture during the Civic Tech Hackathon which took place on the 17th floor in February. Over the Spring 2024 semester, I've had the pleasure of getting to know the ambassadors from each track, and their passion for their work within the BU community is truly inspiring. BU Spark! hosts numerous events, talks, and community-building programs like Cookie O'clock, town halls, and much more. Visit the BU Spark! space on the second floor to learn more about their involvement on campus!

this is my culture essay

Computational Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences ( CHASS ) hosted a variety of tutorials ranging from "An Analysis on Emerson's Work" to large language model discussions throughout the Spring 2024 semester. These sessions are a great way to learn about the data science industry and how your skills will be used in the real world. Check out the CHASS video tutorial library on YouTube .

I am heading to Dublin, Ireland to live and study abroad for the Fall 2024 semester! I am so thankful to Maureen McCarthy who gave me the opportunity to work with and celebrate the CDS community. I would also like to shoutout Sebastian Bak (QST'25) who recommended the position to me, and spoke so highly of the CDS community!

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Home — Essay Samples — Arts & Culture — Tradition — The Importance Of My Culture


The Importance of My Culture

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Published: Mar 5, 2024

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I Was Taught to Hate My Freckles. I Decided to Love Them Instead.

Here, Crystal Hana Kim chronicles the cultural complexities of embracing her spots

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When I was a child, visiting family in Korea was a cause for unbridled excitement. That all changed one summer, when my grandmother took me and my cousin Sang-yoon to her local salon to get our hair permed. I was eager to match my cousin, whom I adored, mostly for the fact that she was older than me. At the salon, a slight woman bowed to my grandmother and surveyed us. She immediately gasped. “What happened to her face?” I turned to my cousin, curious, only to find that everyone was staring at me. “What’s wrong?” Alarm lifted my voice high.

“She’s American,” my grandmother said. “They don’t mind freckles over there.”

The hairdresser shook her head. “We have lightening creams. We can make her look like a true Korean.”

My cheeks turned hot in reaction to this stranger’s disapproving gaze. As my grandmother waved off the woman’s protests, I looked at my cousin, a “true” Korean who had never left the country. Her skin was spotless, unblemished. I studied the others in the room—strangers getting their hair clipped, streaked with white paste, pressed in foil, heated by helmets. All were clear-complexioned, unfreckled.

crystal hana kim

That afternoon, as my hair was coiled and clipped, I scorched with shame. All year long, I had been looking forward to this trip. I was tired of the taunting at school about my lunches, my eyes, my roasted-barley tea. In Korea, everyone would understand me intuitively, I thought. I had been excited to hear only my Korean name—Hana—and to slip on this other half of me.

After that day, I examined everyone’s faces intently. My mother and aunts wore thick foundation that smoothed over any blemish, even in the humid summer heat. My grandmother lamented her brown spots. Sang-yoon and her friends made sure to stay out of the sun. The currency of beauty infiltrated daily talk: “Look at that movie star,” my aunt would say, awed, and I would turn to see a spotless face. The message was clear: To have freckles was to be imperfect. To be imperfect was to be ugly. To be ugly was the worst thing that could happen to a girl, a woman.

This aversion to freckles wasn’t limited to Korea. When I returned to the United States, my favorite novel, Anne of Green Gables , took on a heavier weight. Red-haired, gangly-limbed Anne proudly claims she can dream her freckles away. Early on, she ponders, “Have you ever imagined what it must feel like to be divinely beautiful?” As an insecure preteen, I fixated on what was left unsaid. A few summers later, I discovered beauty stories in teen magazines. The instructions always started with full-coverage foundation. Blend until you have a smooth canvas. All over the country, girls were told to paint on masks, so hideous were their natural faces.

.css-1pfpin{font-family:NewParisTextBook,NewParisTextBook-roboto,NewParisTextBook-local,Georgia,Times,Serif;font-size:1.75rem;line-height:1.2;margin:0rem;padding-left:5rem;padding-right:5rem;}@media(max-width: 48rem){.css-1pfpin{padding-left:2.5rem;padding-right:2.5rem;}}@media(min-width: 64rem){.css-1pfpin{font-size:2.5rem;line-height:1.2;}}.css-1pfpin b,.css-1pfpin strong{font-family:inherit;font-weight:bold;}.css-1pfpin em,.css-1pfpin i{font-style:normal;font-family:NewParisTextItalic,NewParisTextItalic-roboto,NewParisTextItalic-local,Georgia,Times,Serif;} ALL OVER the country , girls were TOLD to paint on MASKS, so hideous were their NATURAL faces.

As the years passed, I watched with alarm as my freckles spread. They refused to remain relegated to my nose and cheeks, slowly encroaching upon my eyelids and then my chin. In some places, the freckles amassed, fusing into a blob. Throughout the years, I would hear admonishments that my freckles were a flaw: “There are lightening creams, you know.” “Have you been wearing sunscreen?” “If only you could get them removed.”

By the time I was in college, my insecurity had morphed into a resentment of those who held me to this standard of beauty. I became defiant. When my mother casually claimed my freckles were ugly, I shook her off. So what if I didn’t look like a “true” Korean? So be it. I basked in the sun, calling on my speckles to create a constellation across my face.

One summer after college, at an outdoor food market in Brooklyn, a vendor pulled down his sunglasses as he handed me a hot dog covered in brisket. “Are your freckles real?”

“What do you mean?” I asked, laughing. “How could they not be?”

“There are so many. I thought maybe you drew them on. Don’t get me wrong,” he said, sliding into a compliment. “They make you stand out, not like the other Asian girls.” Was he negging me?

I was tempted to snark back. Yet in the back of my mind, a small voice wondered: Why would anyone want to draw on freckles when they were considered ugly?

I observed this proliferation of pro-freckle beauty products with bemusement. To expand our definition of beauty is a net positive. But a twinge inside me makes me hesitate: There’s a fine line between self-love and being manipulated by a market eager to churn out new products for our consumption. Is it really radical acceptance if you have to add on freckles to create the perfect “no-makeup makeup” look?

A year ago, as we were brushing our teeth in the bathroom, my then-two-year-old son noticed my freckles for the first time. “Why face dirty?” he asked, innocent and curious. How interesting, his word choice, the assumption of a flaw. He tried to wipe my cheek. “They’re freckles, and they don’t rub off. I think they’re beautiful,” I quickly added. He stopped, his finger on my chin. “Boo-tiful,” he agreed with a smile. How easy to create a new narrative.

I forgot about that moment entirely until last week, when he beckoned me to the mirror. “Umma! I look like you.” He pointed to himself with a grin. I bent down to see on his sweet, perfect cheek a brown freckle, announcing itself, proudly, hello.

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Headshot of Crystal Hana Kim

Crystal Hana Kim is the author of  The Stone Home  (2024) and  If You Leave Me (2018), which was named a best book of 2018 by over a dozen publications. She is the recipient of the 2022 National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 Award, nominated by Min Jin Lee. She is also a 2017 PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize winner. She is a contributing editor at  Apogee Journal  and lives in Brooklyn, New York with her family.

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Guest Essay

A Year on Ozempic Taught Me We’re Thinking About Obesity All Wrong

A photo illustration of junk food — potato chips, cheesecake and bacon — spiraling into a black background.

By Johann Hari

Mr. Hari is a British journalist and the author of “Magic Pill: The Extraordinary Benefits — and Disturbing Risks — of the New Weight Loss Drugs.”

Ever since I was a teenager, I have dreamed of shedding a lot of weight. So when I shrank from 203 pounds to 161 in a year, I was baffled by my feelings. I was taking Ozempic, and I was haunted by the sense that I was cheating and doing something immoral.

I’m not the only one. In the United States (where I now split my time), over 70 percent of people are overweight or obese, and according to one poll, 47 percent of respondents said they were willing to pay to take the new weight-loss drugs. It’s not hard to see why. They cause users to lose an average of 10 to 20 percent of their body weight, and clinical trials suggest that the next generation of drugs (probably available soon) leads to a 24 percent loss, on average. Yet as more and more people take drugs like Ozempic, Wegovy and Mounjaro, we get more confused as a culture, bombarding anyone in the public eye who takes them with brutal shaming.

This is happening because we are trapped in a set of old stories about what obesity is and the morally acceptable ways to overcome it. But the fact that so many of us are turning to the new weight-loss drugs can be an opportunity to find a way out of that trap of shame and stigma — and to a more truthful story.

In my lifetime, obesity has exploded, from being rare to almost being the norm. I was born in 1979, and by the time I was 21, obesity rates in the United States had more than doubled . They have skyrocketed since. The obvious question is, why? And how do these new weight-loss drugs work? The answer to both lies in one word: satiety. It’s a concept that we don’t use much in everyday life but that we’ve all experienced at some point. It describes the sensation of having had enough and not wanting any more.

The primary reason we have gained weight at a pace unprecedented in human history is that our diets have radically changed in ways that have deeply undermined our ability to feel sated. My father grew up in a village in the Swiss mountains, where he ate fresh, whole foods that had been cooked from scratch and prepared on the day they were eaten. But in the 30 years between his childhood and mine, in the suburbs of London, the nature of food transformed across the Western world. He was horrified to see that almost everything I ate was reheated and heavily processed. The evidence is clear that the kind of food my father grew up eating quickly makes you feel full. But the kind of food I grew up eating, much of which is made in factories, often with artificial chemicals, left me feeling empty and as if I had a hole in my stomach. In a recent study of what American children eat, ultraprocessed food was found to make up 67 percent of their daily diet. This kind of food makes you want to eat more and more. Satiety comes late, if at all.

One scientific experiment — which I have nicknamed Cheesecake Park — seemed to me to crystallize this effect. Paul Kenny, a neuroscientist at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, grew up in Ireland. After he moved in 2000 to the United States, when he was in his 20s, he gained 30 pounds in two years. He began to wonder if the American diet has some kind of strange effect on our brains and our cravings, so he designed an experiment to test it. He and his colleague Paul Johnson raised a group of rats in a cage and gave them an abundant supply of healthy, balanced rat chow made out of the kind of food rats had been eating for a very long time. The rats would eat it when they were hungry, and then they seemed to feel sated and stopped. They did not become fat.

But then Dr. Kenny and his colleague exposed the rats to an American diet: fried bacon, Snickers bars, cheesecake and other treats. They went crazy for it. The rats would hurl themselves into the cheesecake, gorge themselves and emerge with their faces and whiskers totally slicked with it. They quickly lost almost all interest in the healthy food, and the restraint they used to show around healthy food disappeared. Within six weeks, their obesity rates soared.

After this change, Dr. Kenny and his colleague tweaked the experiment again (in a way that seems cruel to me, a former KFC addict). They took all the processed food away and gave the rats their old healthy diet. Dr. Kenny was confident that they would eat more of it, proving that processed food had expanded their appetites. But something stranger happened. It was as though the rats no longer recognized healthy food as food at all, and they barely ate it. Only when they were starving did they reluctantly start to consume it again.

Though Dr. Kenny’s study was in rats, we can see forms of this behavior everywhere. We are all living in Cheesecake Park — and the satiety-stealing effect of industrially assembled food is evidently what has created the need for these medications. Drugs like Ozempic work precisely by making us feel full. Carel le Roux, a scientist whose research was important to the development of these drugs, says they boost what he and others once called “satiety hormones.”

Once you understand this context, it becomes clear that processed and ultraprocessed food create a raging hole of hunger, and these treatments can repair that hole. Michael Lowe, a professor of psychology at Drexel University who has studied hunger for 40 years, told me the drugs are “an artificial solution to an artificial problem.”

Yet we have reacted to this crisis largely caused by the food industry as if it were caused only by individual moral dereliction. I felt like a failure for being fat and was furious with myself for it. Why do we turn our anger inward and not outward at the main cause of the crisis? And by extension, why do we seek to shame people taking Ozempic but not those who, say, take drugs to lower their blood pressure?

The answer, I think, lies in two very old notions. The first is the belief that obesity is a sin. When Pope Gregory I laid out the seven deadly sins in the sixth century, one of them was gluttony, usually illustrated with grotesque-seeming images of overweight people. Sin requires punishment before you can get to redemption. Think about the competition show “The Biggest Loser,” on which obese people starve and perform extreme forms of exercise in visible agony in order to demonstrate their repentance.

The second idea is that we are all in a competition when it comes to weight. Ours is a society full of people fighting against the forces in our food that are making us fatter. It is often painful to do this: You have to tolerate hunger or engage in extreme forms of exercise. It feels like a contest in which each thin person creates additional pressure on others to do the same. Looked at in this way, people on Ozempic can resemble athletes like the cyclist Lance Armstrong who used performance-enhancing drugs. Those who manage their weight without drugs might think, “I worked hard for this, and you get it for as little as a weekly jab?”

We can’t find our way to a sane, nontoxic conversation about obesity or Ozempic until we bring these rarely spoken thoughts into the open and reckon with them. You’re not a sinner for gaining weight. You’re a typical product of a dysfunctional environment that makes it very hard to feel full. If you are angry about these drugs, remember the competition isn’t between you and your neighbor who’s on weight-loss drugs. It’s between you and a food industry constantly designing new ways to undermine your satiety. If anyone is the cheat here, it’s that industry. We should be united in a struggle against it and its products, not against desperate people trying to find a way out of this trap.

There are extraordinary benefits as well as disturbing risks associated with weight-loss drugs. Reducing or reversing obesity hugely boosts health, on average: We know from years of studying bariatric surgery that it slashes the risks of cancer, heart disease and diabetes-related death. Early indications are that the new anti-obesity drugs are moving people in a similar radically healthier direction, massively reducing the risk of heart attack or stroke. But these drugs may increase the risk for thyroid cancer. I am worried they diminish muscle mass and fear they may supercharge eating disorders. This is a complex picture in which the evidence has to be weighed very carefully.

But we can’t do that if we remain lost in stories inherited from premodern popes or in a senseless competition that leaves us all, in the end, losers. Do we want these weight loss drugs to be another opportunity to tear one another down? Or do we want to realize that the food industry has profoundly altered the appetites of us all — leaving us trapped in the same cage, scrambling to find a way out?

Johann Hari is a British journalist and the author of “Magic Pill: The Extraordinary Benefits — and Disturbing Risks — of the New Weight Loss Drugs,” among other books.

Source photographs by seamartini, The Washington Post, and Zana Munteanu via Getty Images.

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips . And here’s our email: [email protected] .

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