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A Personal Journey: Understanding & Embracing Your Cultural Identity In 2023

I'm a black woman living in a world where whiteness is often seen as the standard to live by. From beauty standards to corporate environments, I was often reminded that my culture was seen as “foreign,” both directly and indirectly. 


This experience is not unique to me, and I suspect it isn’t for you either. It's something that many people of color face within our culture. In fact, studies show that children of color are often underrepresented on TV and in popular movies because they don't fit the stereotypical "European" image that we see everyday. 


The combination of these factors leads many people (particularly children) to feel disconnected from their cultural identity and heritage. So, here’s how we can form a newfound connection with our own cultural identity that we can embrace and live by today. 


Recognize That These Standards Aren't Going Anywhere

Let's start by recognizing this - no matter how hard we try, these standards of our world will never change.


And the only reason why is simply because the current cultural norms are rooted so deep into our history that they will always be recognized and taught in the present. 


However, instead of focusing on changing the standards established in our society, we should focus on making our own standards and living by those standards. 


Think about it. We live in a world where we can be any and everything we want. So why not take all the energy needed to make that happen and put it into establishing our own customs through our culture?


Identify Current Moments Of Underrepresentation

Coming to terms that we can live by our own cultural identities is only the starting point. Before we can walk the walk, we have to first get to the root cause of the issue.


For example, in the United States, people of color are often underrepresented in the entertainment industry and mainstream media. This, as a result, can have a negative impact on their self-esteem because they may feel that they don't belong to society at large.


For years, the media has been a powerful tool for shaping society. The people behind this industry get to pick and choose who is represented on-screen and who isn’t, and now that it’s evolving, that power will only grow from here.


In the case of people of color and our cultural identities, this is one of the main reasons why we are currently being underrepresented and why we cannot connect to our cultural identities. 


It also serves as another important reason why people who look like us have to occupy the boardroom to help embrace and represent our culture to the world.


The Importance of Having Cultural Identities

When we lack a piece of ourselves that defines who we are, we often feel lost walking this Earth and try to find purpose through other avenues. Because of this, connecting to our cultural identities often becomes a struggle as we grow up and we miss the bigger picture on why this is important.


We all need the opportunity to connect to our cultural identities because:


  • Cultural identity is an important part of who you are. It's something that defines your community and connects people of different backgrounds.

  • The importance of cultural identity can be seen in every aspect of life, from childhood to adulthood and into old age.

  • All people have a cultural heritage that shapes their way of thinking and understanding the world around them--even those who aren't from cultures that are traditionally considered "minority" groups within Western society (e.g., white Americans).


Bridging The Gap

The world is a melting pot of many cultures. Because of this, it's easy to forget that we are all part of a larger community and have a responsibility to each other. 


In order for us to be successful in building bridges between people who may not share the same background as us or even speak the same language, we must first understand how our own cultural identity has shaped us into who we are today.


We all come from different backgrounds which means there will always be something new for us to learn about each other and ourselves through conversation and understanding. This allows us not only recognize similarities but also celebrate differences, allowing us both opportunities for growth as individuals while strengthening our community.


Connecting To Your Cultural Identity

Cultural identity is not just about what you look like on the outside; it's also about your language, history, traditions, values and beliefs as well as how you express yourself culturally through art, music and food.


Culture is a powerful force that shapes our lives from infancy to old age. It influences where we live, who we choose to marry or befriend and even how well we sleep at night. 


It also helps us understand who we are as individuals within society by providing us with a sense of belonging within our community, prompting the phrase: "We're all the same but different".


There are many different ways in which people experience their cultural identity including race/ethnicity (skin color), religion (beliefs), gender identity (masculine/feminine), sexual orientation (gay vs straight), and more. 


Connecting to your cultural identity can also be done through your favorite hobbies and activities, like through art, music and food.


Conclusion

It's important to know who you are. With so much hate in this world today, it's good to know your cultural identity so you can have a newfound love for the culture that shapes who you are as an individual.


Cultural identity is not just about what you look like on the outside; it's also about your language, history, traditions, values and beliefs as well as how you express yourself culturally through art, music, food, and more.


It's important to remember that cultural identity is not just about what you look like on the outside; it's also about your language, history, traditions, values, and beliefs as well as how you express yourself culturally through avenues like art, music, and food. 


At some point during our lives, we will all face a situation where we have to decide if we want to embrace or reject our cultural identity. Make today the day you decide to embrace it and walk confidently in your purpose.

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