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Psychology

PSYCHOLOGY 9

JudgingEthnic and Racial Background using Outward Appearance

Ina racially and ethnically diverse country, such as United States,physical appearances are conceived to be a reliable indicator ofone’s ethnic and racial background. Too often people guess the raceand ethnicity of a stranger by observing visual cues and languagedifferences. Many studies have also established that race draws onphysical differences to give meaning to racial boundaries and one’scultural background. These elements of physical appearances are,therefore, significant because they are taken to be outward signs ofrace and ethnicity. Conversely, racial theorists consider physicalappearance a somewhat unreliable indicator of race, but it is evidentthat physical traits continue to be conceptually embedded in race.

Asa Native American, people tend to guess my birth origin too often. Inmost cases, they use physical characteristics such as complexion,height, language, jewelry, mode of dressing, English fluency, andreligious beliefs to identify my race and culture. Language plays agreater role because most Native Americans are known to lack fluencyin English, and in particular, have poor skills in the language ofinstruction. Given that English is my second language, lack offluency does not necessarily prevent me from speaking English. Eventhough I have learnt to become fluent in English, it is possible forpeople to guess my origin because I have retained my native tonguesas I speak. Similarly, many are the times when they use my mode ofdressing to determine my origin. As much as we may be living in arelatively globalised world, there are things that never reallychange. Having been brought up by parents who were quite strict aboutthe mode of dressing and the parts of one’s body that should beexposed, it goes without saying that there are some form of clothingthat I would flinch before trying them on. This happens even ininstances where I am far away from my parents. As expected, thesemodes of dressing are more or less in line with the cultural valuesto which my parents subscribe, and which they have imbued in me. Inessence, people are right in one way or another when guessing myracial or ethnic background using my mode of dressing. In most cases,these people will ask me about the culture from which they think Icome and chat me up about the same. Further, they may point out funnythings that they have observed about the same or give me informationon people they know from that culture or even an experience that theyhad when they visited a country that is primarily composed ofindividuals from that race or ethnic group

Culturalpractices and religious beliefs have also shaped people’sperceptions about my origin. My ethnic group places enormous value ontraditional, and cultural values and norms, which even when inAmerica I continue to observe. These cultural beliefs range from themode of dressing, ancestral beliefs, way of conducting rituals,rites, and the use of traditional healing methods. A remarkable waythat people use to identify my origin is through cultural foodpractices, food and dance. Most of my traditional foods areconsidered healthy and, thus, food represents one of the symbolicmarkers of my cultural and national identity. Even without knowingme, the continued practice of cultural and traditional practicescontinues influence their perceptions of my ethnicity.

Ipay much attention to the way I speak, my dress code, jewelry, and mycultural food practices. Most people, even without knowing where Icome from, have established that these features are markers of myethnic and cultural identity. Headbands, earrings, pendants andvarious jewelries are common in my cultural. Furthermore, ceremonialdressing and language maintenance are crucial to cultural survivaland, therefore, I tend to pay close attention in order to maintain mycultural practices. Most often, I also engage in musical practices,which traces back to my traditional, cultural and ethnic origin. Theytype of musical instruments, dances and musical content help me toattach different meaning and value to this form of music.Unfortunately, there are some negative aspects pertaining to everyculture or ethnic background. This means that the individuals whoidentify with that particular culture would most likely bestereotyped as having the same habits, which may impact on the way inwhich other people relate to them. This necessitates that I payattention to the manner in which I speak and dress or even the typesof foods that I eat so as to, at least, hide my ethnic background.

Mostof the people who guess my birth origin by observing practices suchas, religious and cultural beliefs usually get it right. It ispossible to tell an ethnicity of people especially if they haveunique religious beliefs and ceremonies, traditional food, ritualsand religious beliefs. Some of these practices are predominant ofspecific ethnic groups, and these people use these factors to narrowdown my ethnic origin. On the other hand, most people who guess myrace and ethnicity from my physical appearance tend to get it wrong.Various ethnic groups around the world may have the same complexion,height, hair, and skin color. When they make this mistake, theyapologize for wrong judgment, but at the same time try to justifytheir answer by pointing out similar traits with the ethnicity theyguessed wrong in the first place. However, this may be true becausesome races and ethnic group have similar physical characteristic withothers. In fact, researchers urge that the most appropriate way toidentify race and ethnicity is by establishing genetic makeup. This,nevertheless, is not always the case. There are others who willsimply laugh it off and try to get information pertaining to myethnic background, while making comparisons with the manner in whichI have dressed of my way of speaking. This often leaves me with abitter taste in the mouth.

Irarely trick people about my birth origin. Of course, there areinstances where my mode of dressing or my accent clashes with that ofpeople from other races. Similarly, there are cases in which Iexperiment with foods and clothing from other parts of the world.This is not primarily aimed at tricking people about my ethnicbackground. Nevertheless, I would not say that I am not pleasantlysurprised when they get tricked. However, I tend to identify otherpeople’s ethnic background through language, politicalaffiliations, sexual habits, educational background, religion,nationality, geographic location and cultural beliefs. Mostcommunities have inherited traditions for using language that valuelinguistic purism. Such communities have a long history of regardingtheir languages as indicators of tribal or group identity. For thisreason, language ideologies are necessary and critical part of anycomplete analysis of ethnic background. On the other hand,identifying a person’s national geographic location may help toidentify similar ethnic groups and culture in the same area. Theconcentration of people in the same geographic areas may imply thatthey are of similar ethnic background, culture and language.

Efficacyof Revenge Relationships

Inmost cases, revenge relationships result to flirting, infidelity andanger, especially if one person in the relationship does not get theattention he or she needs. Research from couple’s therapy has shownthat a revenge relationship is harmful to committed relationships.This is so, because it may result to rebound relationships andinfidelity and even give the persons in the relationship a license toact out of anger and jealousy. In most cases, victims of the revengerelationship might believe that their partner also deserves to sufferfor an equal amount of pain and barrage he/she has inflicted on theother. For this reason, the hurting partner may engage in arelationship in order to hurt the other, make them jealous, or simplyrevenge. In a committed relationship, infidelity resulting from lowcommitment, sexual or emotional dissatisfaction, and exploitativerelationship is likely to trigger revenge relationships.

Iconducted an interview that involved seven of my friends on theirinvolvement of the revenge relationship. The participants wereworried that their committed partners were replacing them with otherfriends, and did not give them sufficient attention required forpeople in a romantic relationship. In addition, the seveninterviewees believe that their partners were cheating on them, asthey continuously received reports from friend about the people theirpartners flirted with, and took out for coffee and lunch dates. Forthis reason, the interviewees decided to engage in revengerelationships as a form of retribution. In response, they decided toreiterate by engaging in punitive retribution, to express theiranger, jealousy and feelings of betrayal.

Itis evident that the participants tend to struggle with rejection,often leading to feelings of insecurity, worthlessness, andsubsequent loss of self-esteem and confidence. All this feelings andcomplex scenarios lead to anger, and thoughts of revenge andretribution. Findings suggest that the first three participantsretaliated by making their partners jealous by flirting with ladiesat parties, as well as, taking them on lunch dates. One of theparticipants adds that he went to the extent of wrapping his handaround a lady`s waist and shoulder whenever in public. On the otherhand, another participant admittedly adds that he developed a habitof holding hands with his dates to make his partner jealous. Inaddition, various revenge techniques used by the other participantsincluded kissing their dates in front of their partners, postingpictures holding their dates on social media for their partner tosee, and kissing their dates in public. These actions are a form ofjealousy expression and response, which portray a feeling of deephurt and betrayal.

Accordingto the participants, the main goal behind these actions is to provoketheir partners in a committed relationship. First, I established thatby engaging in a revenge relationship, the interviewee evokedjealousy to their partner, so that they do not take them for granted.The participants also claim that they influenced the perception oftheir partners, by showing that they are desirable. This was meant tomake their partner in the committed relationship jealous, as well as,feel lucky that they are in a committed relationship at the firstplace. In addition, provoking jealousy is viewed as a litmus test, togauge their partner’s response, and evaluate the strength of theircommitment. Often, if a partner is indifferent when his/hercompanion flirts with other people, it signifies a lack ofcommitment. On the other hand, if the partner gets jealous, itsignifies the depth of his/her emotional involvement. In this way,the partner involves in a revenge relationship can establish whetherhis/her partner is committed or not. Therefore, by convincing thepartner that he/she is surrounded by competitors and rivals, thepartner comes to believe that his/she is extraordinarily lucky to bewith a companion and, therefore, strengthens his commitment.

Revengerelationship seemed to work for only two of the seven participants.It is evident from these interviewees that arousing jealousy is a wayof protecting romantic relationships. Jealousy can be a naturalby-product of one partner’s desire to keep a relationship intimateand intact, since it is the strongest and most easily triggered. Onedistinct feature made from the two participants is that they flirtedwith people with distinguished characteristics such asattractiveness, and those with social dominant influence such asclass, power, money and success. This tends to add to their advantagein making their partner more jealous. For this reason, the revengerelationship raised an alarm of awareness of rivals, and the partnersendeavored to secure the position of the apple of their eye. Later,as love matures between the reconciled couples, security increasesand jealousy slips into the background.

However,revenge relationships did not work for all participants as four ofthem ended in violence, breaking up, and going on separate ways. Itis possible that these participants did not involve communication insolving their difference, since communication is an important factorin any relationship. Revenge relationships involve nonverbalstrategies such as flirting with others in an attempt to cause thepartner to feel jealous. In this case, it is possible that thejealous individual became violent and inflicted physical harm ontheir partner or rivals, leading to breaking up. Researchers havealso established that a jealous partner is most likely to engage inaggressive behaviors, manipulation, or threaten to use violenceagainst other people, especially their rivals. It should be notedconstructive communication is crucial, and it can help to win backthe partner, reduce violence and maintain the relationship.Increasingly reports show that people who engage in communication endup adopting new and positive behaviors such as giving gifts, andbecoming more affectionate and nice.

Inmy opinion, jealousy is the greatest source of anger and contempt ina relationship. This is so, because it raises insecurity and fear ina relationship, and most often, the partner becomes fearful thathe/she may be left for someone else. However, most people like thefact that their partners become jealous, since they correlatejealousy with care and concern. This may be true by within a periodof time, some partners can use jealousy to their advantage bybecoming controlling. Alternatively, one partner can act withjealousy to try to keep a relationship together. In real sense,jealousy rarely brings people closer together and often breaks themapart. Rivalry and violence with people who talk to your significantother does not make the relationship any stronger, but weak.Attacking people who talk or flirt with your partner does not keepthem from talking to other people if they choose.

Inresponse to Rima, it is evident that his boyfriend does not deny anyallegations on flirting, going on dates and movies. The boyfriend haspreviously been on various trial and error relationships, meaningthat it is difficult for him to give up old habits. I would notrecommend a revenge relationship for Rima, because she should notforce the boyfriend to be with her because, but he should do itbecause he wants to. As mentioned earlier, revenge relationship canbe controlling, and if a partner is going to be unfaithful, it willhappen eventually no matter what Rima does. Rima should know betterthan when jealousy gets to be too much, the boyfriend she is afraidof losing may finally leave. The boyfriend might leave, maybe notbecause he became interested with another person, but because herjealousy was smothering. In short, I would advice Rima to move on andlook for a person who is be in a relationship on the ground offaithfulness and respect. Therefore, people should know better thatthere are better ways of protecting romantic relationships, such aswith thoughts, feeling and actions, than by using jealousy.