Cultural Confusion and Identity: Minority Identity

Stages of Minority Identity Development.

  • Where do you fit in to with your family, friends and coworkers?
  • What are the dynamics at play in your close inter-personal relationships?
My immediate family members: father, mother, sister and I were each born in a different country. Growing up, my household was very multicultural and diverse and multiple languages were spoken.

Each of us must understand where we came from in order to effectively plan where we are going. Understanding our stage of identity development will help us interact effectively in an increasingly diverse workplace.

Minority Identity Development
Stage 1: Conformity

By the time children enter the school system, they have the beginnings of identity development
  • Preference for the values and norms of the dominant culture
  • Strong desire to assimilate into the dominate culture
  • Negative self-deprecating attitudes toward themselves and their racial group
  • Attitudes toward the dominant group are positive
I didn't remember my background and I was never taught to be proud of my Asian heritage. We talked about it in class, but, I identified with white students and wanted to accepted by them.

Stage 2: Dissonance
  • Individual begins to question pro-White attitude and behaviors
  • Individuals alternate between self- and group-appreciation and deprecating attitudes and behaviors
I have become much more aware of racism. Before when racial comments were said around me I would somehow ignore it and pretend that nothing was said to protect myself. I no longer ignore such comments,  now confront them.

Stage 3: Resistance and Immersion
  • Individuals embrace their own racial/ethnic group completely
  • Blind endorsement of one's group and all the values/attitudes attributed to the group
  • Individuals accept racism and oppression as a reality.
  • Rejection of the values and norms associated with the dominant group
  • Empathic understanding and an overpowering ethnocentric bias
I am angry about the way Sikh people have been treated in this country. Internalized racism is something that we all felt, at various times, needed to be talked about.

Stage 4: Introspection
  • Individuals develop a security in their racial identity that allows questioning of rigid Resistance attitudes
  • Re-direct anger/negativity toward "White system" to exploration of individual and group identity issues
  • Conflict between allegiance to one's own ethnic group and issues of personal autonomy
  • Individuals acknowledge there is variation amongst all groups of people
I am Russian and grew up speaking Russian. I am always shy around "regular Americans" and have not had any American White friends. I grew up wanting to be accepted and ended up almost denying my race and culture. As I grew older, I realized that I was different and enjoyed having other Russian friends.”

Stage 5: Synergetic Articulation and Awareness
  • Characterized by a sense of self fulfillment with regard to racial identity, confident and secure
  • Desire to eliminate all forms of oppression
  • High level of positive regard toward self and toward one's group
  • Respect and appreciation for other racial/cultural groups
  • Openness to constructive elements of the dominant culture
The stages of Identity may not be linear, or sequential. You may be in more than one stage simultaneously.
The initial reason for the session or “identified problem” with one of my clients was a career issue. However, he was actually struggling with “minority identity” issues related to sexual orientation and acceptance in the workplace.

In our session, the client learned about the implications of Minority Identity on Career Transitions and Role Confusion. He analyzed his stage of identity development and this had an immediate impact. After our session, I emailed the client the “Minority Identity Model below.”

Here is the email I received a few days after the session.

“Thanks! I've taken a look at this! I feel A TON better --took your advice. Yesterday was awesome and today is going just as well.”

I hope this article inspires you to read more about your own Cultural Identity and to work towards increasing your global exposure and inter-cultural competency.
© 2012 All Rights Reserved. Sharon B. Cohen Global Career Consultant. 

Contact me if you'd like guidance on the path to your ideal career

1 comment:

  1. the information of minority development the given information is use full the all candidates thanks for the giving information regard sarkari naukri