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ERIC Number: ED231889
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Apr-23
Pages: 14
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
When Is a Difference Not a Difference?
Pai, Young
The new pluralism in a democratic society requires that cultural differences be regarded as differences rather than deficits; however, this view of cultural pluralism does not mean that the notion of cultural differences should be carried to such an extreme as to become separatist in orientation. Cultural differences represent various societies' unique ways of coping in particular contexts, and it is not appropriate to judge the way others live by the standards of one's own culture. On the other hand, one should not conclude that particular beliefs and behavior patterns that work well in one cultural setting will necessarily be effective in another setting. Tenacious adherence to one's traditional cultural practices in a radically different context is maladaptive and self defeating. Thus, immigrants to America should be helped to understand that pride in their cultural heritage does not entail preserving all their cultural practices at all costs, and that living in a democracy does not justify, in the name of cultural pluralism, adherence to cultural norms that infringe on the rights of others. In a culturally diverse society, individuals can cope best by reconciling two or more cultural systems through modification of both. (MJL)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Association of Asian and Pacific American Education (Chicago, IL, April 23, 1983).