Acculturation: Cultural modification of an individual, group, or people by adapting
to or borrowing
traits from another culture; a merging of cultures as
a result of prolonged contact. It should be noted that individuals
from culturally diverse groups may desire varying degrees of acculturation
into the dominant culture.
assume the cultural traditions of a given people or group.
Culture: An integrated
pattern of human behavior that includes thoughts, communications, languages,
practices, beliefs, values, customs, courtesies, rituals,
manners of interacting, roles, relationships and expected behaviors
of a racial,
ethnic, religious or social group; the ability to transmit the above
to succeeding generations; is dynamic in nature.
awareness: Being cognizant, observant and conscious of similarities and differences
among cultural groups.
sensitivity: Understanding the
needs and emotions of your own culture and the culture of others.
Ethnic: Of or relating
to large groups of people classed according to common racial, national,
tribal, religious, linguistic, or
quality or affiliation.
The Institute on
Medicine (IOM), in a 1999 report edited by Haynes, M.A. and Smedley,
B.D., defines ethnicity as how
one sees oneself
one is “seen by others as part of a group on the
basis of presumed ancestry and sharing a common destiny …” Common
threads that may tie one to an ethnic group include skin
color, religion, language, customs,
ancestry, and occupational or regional features. In addition,
persons belonging to the same ethnic group share a unique
history different from
other ethnic groups. Usually a combination of these features
identifies an ethnic group. For example, physical appearance
alone does not consistently
identify one as belonging to a particular ethnic group.
Competence: also see http://nccc.georgetown.edu/documents/Definition_of_Linguistic_Competence.rtf for
a broad definition. See additional definitions in Compendium
of Cultural Competence Initiatives in Health Care (2003). Kaiser
Family Foundation. Available at http://www.kff.org/uninsured/6067-index.cfm
Race: There is an
array of different beliefs about the definition of race and what race
means within social, political
and biological contexts.
The following definitions
are representative of these perspectives:
- A tribe, people or
nation belonging to the same stock; a division of humankind possessing
traits that are transmissible by descent and sufficient
to characterize it as a distinctive human type;
- Is a social construct
used to separate the world’s peoples. There is
only one race, the human race, comprised of individuals
with characteristics that
are more or less similar to others;
- Evidence from the
Human Genome project indicates that the genetic code for all human
is 99.9% identical; there
are more differences
within groups (or
races) than across groups.
- The IOM (Haynes & Smedley,
eds., 1999) states that in all instances race is a social
and cultural construct. Specifically a “construct
of human variability based on perceived differences in
appearance, and behavior”. The IOM states that the traditional conception
of race rests on the false premise that natural distinctions grounded in
and behavioral differences can be drawn between groups.