Why different student groups define success in different ways

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In the United States today different student groups define success in different ways. I believe these self-perceptions are created by the ways in which American society defines race and ethnicity. In some public and high schools there are some problems with self-adaptation of multi-racial students in the students’ community, although in some areas the percentage of non-white students is rather high. For example, the 2000 United States Census shows that the percentage of respondents identifying themselves as Latino increased 60% since 1990 and that Latinos will be the United States’ largest minority group even sooner than expected.

The United States is in face a multicultural country. Multiculturalism can be defined as the notion that American society should be understood as a collection of diverse cultural groups rather than as a single, unified national body on one hand or as simply an aggregate of atomized individuals on the other. A multiculturalism sensibility implies that the government must recognize and respect if not nurture the diversity and integrity of racial and ethnic communities.

The reason why different student groups define success in different ways is that different race and ethnical groups have sometimes their own understanding of their roles in American society which is based on historical background and in some cases on public opinion. American society still operates in a paradigm in which an individual is a member of the “majority” or the “minority,” either White or Non-White. This Black-Non White binary has influenced courts’ and legislatures’ race-conscious remedies such as school desegregation orders and employment discrimination claims.

The White-Non-White paradigm is injurious, because instead of promoting equality, it promotes the dominance of whiteness. “White” becomes the singular point of reference for all other races; if one is not White, the “other” race to which one belongs is immaterial. White dominance and privilege remain unquestioned when “White” is the standard against which all else is defined. This White norm has been particularly harmful to Hispanic, Afro-American and Asian students. It influences the self-esteem of non-white students and affects their success definition.

Of course, there are some ways that educators can change these perceptions. They must create atmospheres where all racial and ethnical groups’ features and needs can be taken into account, not ignored or unquestioned. They must develop something like “free space” where white students can co-construct their own identities to those of other racial and ethnical groups, males and females. Educators can also organize so-called “Family Groups” which must address the need to involve students in discussions about race and problems connected to success definition among students from different racial and ethnical groups.

People need social experience to learn their culture and to survive. Social experience is also the foundation of ones personality. (Macionis, J. J. pg 115) The high school staff must employ teachers of high quality who are most motivated and experienced in work with multi-racial groups, they also must use innovative teaching methods. These teachers must have clear vision of future educational success of multi-ethnic students groups. They also must pay closer attention to each child’s individual needs and aim to meet them.

These teachings must be more individualized and take into account some national and ethnical features. The teachers must develop students’ ability to function effectively and productively in a multi-cultural, global world, they can emphasize that students must be guided by comprehension of rights equality of all racial and ethnical groups in the United States. An understanding of culture helps those involved to respect others’ perspectives, be aware of their comfort level and be sensitive to issues that need attention.

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