The information in this course is free for anyone to access. If you would like to complete the activities and obtain a certificate for the course, you will need to create a free account and then enrol in the course.
In Journey 2 we look at the many types of cultural identity in Australia.
Discuss cultural identity and gain cultural knowledge
Journey 2 examines the concept of cultural integrity; this being a desirable practice in our everyday lives. It requires you to look at your own cultural identity and any biases to help in the acceptance of others. Cultural identity can be described as the characteristics of any group with common beliefs, values, traditions and customs.
Migrant and Indigenous groups make up Australia's society and this wonderful mix of people makes it hard to identify one cultural identity across the country, although there are stereotypical images seen by the rest of the world as typically Australian. For example: 'the love of sport and the outdoors.'
When looking at your own cultural identity, it is essential to look at the environmental influences in your life. You may have migrated to Australia and embrace your original language, hold an accent, and still follow your 'home' sporting team. Over time, these things may change, although never forgotten, and a new cultural identity can emerge through the impacts of new social networks, new employment, new surroundings.
Identity is influenced by many different things. These are called elements. Elements in our lives can shape our identity and it can also change depending on difference influences and time within the elements.
Elements of identity. Read and think about the following elements of cultural identity and tick the box once you have read and thought about all of them.
Ethnic or national origin
Job or profession
Attitudes to people of a particular race, gender, religion and ability can be influenced by experiences and personal history. If these attitudes are negative, it is a good time to consider how this can impact on a person's interactions and relationships with people from other cultures.
Knowing more about people who migrate to Australia can help in the understanding of their cultural identity. People migrate for many reasons; work, a better way of life, fleeing from persecution and asylum seeking. What ever the reason, they come to Australia because they believe it is a better life. Take some time to watch some YouTube videos. The first is a current short video inviting skilled workers to Australia, the next two videos are about people who have migrated to Australia.
The Australian Governments Department of Immigration and Boarder Protection (2014) has put out this short video inviting skilled workers to 'fast track your life in Australia as a skilled migrant'. Made by ImmiTV, National Communications Branch 2014. Ask yourself if you would be influenced to migrate to Australia if you saw this invitation?
Watch this video to see how one family has embraced their new country. Megan Nguyen, shares her parents hardships and happiness in the YouTube video - Digital story of my parent's migration from Vietnam to Australia. Here is their story.
Living in cultural harmony is living in accordance with the society we inhabit. To have cultural integrity is to believe in and participate in an environment that promotes equity and respect to all. If you read about or hear something about a particular culture, remember that this does not mean all people from that culture have the same beliefs and values. That would by stereotyping.
Learning to accept that everyone is different, but a person first, helps to embrace cultural differences and create cultural harmony. Unfortunately, Australia's past shows it is not always supportive of cultural harmony.
Cross cultural understanding and an environment that supports all cultures
Go to following page by the Refugee Council of Australia, 2014, which provides links to personal stories of former refugees who have found a new life in Australia. Choose one story to read. If you choose to take more time, follow the links on Stories compiled by other organisations.
"Sometimes when I go to bed my mind goes back home. I can't go to sleep immediately, it takes me two hours. I think of the past. A lot of bad things happened to me, so it is not easy." (Santino Mou Ngong Dut, 2011)
In December 2013, the Australian Government launched a new multicultural policy, named The People of Australia, Australia's Multicultural Policy. The policy states that 'Multiculturalism is in Australia's national interest and speaks to fairness and inclusion. It enhances respect and support for cultural, religious and linguistic diversity. It is about Australia's shared experience and the composition of neighbourhoods. It acknowledges the benefits and potential that cultural diversity brings' (Australian Government, 2013, p 2)
The multicultural policy upholds four (4) Principles. Below is an activity that has the principles with some words missing. Look at the words and choose which one fits the sentence in the principle.
Think about what can you do in your home, workplace and/or environment to show your celebration of our multicultural society. Celebrate Harmony Day on March 21st each year? Share food from other cultures? Display flags and posters of different cultures? Get to know someone from a different culture?
A whole environment approach will send a message of cultural harmony.
Now that you have worked through Journeys 1 & 2, we hope this resource has helped you to move forward on the cultural integrity scale. Take the quiz to mark where you think you are now on the scale.