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cultural identity essay

cultural identity essay example

Cultural identity is the social constructedness of our personal identities. The way we look at ourselves, and through that lens the others, is based on shared systems of symbols, systems which people have created. So your cultural identity will shape how you see yourself and act towards others.

When asked to describe your cultural identity, you may feel as though the question is asking too much. You would probably never normally think it necessary to explain where your culture has come from or why you have chosen to identify with a particular culture. However, when writing a cultural identity essay there are several aspects of cultural identity which can be emphasised or expressed in these essays.

When writing an essay on your cultural identity it would be beneficial to use the essay as an opportunity to express how aspects of your culture have shaped you, whether these are negative or positive. It is often said that people can be shaped by their cultures; this refers to various factors including beliefs and traditions. These essays will enable you to express how aspects of your culture have affected your life and developed you into a particular person.

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Also, when writing about cultural identity, it is important not only to explain why you identify with a particular culture but also to explain why other people may share different identities; for example, some people may identify with more than one cultural background. This essay could therefore consider what factors cause people to choose or reject their original cultural identity and whether these factors are applicable to varying degrees amongst people in different situations.

An essay about cultural identity can be approached from many angles and when writing it, you should ensure that you consider all sides of the question; for example, if your own culture is defined by a particular group of people rather than a geographical location. Although this may possibly make an essay more difficult to write, it will provide a greater insight into why someone might identify with one religion or another. This type of essay could also explain how modernisation has had an effect on cultural identity ; explaining how much faith some religions place upon tradition and explaining how other cultures adapt their traditions according to changing circumstances.

These essays can therefore be used in order to understand yourself better or how you relate to other people; for example, if you have a particular connection with another person of the same background. Explaining how cultural identity has played a part in your own life will allow others to learn more about yourself and others who may share similar characteristics to yourselves.

This type of essay can also be used when considering issues surrounding world cultures and conflict between them. For instance, an essay could explain why conflicts arise over religion or national identity , which are often linked closely together. This would therefore involve explaining the history of cultures and where many of these differences originate from; as well as discussing ways that this issue should be approached in order to avoid future conflict. These essays can provide valuable insight into diverse religious problems including terrorism, war and religion based arguments; which are often neglected by media outlets due to their sensitive nature.

The main aim when writing this essay is to explain a culture as it affects you and your life . Because of the fact that people may identify with more than one culture, they may have many influences, which must be considered in essays concerning cultural identity. Therefore, when writing an essay on cultural identity , it is essential to consider how aspects of different cultures can affect those who have mixed identities. These essays provide valuable insights into the reasons behind cultural choice and how these choices affect others around them. Cultural identity presents several issues for debate and therefore these essays should be used as a starting point for debating and discussing all sides of the issue.

Cultural identity essay outline example

Here is an example outline for a cultural identity paper.

Introduction (1 paragraph)

  • hook, direct statement of the general idea you will be discussing throughout your essay- introduction should not be a question
  • state the topic
  • summarize relevant points

Body Paragraphs (2–3 paragraphs)

  • first body paragraph
  • second body paragraph- explain another main point by explaining why it is important and how it shows up in other people’s lives
  • third body paragraph- have one more point that ties together others in a detailed way

Conclusion (1 paragraph): restate thesis and provide final thought/conclusion

Paragraph Breakdown:

The introduction part of the essay explains to the reader what you’re going to be talking about and gives them a hook, or something that will make them continue reading. The next paragraph is your thesis statement- it’s your main point in the form of a direct statement (not a question.) This means that it should already have all the information necessary to prove whatever it is you’re trying to prove. After this, you go into body paragraphs, where you do just that- explain different points with evidence from other sources. Each should have at least one line in which you tell the reader why this subject/argument/etc is important , how it shows up in people’s lives, and an example of one way someone has included the idea in their writing. The final paragraph is your conclusion- restates the hook, and gives a final thought that ties everything together and makes it more memorable/meaningful to the reader.

Tips for a perfect cultural identity research paper

A research paper on cultural identity usually follows MLA style , so make sure that if you’re using any outside sources for information (such as from an interview), that you cite them. This means including a Works Cited section at the end of your paper where you list all of the sources used in your cultural identity paper.

Tips to use when writing a cultural identity reflection paper or cultural identity reflection essay include:

  • Do not use first person. Use I or we when you are writing about your cultural identity but avoid using personal pronouns such as I or we in order to prevent the essay from becoming too wordy and impersonal.
  • Avoid using vague words; ensure that words used will clearly express your meaning without causing confusion. This means ensuring that adjectives are specific enough to give an accurate description of what you mean, while adverbs should be used sparingly so as not to weaken their effect on the reader.
  • Organise ideas logically by grouping together similar points before concluding with a few sentences which summarise all your points and leave the reader with something memorable; try to keep paragraphs short so that readers do not become overwhelmed by information, remember to use subheadings to break up the essay.
  • Start your cultural identity paper assignment with a captivating hook in order to capture your reader’s attention and then proceed to transitioning paragraphs effectively through linking words and phrases; this essay structure will allow you to maintain interest throughout the whole piece of work.
  • Avoid using textbook language; instead, choose interesting vocabulary which is appropriate for the specific purpose of your assignment giving it more depth an meaning not just educating others on facts.
  • You should try to stay away from clichés, but if they are used try making them as original as possible, for example: “A picture paints a thousand words”; could be restated thus: ” One picture can express many things “.

My Cultural identity essay example

My cultural identity is considered to be a little different from the average person. I was born in Ecuador and moved here when i was only eight years old, so you may think that I would not have had much of an impact on my identity because i am now American. However, I am unable to speak Spanish fluently like many other Spanish speakers. In fact, I can barely hold a conversation with anyone. This has led me to become very interested in learning about both cultures. My desire for knowledge has led me to participate in several activities aimed at teaching myself about my native culture as well as my new one . While volunteering in this school library program hosted by Hispanic community center where participants meet weekly and read classic Hispanic children’s books. The objective of the program is to allow children to be able to participate in their culture. To learn about language, and experience being a part of this culture . As well as reading books with Hispanic themes I have joined my school’s Spanish club that participates in activities such as eating traditional foods, having discussions on various topics, and other things of this sort. This club has helped me to become more comfortable with speaking Spanish fluently , but there is always room for improvement.

Another activity that I have participated in is volunteering at my local Catholic parish helping with after-school tutoring sessions where elementary students are taught Spanish through art. What makes these lessons different from others is that they incorporate both languages so that the children can understand concepts better because instead of saying “What is this?” they are asked, “¿Qué es esto?.” By providing these lessons to students who may be in danger of falling behind on their Spanish skills it helps them learn the language and can also help with integrating these children into society.

This experience has had a major impact on my identity because it allows me to connect with and appreciate both cultures that I belong to. It is important that we take advantage of opportunities like these so that we do not lose sight of our heritage.

In addition to being part of a Spanish club, and participating in various types of cultural activities in order to learn more about Hispanic culture , I have also been involved in other extracurricular activities such as marching band, concert band, and both jazz and pep bands. These opportunities have not only helped me to develop my interests in music but they have also given me the opportunity to gain leadership skills that are essential for future careers. I plan on attending college with a major in either graphic design or education so these experiences will help me later down the road when dealing with other students who might be struggling to learn certain concepts.

The part of being involved in music has been extremely challenging at times because it requires a strong level of commitment and dedication . As well as you having to practice quite often before performances so that your performance is flawless. But regardless of any challenges i may encounter throughout this experience it has led to helping me develop a strong work ethic that is essential when trying to succeed in the working world .

Over the course of my life, I have been able to learn about both cultures by participating in many different types of activities. These are some great opportunities for any student who would like to be more informed and knowledgeable about their heritage or students who are interested in expanding their horizons. This is why i am thankful for becoming involved with these cultural activities because they have given me the opportunity to become a better person as well as making me appreciate the culture we live in. By allowing us to embrace our identity through various mediums it allows us an opportunity to enhance knowledge and understanding so that we can develop into good citizens of this country.

My cultural identity essay example 2

My cultural identity essay is about my experience with both of my cultures. I love how proud i am to be a Mexican-American. 

At home we speak Spanish and English because my parents are from Mexico . But mostly Spanish because that’s where they grew up. As for me, i was born here in the United States so I don’t always remember everything in Spanish as well as some of the words but I can still understand most of what they are saying.. They’ll have conversations with each other and sometimes talk about me when I’m not around which helps me learn their language more. Sometimes if it’s something important that has been discussed or if they want to tell me something then they will say it in English so I know exactly what they are talking about. 

My mom and my grandma have their own traditions that they follow. Some such as the holidays like Christmas and Halloween. They decorate the house with lights for Christmas . For Halloween it’s more about the kids dressing up in costumes trick or treating, eating popcorn balls and candy corn, bobbing for apples in a big bowl of water , etc. My dad on the other hand likes to practice his traditions from Mexico such as placing candles on an altar for our family members who have passed away and celebrating child’s day which is something similar to Valentine’s Day; by giving cards, flowers, balloons , etc..

Because I’m older than most of my cousins , I often look after them when we go to family gatherings . It’s usually me who is the one that makes sure they are safe and don’t wander off from our group. I also help them get when it comes to protecting themselves from dangerous situations such as crossing the street or if there starts to be a fight between certain family members. Usually when something like this happens, my dad is able to break up the argument without having any physical contact but if he can’t he’ll call for someone else to come help him out.

In school i was fortunate enough to grow up in an area where we weren’t surrounded by just Mexican-Americans so I got to interact with other people of different ethnicities such as black, Asian, Native American, etc.. In some instances my friends would invite me over to their house for the holidays so I was able to participate in some of their traditions as well. 

But it wasn’t only my friends who invited me over, sometimes i would just go by myself. In fact pretty much all of my best friends that i have made through school are those of different ethnic groups . Another way we were exposed to other cultures is when we had to do projects on something and then be assigned a partner from a different group.

This is really important because us kids need to know what others may have gone through or are currently going through; especially by learning about discrimination due to race, nationality, etc.. It also helps open up our minds and makes us recognize that everybody’s culture is equally important and unique. It also helps us maintain a better understanding of other people’s cultures so that we can try to not over step and cross the line while doing things such as throwing a party or cooking food from another country.

For me, i have found this experience to be very helpful because it has helped me broaden my mind by actually experiencing other cultures first hand . I have gotten to learn what it is like living in other families and how they live their lives differently than mine. By doing this I was able to appreciate what I had at home more while realizing that there are many different ways of living life; all which are equally important.

My cultural identity essay example 3

The culture we live in has no boundaries with respect to being a huge part of our daily lives. It can be shown in many different ways, from food to the manner in which we speak among others and we all have a culture that is ours and only ours. This essay on cultural identity will show you how this impacts me as an individual.

My culture has played a major role throughout my life because it has shaped me into the person that I am today. As a child, the kind of person I was could easily be influenced by my surroundings and more than often it did affect who I was to become . Seeing other people’s cultures around me allowed me to learn about their history , their beliefs and what they stood for. While mine remained the same, it gave me a chance to explore what other cultures were like and what they were all about.

A very good example of my cultural identity is the fact that I got to experience turkey for one of the first times out with friends for thanksgiving . One would think how different could this bird actually be, especially when compared to chicken or duck but in reality turkeys are much smaller birds. They also have a completely different taste then their other counterparts because we usually don’t cook them as often so it brings a unique factor into play. This specific Thanksgiving was spent at my friend’s house and her family made sure to do everything from scratch including cooking the turkey itself which added an extra twist on the old tradition by having a new way to enjoy your favorite dish. Her family did not bring over their entire culture, but they did merge some of their traditions with the American one to have a new experience.

Another good example was when I went to Mexico and had a chance to see how everyday life could be like for another person living outside of the United States. This also made me realized that even though we are all people with different skin colors and speak different languages, there is still a lot in common between us . We all share love for our families just as much as we care about how we can impact them through our own actions such as helping out around the house or giving them advice on certain things. No matter where I go in my life or what kind of work I end up doing, it will always reflect my Mexican heritage because it is a part of me that helps shaped me into the person I am today .

Another thing about this cultural identity is how it reflects directly on a person’s way of thinking, which to be honest can be quite different from one another. For example my mother always told us to take things seriously and never just for granted based off of what she has lived through in her lifetime. Every decision we make whether it was big or small would impact our future for good or bad therefore making us realize that every choice matters . In other words, understanding the consequences behind each action or comment made were very vital especially when growing up. We would also hear stories like “why didn’t you do this” or “I wish you could have done that”. This not only added to our personal experience but also played a factor on how we looked at the world around us .

Through my own cultural identity I have experienced things that most people don’t even get to see in their lifetime. Some of these experiences include living in both Mexico and the United States, making lasting friendships with great kids and going out of my comfort zone to try new things that could help me grow as an individual which is essential for success throughout life. I am proud to say that even though I was raised by Mexican parents, I do not like eating spicy food which can be very surprising when you think about it because almost everything they put into their dishes consists of hot peppers or chili peppers. In some cases, when we wanted Mexican food back home in the States, we would go to a restaurant called Chipotle which has now spread like wildfire all across America.

I am my own person who can proudly say that I have learned how to make them proud along with being an individual who was born into a culture that did not hold me back from becoming anything I wanted and always encouraged me for bettering myself!

Cultural identity essay writing help

You can hire an essay writer to write your college essay on cultural identity. This is not the only example of our writing services. Describe your goal and we will do our best to find a writer who will fulfill it.

We are sure that you, as a student, have lots of different tasks every day. Not everyone can cope with all the assignments given by teachers and professors, so there is always a real risk of failing educational process. In order to avoid this unpleasant situation, ask our professional helpers to write my essay for me . They have thorough knowledge in numerous subjects and won’t let you down! Just be sure to provide them with precise instructions on how to complete your paper.

Our site is really good at completing any task you may have! We can write self identity essay , reaction paper , reflection essay , or any other academic writing help .

Our essay writing service is ready to help you with any problem! Whether your essay question is “What is Cultural Identity?” or “Cultural identity in the life of the youth”, we are always prepared to assist you. We understand that students don’t have enough time for quality preparation of every paper, so we made our site a free platform where everyone can ask and answer questions without registration. In addition to discussing academic issues here, you can also read reviews on other websites and get recommendations on how to cope with various cultural identity essay assignments.

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  • How to Write a Diversity Essay | Tips & Examples

How to Write a Diversity Essay | Tips & Examples

Published on November 1, 2021 by Kirsten Courault . Revised on May 31, 2023.

Table of contents

What is a diversity essay, identify how you will enrich the campus community, share stories about your lived experience, explain how your background or identity has affected your life, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about college application essays.

Diversity essays ask students to highlight an important aspect of their identity, background, culture, experience, viewpoints, beliefs, skills, passions, goals, etc.

Diversity essays can come in many forms. Some scholarships are offered specifically for students who come from an underrepresented background or identity in higher education. At highly competitive schools, supplemental diversity essays require students to address how they will enhance the student body with a unique perspective, identity, or background.

In the Common Application and applications for several other colleges, some main essay prompts ask about how your background, identity, or experience has affected you.

Why schools want a diversity essay

Many universities believe a student body representing different perspectives, beliefs, identities, and backgrounds will enhance the campus learning and community experience.

Admissions officers are interested in hearing about how your unique background, identity, beliefs, culture, or characteristics will enrich the campus community.

Through the diversity essay, admissions officers want students to articulate the following:

  • What makes them different from other applicants
  • Stories related to their background, identity, or experience
  • How their unique lived experience has affected their outlook, activities, and goals

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

Think about what aspects of your identity or background make you unique, and choose one that has significantly impacted your life.

For some students, it may be easy to identify what sets them apart from their peers. But if you’re having trouble identifying what makes you different from other applicants, consider your life from an outsider’s perspective. Don’t presume your lived experiences are normal or boring just because you’re used to them.

Some examples of identities or experiences that you might write about include the following:

  • Race/ethnicity
  • Gender identity
  • Sexual orientation
  • Nationality
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Immigration background
  • Religion/belief system
  • Place of residence
  • Family circumstances
  • Extracurricular activities related to diversity

Include vulnerable, authentic stories about your lived experiences. Maintain focus on your experience rather than going into too much detail comparing yourself to others or describing their experiences.

Keep the focus on you

Tell a story about how your background, identity, or experience has impacted you. While you can briefly mention another person’s experience to provide context, be sure to keep the essay focused on you. Admissions officers are mostly interested in learning about your lived experience, not anyone else’s.

When I was a baby, my grandmother took me in, even though that meant postponing her retirement and continuing to work full-time at the local hairdresser. Even working every shift she could, she never missed a single school play or soccer game.

She and I had a really special bond, even creating our own special language to leave each other secret notes and messages. She always pushed me to succeed in school, and celebrated every academic achievement like it was worthy of a Nobel Prize. Every month, any leftover tip money she received at work went to a special 509 savings plan for my college education.

When I was in the 10th grade, my grandmother was diagnosed with ALS. We didn’t have health insurance, and what began with quitting soccer eventually led to dropping out of school as her condition worsened. In between her doctor’s appointments, keeping the house tidy, and keeping her comfortable, I took advantage of those few free moments to study for the GED.

In school pictures at Raleigh Elementary School, you could immediately spot me as “that Asian girl.” At lunch, I used to bring leftover fun see noodles, but after my classmates remarked how they smelled disgusting, I begged my mom to make a “regular” lunch of sliced bread, mayonnaise, and deli meat.

Although born and raised in North Carolina, I felt a cultural obligation to learn my “mother tongue” and reconnect with my “homeland.” After two years of all-day Saturday Chinese school, I finally visited Beijing for the first time, expecting I would finally belong. While my face initially assured locals of my Chinese identity, the moment I spoke, my cover was blown. My Chinese was littered with tonal errors, and I was instantly labeled as an “ABC,” American-born Chinese.

I felt culturally homeless.

Speak from your own experience

Highlight your actions, difficulties, and feelings rather than comparing yourself to others. While it may be tempting to write about how you have been more or less fortunate than those around you, keep the focus on you and your unique experiences, as shown below.

I began to despair when the FAFSA website once again filled with red error messages.

I had been at the local library for hours and hadn’t even been able to finish the form, much less the other to-do items for my application.

I am the first person in my family to even consider going to college. My parents work two jobs each, but even then, it’s sometimes very hard to make ends meet. Rather than playing soccer or competing in speech and debate, I help my family by taking care of my younger siblings after school and on the weekends.

“We only speak one language here. Speak proper English!” roared a store owner when I had attempted to buy bread and accidentally used the wrong preposition.

In middle school, I had relentlessly studied English grammar textbooks and received the highest marks.

Leaving Seoul was hard, but living in West Orange, New Jersey was much harder一especially navigating everyday communication with Americans.

After sharing relevant personal stories, make sure to provide insight into how your lived experience has influenced your perspective, activities, and goals. You should also explain how your background led you to apply to this university and why you’re a good fit.

Include your outlook, actions, and goals

Conclude your essay with an insight about how your background or identity has affected your outlook, actions, and goals. You should include specific actions and activities that you have done as a result of your insight.

One night, before the midnight premiere of Avengers: Endgame , I stopped by my best friend Maria’s house. Her mother prepared tamales, churros, and Mexican hot chocolate, packing them all neatly in an Igloo lunch box. As we sat in the line snaking around the AMC theater, I thought back to when Maria and I took salsa classes together and when we belted out Selena’s “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” at karaoke. In that moment, as I munched on a chicken tamale, I realized how much I admired the beauty, complexity, and joy in Maria’s culture but had suppressed and devalued my own.

The following semester, I joined Model UN. Since then, I have learned how to proudly represent other countries and have gained cultural perspectives other than my own. I now understand that all cultures, including my own, are equal. I still struggle with small triggers, like when I go through airport security and feel a suspicious glance toward me, or when I feel self-conscious for bringing kabsa to school lunch. But in the future, I hope to study and work in international relations to continue learning about other cultures and impart a positive impression of Saudi culture to the world.

The smell of the early morning dew and the welcoming whinnies of my family’s horses are some of my most treasured childhood memories. To this day, our farm remains so rural that we do not have broadband access, and we’re too far away from the closest town for the postal service to reach us.

Going to school regularly was always a struggle: between the unceasing demands of the farm and our lack of connectivity, it was hard to keep up with my studies. Despite being a voracious reader, avid amateur chemist, and active participant in the classroom, emergencies and unforeseen events at the farm meant that I had a lot of unexcused absences.

Although it had challenges, my upbringing taught me resilience, the value of hard work, and the importance of family. Staying up all night to watch a foal being born, successfully saving the animals from a minor fire, and finding ways to soothe a nervous mare afraid of thunder have led to an unbreakable family bond.

Our farm is my family’s birthright and our livelihood, and I am eager to learn how to ensure the farm’s financial and technological success for future generations. In college, I am looking forward to joining a chapter of Future Farmers of America and studying agricultural business to carry my family’s legacy forward.

Tailor your answer to the university

After explaining how your identity or background will enrich the university’s existing student body, you can mention the university organizations, groups, or courses in which you’re interested.

Maybe a larger public school setting will allow you to broaden your community, or a small liberal arts college has a specialized program that will give you space to discover your voice and identity. Perhaps this particular university has an active affinity group you’d like to join.

Demonstrating how a university’s specific programs or clubs are relevant to you can show that you’ve done your research and would be a great addition to the university.

At the University of Michigan Engineering, I want to study engineering not only to emulate my mother’s achievements and strength, but also to forge my own path as an engineer with disabilities. I appreciate the University of Michigan’s long-standing dedication to supporting students with disabilities in ways ranging from accessible housing to assistive technology. At the University of Michigan Engineering, I want to receive a top-notch education and use it to inspire others to strive for their best, regardless of their circumstances.

If you want to know more about academic writing , effective communication , or parts of speech , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

Academic writing

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In addition to your main college essay , some schools and scholarships may ask for a supplementary essay focused on an aspect of your identity or background. This is sometimes called a diversity essay .

Many universities believe a student body composed of different perspectives, beliefs, identities, and backgrounds will enhance the campus learning and community experience.

Admissions officers are interested in hearing about how your unique background, identity, beliefs, culture, or characteristics will enrich the campus community, which is why they assign a diversity essay .

To write an effective diversity essay , include vulnerable, authentic stories about your unique identity, background, or perspective. Provide insight into how your lived experience has influenced your outlook, activities, and goals. If relevant, you should also mention how your background has led you to apply for this university and why you’re a good fit.

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Courault, K. (2023, May 31). How to Write a Diversity Essay | Tips & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/college-essay/diversity-essay/

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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:

Introduction 

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.

Conclusion 

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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Cultural Diversity Essay & Community Essay Examples

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If you’ve started to research college application requirements for the schools on your list, you might have come across the “cultural diversity essay.” In this guide, we’ll explore the cultural diversity essay in depth. We will compare the cultural diversity essay to the community essay and discuss how to approach these kinds of supplements. We’ll also provide examples of diversity essays and community essay examples. But first, let’s discuss exactly what a cultural diversity essay is. 

The purpose of the cultural diversity essay in college applications is to show the admissions committee what makes you unique. The cultural diversity essay also lets you describe what type of “ diversity ” you would bring to campus.

We’ll also highlight a diversity essay sample for three college applications. These include the Georgetown application essay , Rice application essay , and Williams application essay . We’ll provide examples of diversity essays for each college. Then, for each of these college essays that worked, we will analyze their strengths to help you craft your own essays. 

Finally, we’ll give you some tips on how to write a cultural diversity essay that will make your applications shine. 

But first, let’s explore the types of college essays you might encounter on your college applications. 

Types of College Essays

cultural diversity essay

College application requirements will differ among schools. However, you’ll submit one piece of writing to nearly every school on your list—the personal statement . A strong personal statement can help you stand out in the admissions process. 

So, how do you know what to write about? That depends on the type of college essay included in your college application requirements. 

There are a few main types of college essays that you might encounter in the college admissions process. Theese include the “Why School ” essay, the “Why Major ” essay, and the extracurricular activity essay. This also includes the type of essay we will focus on in this guide—the cultural diversity essay. 

“Why School” essay

The “Why School ” essay is exactly what it sounds like. For this type of college essay, you’ll need to underscore why you want to go to this particular school. 

However, don’t make the mistake of just listing off what you like about the school. Additionally, don’t just reiterate information you can find on their admissions website. Instead, you’ll want to make connections between what the school offers and how you are a great fit for that college community. 

“Why Major” essay

The idea behind the “Why Major ” essay is similar to that of the “Why School ” essay above. However, instead of writing about the school at large, this essay should highlight why you plan to study your chosen major.

There are plenty of directions you could take with this type of essay. For instance, you might describe how you chose this major, what career you plan to pursue upon graduation, or other details.

Extracurricular Activity essay

The extracurricular activity essay asks you to elaborate on one of the activities that you participated in outside of the classroom. 

For this type of college essay, you’ll need to select an extracurricular activity that you pursued while you were in high school. Bonus points if you can tie your extracurricular activity into your future major, career goals, or other extracurricular activities for college. Overall, your extracurricular activity essay should go beyond your activities list. In doing so, it should highlight why your chosen activity matters to you.

Cultural Diversity essay

The cultural diversity essay is your chance to expound upon diversity in all its forms. Before you write your cultural diversity essay, you should ask yourself some key questions. These questions can include: How will you bring diversity to your future college campus? What unique perspective do you bring to the table? 

Another sub-category of the cultural diversity essay is the gender diversity essay. As its name suggests, this essay would center around the author’s gender. This essay would highlight how gender shapes the way the writer understands the world around them. 

Later, we’ll look at examples of diversity essays and other college essays that worked. But before we do, let’s figure out how to identify a cultural diversity essay in the first place. 

How to identify a ‘cultural diversity’ essay

cultural diversity essay

So, you’re wondering how you’ll be able to identify a cultural diversity essay as you review your college application requirements. 

Aside from the major giveaway of having the word “diversity” in the prompt, a cultural diversity essay will ask you to describe what makes you different from other applicants. In other words, what aspects of your unique culture(s) have influenced your perspective and shaped you into who you are today?

Diversity can refer to race, ethnicity, first-generation status, gender, or anything in between. You can write about a myriad of things in a cultural diversity essay. For instance, you might discuss your personal background, identity, values, experiences, or how you’ve overcome challenges in your life. 

However, don’t feel limited in what you can address in a cultural diversity essay. The words “culture” and “diversity” mean different things to different people. Above all, you’ll want your diversity essays for college to be personal and sincere. 

How is a ‘community’ essay different? 

cultural diversity essay

A community essay can also be considered a cultural diversity essay. In fact, you can think of the community essay as a subcategory of the cultural diversity essay. However, there is a key difference between a community essay and a cultural diversity essay, which we will illustrate below. 

You might have already seen some community essay examples while you were researching college application requirements. But how exactly is a community essay different from a cultural diversity essay?

One way to tell the difference between community essay examples and cultural diversity essay examples is by the prompt. A community essay will highlight, well, community . This means it will focus on how your identity will shape your interactions on campus—not just how it informs your own experiences.

Two common forms to look out for

Community essay examples can take two forms. First, you’ll find community essay examples about your past experiences. These let you show the admissions team how you have positively influenced your own community. 

Other community essay examples, however, will focus on the future. These community essay examples will ask you to detail how you will contribute to your future college community. We refer to these as college community essay examples.

In college community essay examples, you’ll see applicants detail how they might interact with their fellow students. These essays may also discuss how students plan to positively contribute to the campus community. 

As we mentioned above, the community essay, along with community essay examples and college community essay examples, fit into the larger category of the cultural diversity essay. Although we do not have specific community essay examples or college community essay examples in this guide, we will continue to highlight the subtle differences between the two. 

Before we continue the discussion of community essay examples and college community essay examples, let’s start with some examples of cultural diversity essay prompts. For each of the cultural diversity essay prompts, we’ll name the institutions that include these diversity essays for college as part of their college application requirements. 

What are some examples of ‘cultural diversity’ essays? 

Now, you have a better understanding of the similarities and differences between the cultural diversity essay and the community essay. So, next, let’s look at some examples of cultural diversity essay prompts.

The prompts below are from the Georgetown application, Rice application, and Williams application, respectively. As we discuss the similarities and differences between prompts, remember the framework we provided above for what constitutes a cultural diversity essay and a community essay. 

Later in this guide, we’ll provide real examples of diversity essays, including Georgetown essay examples, Rice University essay examples, and Williams supplemental essays examples. These are all considered college essays that worked—meaning that the author was accepted into that particular institution. 

Georgetown Supplementals Essays

cultural diversity essay

Later, we’ll look at Georgetown supplemental essay examples. Diversity essays for Georgetown are a product of this prompt: 

As Georgetown is a diverse community, the Admissions Committee would like to know more about you in your own words. Please submit a brief essay, either personal or creative, which you feel best describes you. 

You might have noticed two keywords in this prompt right away: “diverse” and “community.” These buzzwords indicate that this prompt is a cultural diversity essay. You could even argue that responses to this prompt would result in college community essay examples. After all, the prompt refers to the Georgetown community. 

For this prompt, you’ll want to produce a diversity essay sample that highlights who you are. In order to do that successfully, you’ll need to self-reflect before putting pen to paper. What aspects of your background, personality, or values best describe who you are? How might your presence at Georgetown influence or contribute to their diverse community? 

Additionally, this cultural diversity essay can be personal or creative. So, you have more flexibility with the Georgetown supplemental essays than with other similar diversity essay prompts. Depending on the direction you go, your response to this prompt could be considered a cultural diversity essay, gender diversity essay, or a college community essay. 

Rice University Essays

cultural diversity essay

The current Rice acceptance rate is just 9% , making it a highly selective school. Because the Rice acceptance rate is so low, your personal statement and supplemental essays can make a huge difference. 

The Rice University essay examples we’ll provide below are based on this prompt: 

The quality of Rice’s academic life and the Residential College System are heavily influenced by the unique life experiences and cultural traditions each student brings. What personal perspective would you contribute to life at Rice? 

Breaking down the prompt.

Like the prompt above, this cultural diversity essay asks about your “life experiences,” “cultural traditions,” and personal “perspectives.” These phrases indicate a cultural diversity essay. Keep in mind this may not be the exact prompt you’ll have to answer in your own Rice application. However, future Rice prompts will likely follow a similar framework as this diversity essay sample.

Although this prompt is not as flexible as the Georgetown prompt, it does let you discuss aspects of Rice’s academic life and Residential College System that appeal to you. You can also highlight how your experiences have influenced your personal perspective. 

The prompt also asks about how you would contribute to life at Rice. So, your response could also fall in line with college community essay examples. Remember, college community essay examples are another sub-category of community essay examples. Successful college community essay examples will illustrate the ways in which students would contribute to their future campus community. 

Williams Supplemental Essays

cultural diversity essay

Like the Rice acceptance rate, the Williams acceptance rate is also 9% . Because the Williams acceptance rate is so low, you’ll want to pay close attention to the Williams supplemental essays examples as you begin the writing process. 

The Williams supplemental essays examples below are based on this prompt: 

Every first-year student at Williams lives in an Entry – a thoughtfully constructed microcosm of the student community that’s a defining part of the Williams experience. From the moment they arrive, students find themselves in what’s likely the most diverse collection of backgrounds, perspectives, and interests they’ve ever encountered. What might differentiate you from the 19 other first-year students in an Entry? What perspective would you add to the conversation with your peer(s)?

Reflecting on the prompt.

Immediately, words like “diverse,” “backgrounds,” “perspectives,” “interests,” and “differentiate” should stand out to you. These keywords highlight the fact that this is a cultural diversity essay. Similar to the Rice essay, this may not be the exact prompt you’ll face on your Williams application. However, we can still learn from it.

Like the Georgetown essay, this prompt requires you to put in some self-reflection before you start writing. What aspects of your background differentiate you from other people? How would these differences impact your interactions with peers? 

This prompt also touches on the “student community” and how you would “add to the conversation with your peer(s).” By extension, any strong responses to this prompt could also be considered as college community essay examples. 

Community Essays

All of the prompts above mention campus community. So, you could argue that they are also examples of community essays. 

Like we mentioned above, you can think of community essays as a subcategory of the cultural diversity essay. If the prompt alludes to the campus community, or if your response is centered on how you would interact within that community, your essay likely falls into the world of college community essay examples. 

Regardless of what you would classify the essay as, all successful essays will be thoughtful, personal, and rich with details. We’ll show you examples of this in our “college essays that worked” section below. 

Which schools require a cultural diversity or community essay? 

Besides Georgetown, Rice, and Williams, many other college applications require a cultural diversity essay or community essay. In fact, from the Ivy League to HBCUs and state schools, the cultural diversity essay is a staple across college applications. 

Although we will not provide a diversity essay sample for each of the colleges below, it is helpful to read the prompts. This will build your familiarity with other college applications that require a cultural diversity essay or community essay. Some schools that require a cultural diversity essay or community essay include New York University , Duke University , Harvard University , Johns Hopkins University , and University of Michigan . 

New York University

cultural diversity essay

NYU listed a cultural diversity essay as part of its 2022-2023 college application requirements. Here is the prompt:

NYU was founded on the belief that a student’s identity should not dictate the ability for them to access higher education. That sense of opportunity for all students, of all backgrounds, remains a part of who we are today and a critical part of what makes us a world class university. Our community embraces diversity, in all its forms, as a cornerstone of the NYU experience. We would like to better understand how your experiences would help us to shape and grow our diverse community.

Duke university.

cultural diversity essay

Duke is well-known for its community essay: 

What is your sense of Duke as a university and a community, and why do you consider it a good match for you? If there’s something in particular about our offerings that attracts you, feel free to share that as well.

cultural diversity essay

A top-ranked Ivy League institution, Harvard University also has a cultural diversity essay as part of its college application requirements: 

Harvard has long recognized the importance of student body diversity of all kinds. We welcome you to write about distinctive aspects of your background, personal development, or the intellectual interests you might bring to your Harvard classmates.

Johns hopkins university.

cultural diversity essay

The Johns Hopkins supplement is another example of a cultural diversity essay: 

Founded in the spirit of exploration and discovery, Johns Hopkins University encourages students to share their perspectives, develop their interests, and pursue new experiences. Use this space to share something you’d like the admissions committee to know about you (your interests, your background, your identity, or your community), and how it has shaped what you want to get out of your college experience at Hopkins. 

University of michigan.

cultural diversity essay

The University of Michigan requires a community essay for its application: 

Everyone belongs to many different communities and/or groups defined by (among other things) shared geography, religion, ethnicity, income, cuisine, interest, race, ideology, or intellectual heritage. Choose one of the communities to which you belong and describe that community and your place within it. 

Community essay examples.

The Duke and Michigan prompts are perfect illustrations of community essay examples. However, they have some critical differences. So, if you apply to both of these schools, you’ll have to change the way you approach either of these community essays. 

The Duke prompt asks you to highlight why you are a good match for the Duke community. You’ll also see this prompt in other community essay examples. To write a successful response to this prompt, you’ll need to reference offerings specific to Duke (or whichever college requires this essay). In order to know what to reference, you’ll need to do your research before you start writing. 

Consider the following questions as you write your diversity essay sample if the prompt is similar to Duke University’s

  • What values does this college community have? 
  • How do these tie in with what you value? 
  • Is there something that this college offers that matches your interests, personality, or background?  

On the other hand, the Michigan essay prompt asks you to describe a community that you belong to as well as your place within that community. This is another variation of the prompt for community essay examples. 

To write a successful response to this prompt, you’ll need to identify a community that you belong to. Then, you’ll need to think critically about how you interact with that community. 

Below are some questions to consider as you write your diversity essay sample for colleges like Michigan: 

  • Out of all the communities you belong to, which can you highlight in your response? 
  • How have you impacted this community? 
  • How has this community impacted you?

Now, in the next few sections, we’ll dive into the Georgetown supplemental essay examples, the Rice university essay examples, and the Williams supplemental essays examples. After each diversity essay sample, we’ll include a breakdown of why these are considered college essays that worked. 

Georgetown Essay Examples

cultural diversity essay

As a reminder, the Georgetown essay examples respond to this prompt: 

As Georgetown is a diverse community, the Admissions Committee would like to know more about you in your own words. Please submit a brief essay, either personal or creative, which you feel best describes you.

Here is the excerpt of the diversity essay sample from our Georgetown essay examples: 

Georgetown University Essay Example

The best thing I ever did was skip eight days of school in a row. Despite the protests of teachers over missed class time, I told them that the world is my classroom. The lessons I remember most are those that took place during my annual family vacation to coastal Maine. That rural world is the most authentic and incredible classroom where learning simply happens and becomes exponential. 

Years ago, as I hunted through the rocks and seaweed for seaglass and mussels, I befriended a Maine local hauling her battered kayak on the shore. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, I had found a kindred spirit in Jeanne. Jeanne is a year-round resident who is more than the hard working, rugged Mainer that meets the eye; reserved and humble in nature, she is a wealth of knowledge and is self-taught through necessity. With thoughtful attention to detail, I engineered a primitive ramp made of driftwood and a pulley system to haul her kayak up the cliff. We diligently figured out complex problems and developed solutions through trial and error.

After running out of conventional materials, I recycled and reimagined items that had washed ashore. We expected to succeed, but were not afraid to fail. Working with Jeanne has been the best classroom in the world; without textbooks or technology, she has made a difference in my life. Whether building a basic irrigation system for her organic garden or installing solar panels to harness the sun’s energy, every project has shown me the value of taking action and making an impact. Each year brings a different project with new excitement and unique challenges. My resourcefulness, problem solving ability, and innovative thinking have advanced under her tutelage. 

While exploring the rocky coast of Maine, I embrace every experience as an unparalleled educational opportunity that transcends any classroom environment. I discovered that firsthand experience and real-world application of science are my best teachers. In school, applications of complex calculations and abstract theories are sometimes obscured by grades and structure. In Maine, I expand my love of science and renourish my curious spirit. I am a highly independent, frugal, resilient Mainer living as a southern girl in NC. 

Why this essay worked

This is one of the Georgetown supplemental essay examples that works, and here’s why. The author starts the essay with an interesting hook, which makes the reader want to learn more about this person and their perspective. 

Throughout the essay, the author illustrates their intellectual curiosity. From befriending Jeanne and creating a pulley system to engineering other projects on the rocky coast of Maine, the author demonstrates how they welcome challenges and work to solve problems. 

Further, the author mentions values that matter to them—taking action and making an impact. Both facets are also part of Georgetown’s core values . By making these connections in their essay, the author shows the admissions committee exactly how they would be a great fit for the Georgetown community. 

Finally, the author uses their experience in Maine to showcase their love of science, which is likely the field they will study at Georgetown. Like this writer, you should try to include most important parts of your identity into your essay. This includes things like life experiences, passions, majors, extracurricular activities for college, and more. 

Rice University Essay Examples

cultural diversity essay

The Rice University essay examples are from this prompt: 

The quality of Rice’s academic life and the Residential College System are heavily influenced by the unique life experiences and cultural traditions each student brings. What personal perspective would you contribute to life at Rice? (500-word limit)

Rice university essay example.

Like every applicant, I also have a story to share. A story that makes me who I am and consists of chapters about my life experiences and adventures. Having been born in a different country, my journey to America was one of the most difficult things I had ever experienced. Everything felt different. The atmosphere, the places, the food, and especially the people. Everywhere I looked, I saw something new. Although it was a bit overwhelming, one thing had not changed.

The caring nature of the people was still prevalent in everyday interactions. I was overwhelmed by how supportive and understanding people were of one another. Whether it is race, religion, or culture, everyone was accepted and appreciated. I knew that I could be whoever I wanted to be and that the only limitation was my imagination. Through hard work and persistence I put my all in everything that I did. I get this work ethic from my father since he is living proof that anything can be accomplished with continued determination. Listening to the childhood stories he told me, my dad would reminisce about how he was born in an impoverished area in a third world country during a turbulent and unpredictable time.

Even with a passion for learning, he had to work a laborious job in an attempt to help his parents make ends meet. He talked about how he would study under the street lights when the power went out at home. His parents wanted something better for him, as did he. Not living in America changed nothing about their work ethic. His parents continued to work hard daily, in an attempt to provide for their son. My dad worked and studied countless hours, paying his way through school with jobs and scholarships. His efforts paid off when he finally moved to America and opened his own business. None of it would have been possible without tremendous effort and dedication needed for a better life, values that are instilled within me as well, and this is the perspective that I wish to bring to Rice. 

This diversity essay sample references the author’s unique life experiences and personal perspective, which makes it one example of college essays that worked. The author begins the essay by alluding to their unique story—they were born in a different country and then came to America. Instead of facing this change as a challenge, the author shows how this new experience helped them to feel comfortable with all kinds of people. They also highlight how their diversity was accepted and appreciated. 

Additionally, the author incorporates information about their father’s story, which helps to frame their own values and where those values came from. The values that they chose to highlight also fall in line with the values of the Rice community. 

Williams Supplemental Essay Examples

cultural diversity essay

Let’s read the prompt that inspired so many strong Williams supplemental essays examples again: 

Every first-year student at Williams lives in an Entry—a thoughtfully constructed microcosm of the student community that’s a defining part of the Williams experience. From the moment they arrive, students find themselves in what’s likely the most diverse collection of backgrounds, perspectives and interests they’ve ever encountered. What might differentiate you from the 19 other first-year students in an entry? What perspective(s) would you add to the conversation with your peers?

Williams college essay example.

Through the flow in my head

See you clad in red

But not just the clothes

It’s your whole being

Covering in this sickening blanket

Of heat and pain

Are you in agony, I wonder?

Is this the hell they told me about?

Have we been condemned?

Reduced to nothing but pain

At least we have each other

In our envelopes of crimson

I try in vain

“Take my hands” I shriek

“Let’s protect each other, 

You and me, through this hell”

My body contorts

And deforms into nothingness

You remain the same

Clad in red

With faraway eyes

You, like a statue

Your eyes fixed somewhere else

You never see me

Just the red briefcase in your heart

We aren’t together

It’s always been me alone

While you stand there, aloof, with the briefcase in your heart.

I wrote this poem the day my prayer request for the Uighur Muslims got denied at school. At the time, I was stunned. I was taught to have empathy for those around me. Yet, that empathy disappears when told to extend it to someone different. I can’t comprehend this contradiction and I refuse to. 

At Williams, I hope to become a Community Engagement Fellow at the Davis Center. I hope to use Williams’ support for social justice and advocacy to educate my fellow classmates on social issues around the world. Williams students are not just scholars but also leaders and changemakers. Together, we can strive to better the world through advocacy.

Human’s capability for love is endless. We just need to open our hearts to everyone. 

It’s time to let the briefcase go and look at those around us with our real human eyes.

We see you now. Please forgive us.

As we mentioned above, the Williams acceptance rate is incredibly low. This makes the supplemental essay that much more important. 

This diversity essay sample works because it is personal and memorable. The author chooses to start the essay off with a poem. Which, if done right, will immediately grab the reader’s attention. 

Further, the author contextualizes the poem by explaining the circumstances surrounding it—they wrote it in response to a prayer request that was denied at school. In doing so, they also highlight their own values of empathy and embracing diversity. 

Finally, the author ends their cultural diversity essay by describing what excites them about Williams. They also discuss how they see themselves interacting within the Williams community. This is a key piece of the essay, as it helps the reader understand how the author would be a good fit for Williams. 

The examples provided within this essay also touch on issues that are important to the author, which provides a glimpse into the type of student the author would be on campus. Additionally, this response shows what potential extracurricular activities for college the author might be interested in pursuing while at Williams. 

How to Write a Cultural Diversity Essay

You want your diversity essay to stand out from any other diversity essay sample. But how do you write a successful cultural diversity essay? 

First, consider what pieces of your identity you want to highlight in your essay. Of course, race and ethnicity are important facets of diversity. However, there are plenty of other factors to consider. 

As you brainstorm, think outside the box to figure out what aspects of your identity help make up who you are. Because identity and diversity fall on a spectrum, there is no right or wrong answer here. 

Fit your ideas to the specific school

Once you’ve decided on what you want to represent in your cultural diversity essay, think about how that fits into the college of your choice. Use your cultural diversity essay to make connections to the school. If your college has specific values or programs that align with your identity, then include them in your cultural diversity essay! 

Above all, you should write about something that is important to you. Your cultural diversity essay, gender diversity essay, or community essay will succeed if you are passionate about your topic and willing to get personal. 

Additional Tips for Community & Cultural Diversity Essays

cultural diversity essay

1. Start Early

In order to create the strongest diversity essay possible, you’ll want to start early. Filling out college applications is already a time-consuming process. So, you can cut back on additional stress and anxiety by writing your cultural diversity essay as early as possible. 

2. Brainstorm

Writing a cultural diversity essay or community essay is a personal process. To set yourself up for success, take time to brainstorm and reflect on your topic. Overall, you want your cultural diversity essay to be a good indication of who you are and what makes you a unique applicant. 

3. Proofread

We can’t stress this final tip enough. Be sure to proofread your cultural diversity essay before you hit the submit button. Additionally, you can read your essay aloud to hear how it flows. You can also can ask someone you trust, like your college advisor or a teacher, to help proofread your essay as well.

Other CollegeAdvisor Essay Resources to Explore

Looking for additional resources on supplemental essays for the colleges we mentioned above? Do you need help with incorporating extracurricular activities for college into your essays or crafting a strong diversity essay sample? We’ve got you covered. 

Our how to get into Georgetown guide covers additional tips on how to approach the supplemental diversity essay. If you’re wondering how to write about community in your essay, check out our campus community article for an insider’s perspective on Williams College.

Want to learn strategies for writing compelling cultural diversity essays? Check out this Q&A webinar, featuring a former Georgetown admissions officer. And, if you’re still unsure of what to highlight in your community essay, try getting inspiration from a virtual college tour . 

Cultural Diversity Essay & Community Essay Examples – Final Thoughts

Your supplemental essays are an important piece of the college application puzzle. With colleges becoming more competitive than ever, you’ll want to do everything you can to create a strong candidate profile. This includes writing well-crafted responses for a cultural diversity essay, gender diversity essay, or community essay. 

We hope our cultural diversity essay guide helped you learn more about this common type of supplemental essay. As you are writing your own cultural diversity essay or community essay, use the essay examples from Georgetown, Rice, and Williams above as your guide. 

Getting into top schools takes a lot more than a strong resume. Writing specific, thoughtful, and personal responses for a cultural diversity essay, gender diversity essay, or community essay will put you one step closer to maximizing your chances of admission. Good luck!

CollegeAdvisor.com is here to help you with every aspect of the college admissions process. From taking a gap year to completing enrollment , we’re here to help. Register today to receive one-on-one support from an admissions expert as you begin your college application journey.

cultural identity essay example

This essay guide was written by senior advisor, Claire Babbs . Looking for more admissions support? Click here to schedule a free meeting with one of our Admissions Specialists. During your meeting, our team will discuss your profile and help you find targeted ways to increase your admissions odds at top schools. We’ll also answer any questions and discuss how CollegeAdvisor.com can support you in the college application process.

cultural identity essay example

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How to Write a Cultural Identity Essay With Tips and Examples

14 July 2023

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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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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 . 

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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 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?

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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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Home — Essay Samples — Sociology — Cultural Identity — I Am Proud of My Cultural Identity

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I Am Proud of My Cultural Identity

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  • Chen, K., Shao, A., Jin, Y., & Ng, A. (2020). I Am Proud of My National Identity and I Am superior to You: The Role of Nationalism in Knowledge and Misinformation. Available at SSRN 3758287. (https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3758287)
  • Schwartz, S. J., Zamboanga, B. L., & Weisskirch, R. S. (2008). Broadening the study of the self: Integrating the study of personal identity and cultural identity. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 2(2), 635-651. (https://compass.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1751-9004.2008.00077.x)
  • Smolicz, J. (1981). Core values and cultural identity. Ethnic and racial studies, 4(1), 75-90. (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01419870.1981.9993325?journalCode=rers20)
  • Hall, S., & Du Gay, P. (Eds.). (1996). Questions of cultural identity: SAGE Publications. Sage. (https://sk.sagepub.com/books/questions-of-cultural-identity)
  • Lucy, S. (2007). Ethnic and cultural identities. In Archaeology of Identity (pp. 96-119). Routledge. (https://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/edit/10.4324/9780203087572-10/ethnic-cultural-identities-sam-lucy)

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cultural identity essay example

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21 Cultural Identity Examples

cultural identity examples and definition, explained below

Cultural identity is a shared sense of identity within a cultural group. It is often related to race, religion, nationality and ethnicity , gender norms , beliefs, collective memory , and traditions of the culture.

The identity of a culture group is often embedded in the culture’s founding mythologies. For example, America’s founding myth of liberty from the British shapes many of its cultural features to this day, including its fierce independence and religious freedoms.

Table of Contents

Cultural Identity Definition

Cultural identity refers to the shared identity of a cultural group. Features of cultural identities include race, ethnicity, religion, gender norms, customs, and traditions.

Friedman (1994, p. 29) provides a scholarly definition:

“Cultural identity is the generic concept referring to the attribution of a set of qualities of a given population.”

According to scholar Benedict Anderson, cultural identities emerged around the time of the printing press. The spread of books and newspapers enabled the spread of cultural mythologies across large groups of people.

It is this time period when people came to see themselves as one unitary cultural group with a shared identity, despite the fact most would never meet one another.

Cultural Identity Examples

1. religion in the bible belt.

To many people, religion is central to their collective sense of self. For example, the Amish people in North America orient their lives around their fundamentalist interpretation of the bible.

Similarly, in the Bible Belt of the United States, religion is a central feature of the regional identity. Over 80% of people in the Bible Belt consider religion to be important of their lives, compared to less than 40% in the North-West of the nation.

In the late 20th Century, and continuing onto today, religion has become an increasingly less prominent feature of many Western cultural groups. Church attendance has declined and many people now openly state that they are agnostic or atheist. Nevertheless, due to its influence in the founding of many cultures, there will always be traces of religious influence in most cultural groups.

Related Article: Cultural Pluralism Vs Multiculturalism

2. Race And Ethnicity In The 20th Century

Some cultures choose to define themselves according to a particular racial makeup. Often, this can lead to tragic racial discrimination and prejudice.

For example, the German obsession with the ‘Arian’ (blue-eyed, white-skinned) ideal within Germany led to the atrocities of 1940s Europe. Similarly, in the United States, there has long been groups such who attempt to tie American identity to white-European racial identity.

However, we can also see that contemporary societies are increasingly seeing their cultural identity as multicultural where a degree of cultural pluralism is woven into the way the culture sees itself.

See Also: Ethnicity Examples

3. Gender Roles (Throughout History!)

Gender roles often vary between cultures. If you ascribe to a particular gender role from your culture, then this is an aspect of identity that you have gained from cultural immersion.

To demonstrate this, we can look at the 80 different gender identities from around the world. Some cultures even have 5 or more gender identities! For example, Indigenous people in Canada have a third gender called ‘two spirit’.

Similarly, some cultures may have different ideas about femininity and masculinity to your own. In one culture, macho men might be seen as more masculine, while in another, masculinity may be measured by intellect rather than strength.

Gender has been a central sociological concern for every different culture. The distribution of family tasked based on gender dates back as far as history. However, as different cultures relate to gender differently, we can see that it’s a facet of a person’s cultural identity.

Related Article: 17 Best Adversity Examples

4. Resilience In Immigrant Communities

It is not uncommon for immigrant communities to frame their identity around collective resilience.

The many immigrant stories, of people arriving on boats with little-to-no money, starting businesses, and thriving, contribute to a shared mythology of a resilient subcultural group within a multicultural nation.

Vietnamese-Americans, for example, arrived en masse in the United States after the Vietnam war, fleeing communism. These ardent capitalists started many businesses in the United States and enriched the whole culture, while also developing their own cultural identity as an American ethnic group while also maintaining their Vietnamese culture, hence developing a sense of transnational selves .

See Also: Multiculturalism vs Cultural Pluralism

5. Tolerance In Canada

Canada’s cultural identity is a product of its pluralistic origins. Part French-speaking, and with a substantial Indigenous population, the country has emerged as a place where people of different cultures and origins need to live together in harmony.

While Canada has a chequered past with Indigenous and Franco relations, the nation is also seen across the world as a highly multicultural, inclusive, and tolerant place.

Canada is also often framed by politicians in relation to American identity. While the two societies are very similar, Canadians will often create mythologies of how they are more social-democratic than their southern cousins.

For example, Canadian identity is often seen as gentle, polite, and tolerant.

6. The Stiff Upper Lip In Britain

During World War II, British people lived under constant threat of invasion. Collectively, the nation prided itself in proceeding under pressure without complaint.

The term ‘stiff upper lip’ was created to explain this mentality. It means to keep a brave face on in the face of adversity and to not complain, even when things are going wrong.

We commemorate the stiff upper lip of the British people with the famous 1940s poster that reads “keep calm and carry on.” This poster was placed around the streets at the time, reminding people to keep that stiff upper lip that has become part of the British cultural identity.

7. High Culture In France

France has long been considered the home of high culture. From fashion, to cuisine, to art, the country has been a trendsetter for centuries.

This is partly due to the fact that France was the center of the Western world during much of its history. The French language was also the international language of politics and diplomacy for many years.

In recent years, France has tried to protect its cultural identity from the homogenizing effects of globalization. This has led to some tension with other European nations, who see the country as being elitist and out of touch.

8. A Fair Go In Australia

In Australia, the mythology of the ‘fair go’ is used to define the nation’s cultural identity. It refers to the idea that everyone should be given a fair chance, regardless of their background or circumstances.

This philosophy is summed up in many Australian sayings (often heard from politicians) including: “fair shake of the bottle” and, from a recent Prime Minister, “if you have a go, you get a go.”

The fair go mentality underpins the nation’s sense of egalitarianism that pops up in other elements of the national identity as well. It’s a mentality that is anti-elite. For example, people even refer to the Prime Minister by his first name.

9. Liberalism In California

The cultural identity of California is extremely liberal . This is partly due to the state’s history as a haven for those fleeing persecution, such as the Mormons in the 1800s and the hippies in the 1960s.

It’s also due to the fact that California has always been at the forefront of social change in America . It was the first state to legalize gay marriage, for example.

The liberal identity of California is also reflected in its politics. The state has been a stronghold of the Democratic Party for many years.

10. Conservatism In Texas

By contrast, Texas has long been known as a conservative stronghold. The state has a strong military presence and is home to many large corporations.

This conservatism is also reflected in the state’s culture and values. For example, Texas is known for its fierce individualism and hostility to government intervention.

Similarly, it is a state with a significant rural agrarian population and a high number of conservative protestants. Both sub-groups are known to be highly conservative and embrace the rugged individualistic founding mythology of the United States of America.

11. French Language In Quebec

In the Canadian province of Quebec, the French language is an important part of the cultural identity. This is due to the historical presence of French settlers in the area, as well as the fact that Quebec is the only predominantly French-speaking province in Canada.

French Canadians are very protective of their language, aiming to protect it and preserve it because they see their language as central to their sense of cultural identity.

This has led to some tension with English-speaking Canadians, who sometimes see Quebec as a separate nation. This was most famously seen during the 1995 Quebec independence referendum when the French almost voted to succeed from the nation.

Other Examples of Cultural Identity Factors

  • Dominant Ethnicity of a Culture (e.g. African American, Hispanic, Asian)
  • Dominant Nationality of a Culture (e.g. American, Canadian, Chinese)
  • Dominant Religion of a Culture (e.g. Christian, Muslim, Jewish)
  • Gender Norms within a Culture
  • Cultural Caste Statuses
  • Geographic Location of a Culture (e.g. urban, rural)
  • Cultural Belief Systems (e.g. immigrant, first-generation, native-born)
  • Languages Spoken in a Culture (e.g. English, Spanish, Mandarin)
  • Sports, Hobbies and Interests of a Culture (e.g. Hockey in Canada)
  • Cultural Ideas about Family and Marriage

Cultural identity is an important part of who we are and how we see ourselves. It can shape our sense of belonging and give us a sense of connection to others.

Different cultures around the world have different things that they see as important to their sense of identity. This can be seen in the examples of cultural identities discussed above.

Each culture has its own unique history and values that make it what it is. These factors play a role in shaping the cultural identity of a group of people. Globalization and other external forces can also impact a culture’s identity and introduce a lot of cultural variation even within a culture and nation itself.

Friedman, J. (1994). Cultural Identity and Global Process . New York: SAGE.

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97 Cultural Identity Essay Topics & Examples

Our experts have gathered identity essay topics that you can research or discuss in a class. See the list and find the perfect title here!

🏆 Best Cultural Identity Topic Ideas & Essay Examples

💡 interesting identity essay titles, 👍 good essay topics on cultural identity, ❓ research questions about cultural identity, 💯 free cultural identity essay topic generator.

In high school or college, you might be assigned to write a cultural identity essay. Topics on the subject are quite easy to find, given that culture surrounds us everywhere we go. However, choosing one relevant idea can become an issue. Are you going to discuss an American or Canadian identity essay title? Or are you willing to talk about the history of pop culture around the globe? In either case, this article will be helpful for you.

  • Issues of Japanese Cultural Identity The other way the anime productions deal with the issues of the Japanese and their cultural identity is by presenting the aspects and ideas that define the people of Japan.
  • 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.
  • Influence of Cultural Identity the Way Middle School Students Learn The activities which students participate in and the interactions they have with peers, adults, and the physical characteristics of their learning environment all contribute to their motivation to learn and desire to engage.
  • Migration, Identity and Multiculturalism Equity in Ethnic Policy In the earlier years, discriminative policies had been enacted but the mid of the last century saw the eradication of these policies and the establishment of better ones that addressed the […]
  • Multicultural Psychology: Cultural Identity and Racism It is a branch of psychology that tries to comprehend and represent the psychology of different people, groups and organizations adequately for the purpose of equal treatment due to the fact that there is a […]
  • Social Constructionism and Its Impact on Cultural Identity in a Society Ruled by a Strong Rhetoric of Risk and Health and Safety Regulations These include social constructionism, namely the development of this theoretical framework and how it relates to the view of the self using accountability as an example; the rise of the dominant discourse on health and […]
  • 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.
  • Culture and Self: Cultural Specifics Although both authors provide a fairly detailed account of the way in which cultural background and the development of self are intertwined, the latter research seems to focus on the application of the findings related […]

  • Australia: Being a Multicultural Society It is reported the between 2000 and 2005, there was significant public concern within the country due to the role of detention centers in the country.
  • Social Identity in Social Psychology This essay shall use the movie, Grand Illusion to identify and explore three bases of group categorisation and apply social identity theories in order to explain whether the characters transcend or exposed to illusion in […]
  • Cultural Diversity in Society: Reforms to the Way a Society Is Conducted The concepts of the diversity of the US culture that are shared in this article are important as they are address different elements of a culture that are important when it comes to determining how […]
  • Cultural Differences: Individualism vs. Collectivism The understanding of the relevant cultures helps in knowing where the people around us originate. The religion types are unique to the areas where they are found and exemplify the culture of people who participate […]
  • Cultural Identity: Problems, Coping, and Outcomes The intensification of the processes of globalization, cultural integration, and expansion of contacts between representatives of different countries led to the gradual blurring of boundaries between national cultures and the loss of cultural identity.
  • African-American Cultural Identity’ and Values’ Critique Despite the high levels of discrimination, they got themselves out of the slavery of writing for the whites by mastering the Anglo-American traditions.
  • Asian Cultural Identity: Interview It will explore the individual’s definition of cultural identity, his family origin, most important cultural values, factors that contributed towards the development of cultural identity, and the interaction between the self and cultural identity.
  • Cultural Identity: the Position in Society Here, the answer is “yes, I am” and the answer to this question is quite accurate in terms of the majority of the Arabic people.
  • Racial and Cultural Identity Development Model At the stage of dissonance, a person is in a conflict between group-appreciating and depreciating within the attitude toward self as well as in a conflict between the emotions of shared experiences and group-depreciating views […]
  • 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.
  • Cultural Identity vs. Ethnic Fashion A part of the modern lifestyle that looks hip and very happening without actually understanding the real meaning of the cultural item as it pertains to the ethnicity of the person.
  • Cultural Borrowing: Ethnic Fashion Obscures Cultural Identity I write this article from the larger perspective of what kind of cultural items can be borrowed and the benefits of the same and at the same time the tendency to obviate the subtext.
  • Gendered Cultural Identity and Globalization in Canada It should be well understood that the escalation of politics of cultural identities in Canada is a result of the background of the cultural nationalism that came before it.
  • Malay Muslim Traditions and Cultural Identity First I clearly expected that it if the parents and close family members who convey the identity to their children stayed together, then the conflict between mainstream expectations in the American way of life and […]
  • Arabic Cultural Identity: Sonallah Ibrahim His writing is also a constant reminder of the failures of the governments in standing up to the expectations of the Egyptian citizens.
  • Strong Cultural Identity Importance in Amy Tan’s “Fish Cheeks” She communicates with her audience in a playful manner, with the use of rhetorical techniques such as irony and hilarious analogies, to better illustrate her point.
  • 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 Crisis of Cultural Identity of Luxembourg Due to Massive Immigration The possibility of a city-wide display exhibiting the workmanship and specialties of Luxembourg could be a method for opening the secret of the nation’s way of life. There is an incredible blend of individuals who […]
  • Art Education Preserving Ethno Cultural Identity The image presents a fantasy of how sweet their fries and chicken are, and for some reason, some customers visit the place for the first time due to the visual art available.
  • Transcending National and Cultural Identity Despite the Odds The success of Shakira in terms of her music is the first real evidence that a single individual can maintain multiple cultures and nationalities.
  • Cultural Identity and Justice in Early Learning Space One of the myths that interfere with the ability to talk about race and racism in early care and education settings is associated with the position that children do not see races.
  • Cultural Identity: “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker One of the instances of elements of life associated with identity is music. As such, blues music is not particularly popular throughout America, yet it remains a significant part and a distinctive aspect of the […]
  • What Role Does Food Play in Cultural Identity? From the point of view of cultural studies, such a model of nutrition speaks more about the absence of global roots, the absence of deep moral guidelines, and not about the convenience of the process.
  • The Influence Of Modernity And Globalization On Cultural Identity
  • The Family Tradition of Making a Huge Batch of Ravioli as a Cultural Identity
  • Cultural Identity Of The Black Native, And Their Subsequent
  • Racial Cultural Identity Developement Model
  • The Importance of Cultural Identity and Socialization in Education
  • Cultural Identity, Mobility, and Decentralization
  • Maintaining Cultural Identity in the Face of Adversity
  • The Effects Of Perceived Brand Globalness And Local Iconness On Brand Prestige And Perceived Quality: The Role Of Consumers’ Cultural Identity
  • Cultural Identity and Intercultural Communication
  • The Importance of Positive Cultural Identity
  • Changes of Cultural Identity
  • An Analysis of the Difficulties of Establishing a Cultural Identity for the United States of America
  • The Cultural Identity Within Asian Writing Systems
  • Cross-Linguistic and Cross-Cultural Identity
  • The Connection Between Food Study and Cultural Identity
  • Individuals Learn Of Cultural Identity Through The Acculturation Process
  • An Exploration of Cultural Identity in Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  • The Impact of Globalization to Cultural Identity
  • The Effects of Language Extinction on Cultural Identity in Third World Countries
  • The Harlem Renaissance and a New Cultural Identity
  • Intercultural Communications and Cultural Identity
  • Maintaining Cultural Identity In Design
  • Importance Of Cultural Identity And Diaspora
  • Multicultural Counseling and Cultural Identity Analysis
  • Meaning of Life and Australian Cultural Identity
  • Popular Music, Gender, Sexuality, and Cultural Identity
  • A Look at the Cultural Identity in The Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
  • The Influence of Cultural Identity on Willingness to Pay Values in Contingent Valuation Surveys
  • Self Awareness and Cultural Identity
  • The Era Of New And Improved Cultural Identity
  • An Interpretive Ethnographic Perspective on Negotiating and Leveraging Cross-Cultural Identity
  • The Confiscation of Cultural Identity in North America
  • The White Power Structure And Cultural Identity
  • Cultural Identity Through Local Advertisement
  • What Are The Most Important Parts Of Cultural Identity?
  • An Analysis of Cultural Identity in Genre Films
  • The Cultural Differences Between China and America
  • The Differences (or Similarities) Between Ethnic identity, Cultural identity, and Acculturation
  • Evaluating Cultural Identity Using Caryl Phillips Cambridge
  • The Formation of Nation-State and Cultural Identity: A Georgian Perspective
  • An Analysis of the Issue of Cultural Identity and the Cinematic Representation
  • Did Americans Find Their Cultural Identity on the Eve of the Revolution?
  • Do Cultural Identity and Understanding Influence Health Equity?
  • Does Heritage Impact Culture Identity?
  • Does Social Media Influence Cultural Identity?
  • How Do You Maintain Your Cultural Identity?
  • How and Why Does Culture Identity Affect the Idea of ‘Beauty’?
  • How Cultural Identity and Understanding Influence Health?
  • How Not Lose Your Cultural Identity While Living in a New Country?
  • How Does Cultural Identity Impact American Culture?
  • How Many Types of Cultural Identity Are There?
  • How Does Art Embody Cultural Identity?
  • Who Created the Cultural Identity Theory?
  • Why Is Cultural Identity Important to Us?
  • Why Is Cultural Identity Hard to Define?
  • What Defines India’s Cultural Identity?
  • What Is the Main Idea of Cultural Identity?
  • Where Does Cultural Identity Reside?
  • What Are the Most Important Parts of Your Cultural Identity?
  • What Are the Different Types of Cultural Identity?
  • What Is Cultural Identity Development?
  • What Are the Three Different Types of Identity?
  • What Are Aspects of Cultural Identity?
  • What Does Culture Identity Mean in Literature?
  • What Are the Levels of Cultural Identity?
  • What Is the Difference Between Cultural Identity and Identity?
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Essays on Cultural Identity

Your cultural identity essay should include a good full definition, to begin with. Cultural identity essays define it as an individual's belonging to a culture or cultural group, which forms a person's values and attitude towards himself, other people, society, and the world as a whole. Cultural identity in the modern era is greatly influenced by communication technologies, which contribute to the globalization of the cultural environment. According to many essays on cultural identity, the essence of cultural identity lies in the individual's conscious acceptance of certain cultural norms and patterns of behavior, values, and language, in understanding self-identification within the cultural norms of a particular society. Take advantage of our cultural identity essay samples below – only the best samples made the cut!

African Americans lack understanding of their native continent of Africa and are unable to identify with Americans, making them a new world identity. Once they arrived in America, they were unable to speak their native tongue and were forced to acquire a new language in order to communicate. It is...

Self-identity refers to an individual's capacity and potential as it manifests itself most effectively in the social setting of their interactions with other people. Finding one's unique talents entails cutting out the aspects of life that don't contribute to the self-worth of the individual. Sherman uses the example of John-John,...

An individual's assessment of who they are based on the types of people they interact with is referred to as their social identity. Interacting with a variety of people helps one develop a feeling of belonging, which develops into the idea of social identity. People often elevate the prestige of...

Words: 1286

The shared feeling of identity among Koryo people sets them apart from other people. For instance, Koryo became well-known thanks to the Myoch' 'ong revolt, which took place in the year 1135. However, the rebellion has encountered a variety of viewpoints in support of its political rather than its academic...

Due to the fact that they reflect a state's history and identity, cultural properties are of utmost significance. Theft and other illegalities involving art have grown over time as a result of the severe economic downturns in the global market for these goods. The UNESCO convention legal framework was implemented...

Words: 1891

Fulani, also known as Fula, are a West African ethnic group located primarily in Nigeria, Senegal, Gambia, Mauritania, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Ghana, Togo, and Benin. They can also be found in Central African countries such as CAR (Central African Republic) and East...

Words: 1705

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The Luo tribe is primarily found in Kenya, while some have settled in adjacent countries such as Uganda, Tanzania, Sudan, Congo, and Ethiopia. einsteinerupload of (Philip et al. 242). They moved 500 years ago and are mostly found around Lake Victoria. The Luo community, like other indigenous communities, has distinct...

Words: 1795

India's ability to have an impact on business and culture around the world is demonstrated by the fact that it has one of the greatest economies in the world. India's political and economic reforms over the years are to thank for its alluring economic and cultural identity. According to statistics,...

Words: 4527

There isn't an Asian American experience that lacks a perspective or even an identity—the majority of Asian Americans attending academic high schools certainly have a method of displaying it. In my situation, I'll rely on the perception that Asian pupils are intelligent in the classroom. Some Asian American students have...

Words: 1147

In this piece, Yamanouchi investigates the cultural identity of Sydney's south-western aboriginal population. The places where indigenous people spend the majority of their daily lives and time are referred to in the article as south-western Sydney. The conclusions are drawn by the author using data from a study carried out...

Words: 1027

Cultural identity may take many different forms, and the Korean community is proud of its martial arts prowess. In most of Asia, Taekwondo is revered and actively practiced. This technique has spread throughout the rest of the world, and most educational institutions permit its use. It is easy to comprehend...

Words: 5354

The native Americas consisted of the original settlers of Northeast Asia. Other cultures have struggled to observe and recognize their national identity, and this has contributed to a historic twist and the beginning of modern America. Present America has undergone some serious change from the original native American culture. Many...

Words: 1404

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Cultural   Identity  can be most basically described as a sense of belonging within a group. It is formed due to companionship based on the same traditions, beliefs, social structures and languages.  Cultural   identity  is specific for every person and isn’t universally the same. In conjunction with this when an individual migrates or is removed from a community a person’s mental and physical health can be negatively affected due to a lost sense of self and belonging. These concepts are depicted in the documentary ‘Crossing the Line’ as a consequence of the Aboriginal People’s loss of  cultural  norms, religious customs and having to adjust to a new culture, thus changing their sense of self and  identity .  Cultural   identity  is an important factor for health care professionals to consider as culturally sensitive practices need to be carried out to ensure every individual is attended to appropriately, continues to seek support and is encouraged to maintain good health.

Sensitivity and understanding of an individual’s  cultural   identity  is crucial when working as a health care professional. Despite the typical socio-economic problems involved in health inequalities the impact of a lack of understanding and sensitivity towards a person’s  cultural   identity  and health need to be considered also. This issue is presented in ‘Crossing the Line’ when one of the medicine students, Paul attempted to talk to a group of Aboriginal students about mental health and suicide. However traditionally it isn’t culturally like the Aboriginal’s to discuss health as their health is more connected to their land. His supervisor then confronts Paul, as he wasn’t aware that discussions based around mental health aren’t encouraged in aboriginal communities. I believe his naïve actions made him look insensitive and somewhat ignorant towards the Aboriginal people’s  cultural  norms although he thought he was helping because discussion about mental health is encouraged in his culture. When working as a health professional  cultural  sensitivity and awareness is needed, as healthcare in relation to  cultural   identity  isn’t the same for everyone. Likewise despite the students in the documentary feeling the circumstances in which the Aboriginal People’s lived in to be unlivable these conditions are significant to their  cultural   identity  and removing them from their land may have a negative impact on their wellbeing. This is due to a lost sense of self and belonging. If I found myself in a similar situation as a health professional where I wasn’t used to the living situation’s of my patients I would ensure that I become properly educated on the  cultural  behaviours of the people I am dealing with and respect these aspects to ensure they feel safe and connected to.

In addition to sensitivity and understanding of an individual’s  cultural   identity , a loss of  cultural   identity  is depicted in the documentary. During European settlement many Aboriginal people had their  cultural  identities distorted and replaced with a more Western  identity  introduced by the missions. In the documentary an Aboriginal Elder discusses the influence of living in the missionaries after European settlement. The woman talks about believing in God, an aspect of her  cultural   identity passed on by the missionaries. This shows that being brought up i

In addition to sensitivity and understanding of an individual’s  cultural   identity , a loss of  cultural   identity  is depicted in the documentary. During European settlement many Aboriginal people had their  cultural  identities distorted and replaced with a more Western  identity  introduced by the missions. In the documentary an Aboriginal Elder discusses the influence of living in the missionaries after European settlement. The woman talks about believing in God, an aspect of her  cultural   identity passed on by the missionaries. This shows that being brought up in the Missions was crucial in shaping her  cultural   identity  as her initial  cultural   identity  was disrupted. She also discusses the impact of not having the Missionaries in the community anymore. As the original  cultural  identities and social norms were replaced once the missions left no one was able to provide structure and help continue to shape the younger generations of Aboriginal people’s identities. In support of this the elder states “These days without a mission, parents can’t take care of their kids”. I think this is shown to influence the health of the Aboriginal children particularly as they are often wounded or ill and needing to by attended to by the health professionals as they receive minimal care at home., Evidently there is a link between positive  cultural   identity  and surrounding support systems and the maintenance of good health. When working as a health professional understanding that some Aboriginal people in particular may have a loss of  cultural   identity  is essential as it can be an underlying reason for poor health maintenance.

To conclude  cultural   identity  is a crucial element to a person’s health. This is because a person’s religious views, social behaviours and traditions often influence their approach to health and healthcare. Prior to watching ‘Crossing the line’ I was unaware that  cultural   identity  influenced people’s attitudes towards health, an example of this being the differences in approaches to mental health between the medical student and the Aboriginal Australians. I am conscious now that health care is not a “one size fits all” subject and health professionals need to be sensitive to each individual’s  cultural   identity  and specific needs regarding it.

n the Missions was crucial in shaping her  cultural   identity  as her initial  cultural   identity  was disrupted. She also discusses the impact of not having the Missionaries in the community anymore. As the original  cultural  identities and social norms were replaced once the missions left no one was able to provide structure and help continue to shape the younger generations of Aboriginal people’s identities. In support of this the elder states “These days without a mission, parents can’t take care of their kids”. I think this is shown to influence the health of the Aboriginal children particularly as they are often wounded or ill and needing to by attended to by the health professionals as they receive minimal care at home., Evidently there is a link between positive  cultural   identity  and surrounding support systems and the maintenance of good health. When working as a health professional understanding that some Aboriginal people in particular may have a loss of  cultural   identity  is essential as it can be an underlying reason for poor health maintenance.

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Essay example on cultural identity: "united nations".

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  • Cultural identity essay structure
  • Sample Cultural Identity Essay
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I n the previous article, we discussed cultural identity . Cultural identity is a term that you frequently encounter - in the news, on social media platforms, on television, in magazines. In college and in the academe in general, the discussion will become more serious and incisive. It will be the subject of numerous papers, essays, discussion posts, research papers,  dissertation papers , speeches, and even debates, and your knowledge about cultural identity will only become more expansive. By now it is safe to say that you surely have acquired a firm grasp of your very own cultural identity. Awareness of your own cultural identity prevents you from projecting your own values onto others; projecting denotes the natural human tendency to assume that people of other cultures are doing things for the same reasons that you would. Awareness of your cultural identity also ensures your interaction and coexistence with people of other cultures will reach a more meaningful and more compassionate depth, and it can only get better once you have come to possess a healthy comprehension of their own concept of cultural identity. 

Cultural sensitivity is the result of the acquisition of knowledge about your own cultural identity and that of others. The most befitting word to describe possession of such knowledge is "sentience," as you are now able to perceive and feel cultural differences. Your sentience, when guided primarily by humanity and warmth, empowers you to effectively break down cultural differences and make a difference. 

It is common knowledge that most of history's major wars were ignited by refusal to understand other cultural identities. Nationalism, chauvinism, racism, prejudice, and fanaticism are by-products of the lack of knowledge of other peoples' cultural identities, the absence of "sentience." Thus, in this age of rapid globalization, the need for awareness of one's cultural identity is at its most pronounced to ensure the harmonious coexistence of the world's cultures. 

Now, we will help you construct your first cultural identity essay. A cultural identity essay is similar to other essay forms since its parts are the same – title, introduction, thesis statement, body, and conclusion. It’s safe to say that a cultural identity essay is like a combination of a personal narrative and a reflective essay . The only difference is that you’ll need to describe your culture and how it shapes your life – related experiences, aspirations, factors that influenced and still influence you. Essentially, a cultural identity essay requires that you discuss how nationality, race, language, social class, ethnicity, religion, gender, heritage, tradition, and norms affect your life and viewpoint.

A typical structure of a cultural identity essay follows the basic essay outline principles . A typical five paragraph essay is a good model to follow. The major parts of your cultural identity essay are as follows:

  • Introduction. A crucial section of every good cultural identity essay. In this part, your audience is told who you are and what made you the person that you are. It is important that you talk about your personal background. The length of this particular section depends on general size of your essay. Generally, the introduction part should not be exceed 10% of your cultural identity essay. In addition, try not to include too much information here, even though you might be tempted to. Introduction is meant to tease, hint, and interest the reader, rather than revealing all up front.
  • Thesis statement.  A thesis is the last sentence of your introduction, it is not a part of your cultural identity essay. We describe it as a separate section because of its importance. Your thesis is an argumentative, powerful claim that has to be proven in the body. It is the purpose of your essay. 
  • Body.  The length of the body section may vary. For longer essays (5 pages + or longer than 1500 words), there will be more paragraphs. For shorter ones, a single body paragraph is sufficient. The purpose of the body of your cultural identity essay is to build upon the thesis statement. This is where your analysis goes. Build connections between ideas and their consequences. For example, do not merely mention that you celebrated Hanukkah. Rather, demonstrate how it has shaped your cultural identity in particular way.
  • Conclusion. Restate the major points here. Emphasize the thesis again, repeating what cultural identity you are and how it has affected you as a person.

cultural identity essay example

 Below is a cultural identity essay sample. Read, enjoy, and analyze. Right after you’ll surely be able to craft your cultural identity essay.

United Nations

My name is Junichiro Claude Matsuoka, an only child. I am a multiracial American and native New Yorker. My father is Japanese and my mother is French, and I speak both languages fluently. They were both born, raised, and educated in their home countries and were introduced to each other in graduate school in the United States. They then both worked at UNICEF. After which they got married and eventually decided to raise a family in multicultural and multi-ethnic New York City, the same house that we still live in. Their work involves a lot of traveling and they meet countless of people and experience even more cultures, religions, and belief systems. Although my mother is Catholic and my father is Buddhist, they do not have a strong concept or belief in God and raised me in a household that practices nothing but kindness and compassion.  

As far back as I can remember, the only semblance of religion they taught me was to do goodwill to my fellow men, something that will never die. My parents instilled in me a strong sense of equanimity, morality, and work ethic. These beliefs do not only reflect my culture, they are also the core values of my family. Due to my mixed heritage, my family possesses many Japanese and French cultural traditions, aside from traditions from where I was born and raised. For instance, my Japanese father taught me the practice of Kaizen. Kaizen is the drive and effort to improve in all aspects of life – in my case, I practice Kaizen in my behaviour, outlook in life, relationship with loved ones, and work. I do it every day and has made my life more worthwhile. I also love sea urchin and sashimi with a passion – all because of my father’s influence. My French mother, for her part, passed on to me the love for art and the importance of a relaxed body and mind. I also inherited from her the love for delicious desserts and wine, philosophy, and yes, sentimental movies. 

Twice a year, my family takes a long vacation – one in Japan and one in France. When in France, I feel so French. When in Japan, I am one full-blooded Japanese. When at home, I am an interesting mixture of both, with a dash of that recognizable New York accent. Due to my being a mixture of cultures, It is pure joy and satisfaction seeing my extended family on both sides at least once a year. I liken it to being around the world in a few weeks. However, there were a few years when we were not able to vacation in Japan and France. I used to consider those times as quite lonely. Now, looking back, they were really not sad at all because we had a chance to vacation with our friends from home. And for the past three years, every summer, I have been going on short camping trips upstate with my friends. When we do not have those, we enjoy just walking and strolling with our dogs at Central Park. But I have to say that the Fourth of July is the one American holiday I enjoy the most. Every year, we gather at a different friend’s house, cook sumptuous food, the range of which can be likened to the UN, prepare drinks, and just have a great time. Since it’s my home country’s independence day, we make it a point to really have a good time and enjoy life's pleasures. Almost all my friends have different backgrounds – Indian, British, German, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Israeli. I cover the Japanese and French. We jokingly call our circle United Nations. 

I cannot think of any reason why I should not be content with my life. True, the differing backgrounds of my parents played a factor but it does not stop at that. I have developed and possess a distinct culture of my own and it is the combination of heritage and the influences that I prefer to identify with now. My unique culture, values, desire to help my fellow men, and pursuit of happiness are reasons enough to celebrate life. My cultural identity is the basis on which I live my life. 

The cultural essay example above can serve as solid basis on how you can determine and establish your cultural identity. It is the combination of factors such as nationality, ethnicity, language, race, religion, tradition that you willingly choose to belong to. So naturally, only you can define your own cultural identity; your cultural preferences hugely contribute to the formation of your cultural identity. For further enlightenment, this video below should be able to help. The speaker's thoughts and statements are what comprises her own cultural identity. We hope you can learn while enjoying, and in the process, acquire the know-hows in crafting your own cultural identity essay. We are standing by if you need help from a pro essay writer for hire.

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Cultural Identity Essays

Cultural identity: ideology or nationalistic sentiments.

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Cultural Identity and Belonging

The main question in this essay is how social identity can give people a sense of belonging in their culture. this goes off of the culture and belonging theme of the prompt From cartoons of Muhammad in the Danish paper to displays of the Confederate flag at the South Carolina State House, acts of social importance have started debates and sometimes violence. These in different manifestations and actions of culture weathering music graffiti art flag shows parades sacred rituals or […]

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Cultural Identity about myself

Running head: Adolescent’s development of cultural identity in the family I was born in Decatur Georgia, but before the age of 8 my family moved to Norcross Georgia. My mother grew up in Decatur Georgia and my father grew up in Clayton County. My parents felt like it was about that time to find better. I am convinced that they wanted to move more towards the north. My mother wanted better for my family. I have three brothers, so being […]

My Cultural Identity

I was born in Royal-Oak, Michigan, but without any hesitation, I state that I am the product of two very different cultures. Both of my parents are one hundred percent Romanians, they moved to the United States twenty-three years ago. For so many times I heard them talking about Romania origins as a country, how Romania was formed, about Romanians and about their culture. One of my dad’s favorite stories is about Decebalus, how Decebalus was one of the feared-enemy […]

Beyond Cultural Identity: Reflections on Multiculturalism

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Personal Cultural Identity

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Reinforcement of Cultural Identity and its Effects on Productivity of Latino Workers

In the last few years the topic of Latinos, immigration, and jobs has been under constant scrutiny by the media and politicians. Regardless of the rhetoric, Latinos constitute a rapid growing segment in United States. In 2016, there were 26.8 million Hispanics or Latinos in the U.S. labor force, nearly triple the 9.0 million in 1988. Hispanics or Latinos composed 16.8 percent of the labor force in 2016, up from 7.4 percent in 1988. By 2017, the number of Latinos […]

What does Cultural Identity Mean?

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Ethnic and Cultural Identity the Disappearing Act

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The Idea of Cultural Identity

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Racism, Ethnocentrism and Cultural Identity

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How America Hinders the Cultural Identity of their own Citizens

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The Effects of Language Extinction on Cultural Identity in Third World Countries

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Remaining Karen: a Study of Cultural Reproduction and the Maintenance of Identity Book Review

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Brand Identity and Positioning

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Abstract Communication defines our human development and within this lies our need for cultural identity. An important aspect of this identity is our religious beliefs as it defines most of our core values. The two religious cultures discussed in this paper are Catholicism and Buddhism through an analysis of their brief history, the dimensions of intercultural communication, and a survey of people’s religious practices. The brief insight into the religion’s history gives insight to the practices of this culture to […]

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Example of essay on cultural identity

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Culture , Company , Religion , Society , Community , Entrepreneurship , Socialization , World

Published: 12/09/2019

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What does cultural identity mean to you?

Arguably, globalization has converted the world into a global village. Many scholars argue that globalization is a source of destruction of cultural identity; in fact cultural identity has been harmonized, and westernized making it complex to understand. In the 21st century, lifestyles and cultures of individuals vary tremendously. Cultural identity is very important for an individual as it gives one a sense of belonging, and association. According to me cultural diversity refers to distinctiveness of a culture, group, or individuals in terms of culture, religion, language, race, as well as ethnicity. It entails more on a description one can give to a person, as well as personal background. In most cases, people’s culture can be emphasized on where an individual comes from, the language one speaks, as well as the religious affiliation (Friedman 20). Undoubtedly, socialization process plays an important role in development of culture and cultural identity. Hence, cultural identity can be referred as the influence one gains and enjoys by belonging to a particular group or culture. In world today, individuals feel proud to be associated into a certain culture; this is because it develops some sense of security, and a sigh of being wanted. Generally, if an individual is placed in a culture that he does not understand, the individual will not identify himself/herself with that culture. Furthermore, cultural identity can be the stereotype identification given to an individual by the society. For example, if one comes from a bad family the society will have a bad perspective of that person, and the individual will always be identified negatively. Certainly, it is important for one to have an identity in life, or else one could be excluded socially, economically, and politically. Cultural identity is directly related to the number of multi-ethnic groups in society. Therefore, cultural identity refers to the association of a certain ethnic group (Friedman 27). In the world, Africa is believed to be full of multi-cultural identities; this is because there are various and diverse ethnic societies. Cultural identity is seen to be a treasure, source of cultural power as well as an institutional modernity.

How do you identify yourself?

There are various questions that come up in relation to cultural identification. In the recent years, various ways in which an individual could be identified have emerged. As an individual, I would identify myself basing on various aspects including gender, place, socialization environment, sex, sexual orientation, ethnicity, language, educational affiliation, as well as religion. It is wiser to identify yourself on your various forms of accomplishment (Friedman 41). Self-identification process is an evaluation tool especially in checking reality, and comparing it with ideal picture of oneself. In most scenarios, people have failed to identify themselves because of various reasons, such as inferiority complex, as well as identity theft. Hence, it is important to reclaim your identity back, and be proud to be who you are. Furthermore, some of the cultural elements that I would help me identify myself include norms, values, language, ideologies, beliefs, status, roles, social collectiveness, as well as cultural integration. Conclusively, cultural identity is very important is the world today. This is because in our schools, workplace, churches, as well as country include people from different backgrounds. Cultural identity develops a sense of belonging, as well as eliminating identity crisis especially among teenagers. Every culture is superior in its own definitions and understanding, hence, everyone should be proud to be identified in a certain group in society.

Friedman, J. Cultural Diversity and Global Process. London: Springer, 2004.

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Culture and identity essay example.

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Culture and Identity

Culture and identity are two much related terms and which are used to mean that it is a culture of a person that shapes their behaviors and therefore a person cannot live outside culture even if it means their own created culture of doing things every day. However, this does not merely mean that a person can do anything they want at any time and call it culture. Culture is broad and it is made of many parts which form one and therefore if a person can live all these parts then the person can be called cultural. For example, a certain culture may state that it is important and good for people to do what is good for their neighbors. However, another culture may state that it is okay to kill. Even though the second is termed as evil if the killing is under a certain situation like it is okay to kill a person who does what is wrong then this becomes the culture of those people (Boyd et al., 18). therefore this paper discusses culture and how it is used to give identification to people and describe them perfectly.

Identity is a complex situation whereby a person is realized and is understood from a certain perspective. This means that if I meet a person who is very sure about why it is important to kill people who do not obey their culture then I will have to understand that person as a murderer. However, it may not be the case from the perspective of the person who is just obeying culture. It turns out therefore that the issue of culture and identity is so much the same thing and culture is what forms the social part of any person. From these two terms, we get cultural identity which is the state of belonging to a certain group and therefore this means cultural identity is the combination of culture and identity (Lamont, 175).

Self-identity if part of a person s life and is related to a variety of concepts like ethnicity religion, generation, locality, and social class. All of these concepts directed towards making sure that a person is formed culturally to be able to identify themselves are a very important part for any person to understand if they want to understand cultural identity and ultimately understand what it means to be culturally sound and emitting characteristics of a certain culture. There are therefore different ways of understanding cultural identity. Even though the different conditions to understanding culture and identity may defer to a certain extent it is also important to note that these cultural identity issues are a part of humanity that proves to be very unstable and sometimes it explodes. However, it is always a chance for humanity to learn since its explosion does not lead to death but to a more opportunity for learning new things and issues as not known before to a person.

The basic identifiers of culture include sex, locality nationality, sex, ethnicity, aesthetics, food, language, religious beliefs, and so many others. A locality is a place whereby certain people are located and where they live. This gives a person the ability to determine some characteristics of this kind of person since some features of human nature are similar across humanity. For example, if a group of people lives very close to the ice hills then it means that they have to learn a way to cope with the cold because universally all humans are the same when it comes to things like temperature and other naturally occurring phenomena. Therefore locality of a certain group of people makes them culturally identifiable and with more ease in determining their behaviors and activities as a people (Lindholm, 30).

History is one part of humanity that plays a very big role in the evaluation of what people have gone through, what they like, and what they hate. This means therefore for a person to understand the cultural dimension of a people there is nothing more valuable than going back to their history and learning how they have developed. For example, women in the United States have had a long history. Most of the olden society never considered women as part of the society and they considered them as outcasts. This, therefore, means that women were not treated as men and in some cases there was mistreatment. Even political representation and voting were not allowed. However in the current days with women having freedom and there being so many quests for equality helps us determine the culture of the women which in most times comes out as women empowerment more clearly. With the women liberated there is a very large and vast desire for them to liberate every woman on the earth and therefore this comes with cultural identification because they form a very important part of society.

Language is another part of cultural identification. This means that a person s language tells about them and how they have been brought up. Education is a very core part of society as it helps a person understand what they say and be able to live with people around them. The learning of this language culture comes. therefore in as much as language is a personal issue it turns out that language is also a part of a person and therefore through the learning of a language to express oneself to another person the language learning comes with the culture of that group of people. it is the basics of the culture which the child learns and with times comes to perfect what they learned. For example, a child born on African soil in one of the countries may not be able to know English easily as their first language may be their mother tongue for example Kiswahili. This means that if a person speaks Kiswahili there is a very direct assumption that the person comes from the eastern part of Africa.

Acculturation is the process of adapting and balance between two cultures whereby the superior or the desired one takes over. Apart from the basic education about culture whereby a certain people have to learn how to behave according to a certain way it turns out that acculturation is a very important concept in the current world since people are traveling so much and their cultures have become volatile since they have to adapt to a new culture every once in a while trying to determine their life course. Therefore due to education and people traveling all over to find studies and other things pertinent to humanity in the current generation culture becomes a very thin part of humanity as most people develop an open mind. However, this does mean they still cannot be identified because there are other cultural markers like race which are not easy to do away with.

The cultural arena is a concept that where a person lives impacts the kind of life they have and therefore it is true that a person s culture can be determined from the life they have and the kind of lifestyle they live in their daily lives. For example, in a person who is born in Georgia, there is a direct assumption that the person is American and has embraced the basic American traits like speaking in English. Therefore cultural arena plays an important role and it is closely related to geographical location. This is because where a person finds themselves they have to learn how to live within those areas even if they are harsh to them (Wilson, 674).

Language is one of the most important cultural identifiers since it is inevitable that language describes a very big percentage of who a person is. Language from the kind of language it is for example English to other parts of the language like the manner of production display a lot of cultural state and belonging of a person. This means therefore that if a person talks in a certain language it means they are conversant with that specific culture of a people. This is because language cannot be learned in a vacuum; it has to be learned within the culture of a particular people. Culture and language are co compact in that even when a person goes to school to learn about something they have to learn about a certain peoples word usage and this is a sign of the culture of that particular group of people (Wilson, 670).

In the current generation, there is also the issue of the internet and its role in making sure that education is passed on successfully to whom it belongs. Therefore a people need to understand that the internet has played a very big role in educating others about their culture be it from language to geographical locality and their imminent and basic behaviors. Other factors which are of great contribution towards cultural identity include; immigration, schools, etc (Kidd et al., 78).

In conclusion therefore identity and culture are very connected and a very big part of humanity. Identity cannot be possible without stating the above-discussed features of a person s culture and their personality which directs talks about their culture. Therefore it is an important part of humanity and culture and identity have to be taken seriously and considered in any conversation to protect history, culture, and what people believe in.

Works cited

Boyd, Rebecca. “Building Fences in Viking Dublin: Exploring Ireland s First Urban Community.” Heritage, Diaspora and the Consumption of Culture: Movements in Irish Landscapes. Ashgate, Farnham (2014): 11-26.

Kidd, Warren, and Alison Teagle. Culture and identity. Macmillan International Higher Education, 2012.

Lamont, Michèle. “Culture and identity.” Handbook of sociological theory. Springer, Boston, MA, 2001. 171-185.

Lindholm, Charles. Culture and identity. McGraw Hill, 2007.

Wilson, August. Fences: a play. Vol. 6. Penguin, 2016.

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Sounds gay, bro: vocal timbre and “gay sound” in a strange loop.

A group of performers with their hands up in cheer

Sounds Gay, Bro: Vocal Timbre and “Gay Sound” in A Strange Loop 

The performed vocal timbre of Usher in Michael R. Jackson’s A Strange Loop portrays queerness in accordance with societal expectations and stereotypes. How does the musical accomplish this, and more importantly, why?  In American media, performed masculinity defines a timbral space in which voices outside of it are labeled as queer and unnatural. This space often aligns with the queer sexual and gender orientations of those that fall outside societally prescribed boundaries of the cis-het normative. Specifically, in the speech of cisgendered men, traits of nasality, effeminacy of vocal range, and lisping have frequently been attributed to “sounding gay.”  This “gay sound” has permeated popular culture in various forms of media, but especially in theater and film. In the musical A Strange Loop , the protagonist Usher easily falls into the stereotype of sounding gay, especially in comparison to other characters that surround him. To explore the use of the sounding gay stereotype, I will survey how the use of nasality, expressive vocal range, and lisping aid in the presentation of Usher as a gay character. By doing this study, I hope to show how and why musicals use stereotypical presentations of gay voices to contextualize them within the underexplored oeuvre of musical theater and to challenge whether these stereotypical conjectures are necessary for audience perception.

First, it is important to briefly summarize the narrative of A Strange Loop . In this musical, Usher, who works as an usher at Lion King on Broadway, is trying to write a Broadway musical about his tumultuous life but faces various roadblocks tied to his identity. Alongside Usher, the audience is privy to his internal thoughts, which are played by six different cast members. Usher’s thoughts externalize the internal struggles with his identity as a self-celebrating/self-deprecating fat, Black, gay man. A throughline in the musical that ties many of the narrative facets together is the use of Usher’s overtly obvious gayness, in part accomplished by his stereotypical gay sound.

Musical theater scholars such as Knapp and Wolf have explored how deeply intertwined identity and stereotypes are on stage. [1] [2] They argue that musical audiences are presented with stereotypical characters, so consumers have something to grasp onto within the fast-paced narratives typical in this medium. Furthermore, genre theorists such as Bazerman suggest that sociopsychological categories in media are created to evoke shared understandings of typified actions in typified situations, a.k.a. sounding gay and being a gay musical theater composer. [3] Drawing from film genre theory, Altman claims that narratives often contain syntactic expectations that are set up by semantic signals, which, in this case, entails perceived sexuality tied to vocal production. [4] The works of these scholars thus deeply intertwine with Butler and their notions of performed gender as the stylized repetition of acts that constitute gendered interpretations and perception. Applying the gay sound to Usher is thus normalized and expected by audiences who have been enculturated by the pervasive gay sound in media. As Usher repeatedly reaffirms his gay identity in tandem with his stylized sonic vocal productions perceived as queer, audiences can then place their assumptions about queerness onto his character, reinforcing their overall perception of him outside cisheteronormativity. [5]

In the opening number, “Intermission Song,” Usher sings with a high-pitched head voice mixed with an extremely forward-placed nasal tone with little to no chest voice included, setting himself up as audibly queer in contrast to other voices of audience members present in the opening number [6] . In a study done on nasality in homosexual men that focused on the speaking voice, it was found that, for the most part, homosexual men and heterosexual men scored nearly the same on nasality in speech. However, when certain nasal vowel sounds were prolonged, the nasality scores of homosexual men were higher and mirrored closer to heterosexual women in sonic production. [7] This finding relates to perceptions of gender and sexuality in singing, as vowels are often held for longer and at higher frequencies than natural speech, giving them audible prominence. As heard with Usher, his extremely high and nasal tone sets him apart from typically performed heterosexual expectations, immediately signaling to listeners his overt queerness.

Moreover, in a study on pitch variation in homosexual males, it was observed that homosexual men’s voices, on average, occupied a higher normative frequency range than heterosexual males.  Furthermore, the expressive range of homosexual men was also found to be closer to heterosexual women than heterosexual men. It is perhaps no surprise that in the study, men with higher voices were subsequently more likely to be perceived as homosexual. [8] These discussions also closely relate to methods of acting, the central backbone of all theater performance. In one acting study, it was discovered that actors who play homosexual characters often shift their voices toward normatively effeminate frequencies with higher-pitched, lighter, and more expressive ranges. [9] The combination of these studies thus points to how and why Usher performs his gay sound within the musical. He is not only reaffirming his gayness but also is falling in line with preconceived audience understanding of gay sound, further repeating stereotypes of what kinds of stylized acts gay men enact vocally.

Another trait of performed gay sound in the show is when Usher confronts his lisp. Lisping has long been associated with gay men and is often weaponized through homophobia as a mocking gesture. Some studies on lisping have suggested that the prevalence of it is significantly higher in homosexual men than in heterosexual men and women. [10] Furthermore, lisping has also been linked to the perception of gayness. In a study from 2014, it was found that subjects, especially heterosexual men, were able to guess homosexual men’s sexual identity just from spoken voice when a lisp was present. [11] Whether it is something that is innately part of being born gay or a learned social code-switch is something that is still hotly debated in scientific and queer communities alike. In the final number that bears the same name of the musical, “A Strange Loop,” Usher sings about his “sloppy s’s” in a pronounced and melancholic way. [12] Despite the sociophonetic research that shows lisping can project radical “fierce queen” queerness in some individuals, Usher does not share this sentiment. [13] His admission of despising his lisp is something that many queer people who have a lisp have had to grapple with, further contributing to the overall performed stereotypical “gay sound” present in this musical.

Usher’s gay sound is omnipresent in A Strange Loop. Through a repetitious process of stylized vocal production within the musical’s narrative, audience members are consistently reminded of Usher’s gayness every time he sings, and not just because of the lyrical content about Fire Island and bottoming. This use of a stereotypical gay sound assists not only audience perceptions but also propels plot devices pertaining to Usher’s identity and the discrimination he faces from friends, family, society at large, and himself.  Many of these gay-sounding traits Usher performs could easily be altered by a performer to combat enculturated stereotypes. What obscuring would occur if the actor for Usher used a less nasal singing technique and instead employed a heavy chest voice? Would audiences that come in with enculturated notions of masculinity be challenged by a vocal performance that falls in line with stereotypes of cisheteronormativity if Usher’s lyrics and actions reflect a queer identity?  The removal of his gay sound by a performer, however, would impact both the weight of Usher’s perception of himself and how others ultimately perceive him. Furthermore, removing this queer sonic marker could obfuscate the overall significance of the struggles and discrimination Usher faces in relation to his queerness. I believe this removal would considerably detract from Jackson’s overall characterization of Usher as a fat Black queer man who struggles with not only the visible but also audible aspects of his identity. By championing the story of Usher and intentionally integrating his gay sound, Jackson provides a spot on the Broadway stage for a narrative that many queer men have experienced first-hand, illuminating a small part of the trials and tribulations of performing a queer identity in a cisheteronormative world.

Works Cited

Altman, Rick. “A Semantic/Syntactic Approach to Film Genre.” Cinema Journal 23, no. 3 (1984): 6–18.

Baeck, Heidi, Paul Corthals, and John Van Borsel. “Pitch Characteristics of Homosexual Males.” Journal of Voice 25, no. 5 (September 1, 2011): e211–e214.

Bazerman, Charles. Shaping Written Knowledge: The Genre and Activity of the Experimental Article in Science . Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 2000.

Butler, Judith. “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory,” Theatre Journal , Vol. 40, No. 4 (Dec 1988).

Calder, Jeremy. 'From "Gay Lisp" to "Fierce Queen": The Sociophonetics of Sexuality's Most Iconic Variable', in Kira Hall, and Rusty Barrett (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Language and Sexuality (online edn, Oxford Academic, 10 July 2018 

Cartei, Valentina, and David Reby. “Acting Gay: Male Actors Shift the Frequency Components of Their Voices towards Female Values When Playing Homosexual Characters.” Journal of Nonverbal Behavior 36, no. 1 (March 2012): 79–93.

Heidemann, Kate. “A System for Describing Timbre in Popular Song” Music Theory Online . Vol. 22, no. 1. March 2016. 

Jackson, Michael R. A Strange Loop . 2019. Score.

Jarman-Ivens, Freya. Oh Boy!: Masculinities and Popular Music . New York, NY: Routledge, 2007.

Knapp, Raymond. The American Musical and the Performance of Personal Identity . Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010.

Suire, Alexandre, Arnaud Tognetti, Valérie Durand, Michel Raymond, and Melissa Barkat-Defradas. “Speech Acoustic Features: A Comparison of Gay Men, Heterosexual Men, and Heterosexual Women.” Archives of Sexual Behavior . Springer US, March 31, 2020. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7497419/.

Thorpe, David, director. Do I Sound Gay? Thinkthorpe/Littlepunk, 2015. 1 hr., 17 mins.

Van Borsel, John, and Anneleen Van de Putte. “Lisping and Male Homosexuality.” Archives of Sexual Behavior. U.S. National Library of Medicine , February 28, 2014. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24578106/.

Van Borsel, John, Els De Bruyn, Evelien Lefebvre, Anouschka Sokoloff, Sophia De Ley, and Nele Baudonck. “The Prevalence of Lisping in Gay Men.” Journal of Communication Disorders 42, no. 2 (August 18, 2008): 100–106.

Vanpoucke, Belle, Marjan Cosyns, Kim Bettens, and John Van Borsel. “Nasality in Homosexual Men: A Comparison with Heterosexual Men and Women .” Archives of Sexual Behavior 48, no. 5 (September 19, 2018): 1443–49.

Wolf, Stacy. A Problem Like Maria: Gender and Sexuality in the American Musical . Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan Press, 2002.

[1] Raymond Knapp. The American Musical and the Performance of Personal Identity . Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010.

[2] Stacy Wolf. A Problem Like Maria: Gender and Sexuality in the American Musical . Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan Press, 2002.

[3] Charles Bazerman. Shaping Written Knowledge: The Genre and Activity of the Experimental Article in Science . Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 2000.

[4] Rick Altman. “A Semantic/Syntactic Approach to Film Genre.” Cinema Journal 23, no. 3 (1984): 6–18.

[5] Judith Butler, “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory,” Theatre Journal , Vol. 40, No. 4 (Dec 1988).

[6] Example 1

[7] Belle Vanpoucke, Marjan Cosyns, Kim Bettens, and John Van Borsel. “Nasality in Homosexual Men: A Comparison with Heterosexual Men and Women.” Archives of Sexual Behavior 48, no. 5 (September 19, 2018): 1443–49.

[8] Heidi Baeck, Paul Corthals, and John Van Borsel. “Pitch Characteristics of Homosexual Males.” Journal of Voice 25, no. 5 (September 1, 2011): e211–e214.

[9] Valentina Cartei, and David Reby. “Acting Gay: Male Actors Shift the Frequency Components of Their Voices towards Female Values When Playing Homosexual Characters.” Journal of Nonverbal Behavior 36, no. 1 (March 2012): 79–93.

[10] Benjamin Munson. “Variation, Implied Pathology, Social Meaning, and the ‘Gay Lisp’: A Response to Van Borsel Et Al. (2009).” Journal of Communication Disorders 43, no. 1 (July 14, 2009): 1–5.

[11] John Van Borsel, and Anneleen Van de Putte. “Lisping and Male Homosexuality.” Archives of Sexual Behavior. U.S. National Library of Medicine , February 28, 2014. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24578106/.

[12] Example 2

[13] Jeremy Calder, 'From "Gay Lisp" to "Fierce Queen": The Sociophonetics of Sexuality's Most Iconic Variable', in Kira Hall, and Rusty Barrett (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Language and Sexuality (online edn, Oxford Academic, 10 July 2018 

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