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Materials on Multiculturality

Language is Thought

A good portion of the vocabulary used in the current American discussion of diversity is spurious. It is riddled with hidden meaning or used to control or divide cultures through acceptable derogatory passibility, sometimes unbeknownst to the user. While writing Dance Theatre of Harlem: A History, A Movement, A Celebration, we confronted hundreds of instances where word choice concerning multiculturality had to be carefully engineered. Early on in our writing, out of necessity, we began to choose our defining terms. This meager attempt at lexicography stemmed from the need and desire to name people and cultures through accurate, respectful, inclusive, and defining word choices. Our approach to diversity came from deep bone and blood conversations about our lives, how we identify with our own African, Asian, Sicilian, and Croatian ancestry, how we identify others, and how others identify us. The United States of America has a long tradition of using derogatory slurs for its melting-pot ethnicities. The term African American for example, has an interesting and fluid transition from Negro, to Colored, to Black, to African American. Language is in constant flux. Acronyms abound in the world of digital texting, which further complicates communication. We searched and favored words that say what they mean with grace, style, and equity. 

Wordlist of Multiculturality

  • active engagement
  • African American
  • African-American heritage
  • African ancestry
  • African descent
  • African heritage
  • African roots
  • Afrocentric
  • Afro-Caribbean
  • African-Cuban
  • Afro-American
  • Afro-Cuban
  • Afrocultural
  • Afro-dominant
  • Afro-European
  • American
  • Anglo-American
  • anticultural
  • anti-culturalism
  • anti-heritage
  • Asia-centric
  • Cape Verdian-American
  • chromadiverse
  • chromadiversity
  • chromatic variety
  • colorism
  • complexion color
  • countercultural
  • cross-cultural
  • cross-culturality
  • cross-cultural bias
  • cross-cultural interactions
  • cross-cultural engagement
  • cross-cultural bias
  • cultural adaptation
  • cultural allies
  • cultural appropriation
  • cultural bias
  • cultural cleansing
  • cultural diversity
  • cultural domination
  • cultural engagement
  • cultural equality
  • cultural equity
  • cultural heritage
  • cultural humility
  • cultural inclusivity
  • cultural insensitivity
  • cultural parity
  • cultural tolerance
  • culturally diverse
  • culturally inclusive
  • culturally insensitive
  • culturally divisive
  • culturally exclusive
  • descent
  • disassembly of
  • disadvantaged
  • diversity
  • diversity politics
  • Eastern-European-Americans
  • engagement
  • equality
  • ethno-cultural
  • ethno-culturally
  • Euro-American
  • Euro-American advantage
  • Euro-American fragility
  • Euro-American privilege
  • Euro-American superiority
  • Eurocentric
  • Eurocentrism
  • Eurocentrist
  • Euro-cultural
  • Euro-dominant
  • European-American
  • Euro-privilege
  • gender diversity
  • gender equity
  • heritage bias
  • heteronormative standards
  • heteronormative traditions
  • historically underrepresented
  • implicit bias
  • intercultural
  • intercultural engagement
  • intersectionality
  • knowledge filtration
  • Latino-centric
  • Latinx
  • marginalized culture
  • multicultural
  • multiculturalism
  • multiculturalist
  • multiculturality
  • multiculturally inclusive
  • nationality
  • Nordic-American
  • normativity
  • North-European-American
  • othering
  • prejudice
  • procultural
  • selective knowledge
  • skin-tone
  • socio-cultural context
  • tokening
  • tokenism
  • white fragility
  • xenophobia

Here are definitions of culturality as used in this book.

culture: From anthropology: Culture is the cumulative deposit of (singularly or together) the folk arts, fine arts, knowledge, traditions, dress, ways, personality, customs, behaviors, attitudes, roles, material objects, liturgies, rituals, hierarchies, norms, institutions and other phenomena, memes or notions that are extant or found in any social group or nationality of homo sapiens transmitted through generations

culturation: Those social, psychological memes and ways instilled in a person when born and raised in a certain community because of contact thus gaining that culture’s personality. Example: Aiko is Japanese because she was born into and raised by her family in Japan.

acculturation: is a two-way social, psychological, and cultural change process that takes place when there is a meeting of two cultures. It is natural assimilation. Both cultures may feel impact. Example: Paulo, a Sicilian-Croatian American could rap and break dance very well because he was raised in an African-American community in Washington, D.C.. Also: acculturative, adj. Also: Acculturated arts: Arts that are shared, derived or combined with the art of another culture.

enculturation: is a social, psychological, and cultural change process that helps an individual absorb social values; when an individual learns the traditional content of a culture and assimilates its practices and values. Example: Paul, a Sicilian-Croatian, had to learn the Japanese language and Japanese customs before he served as an American Ambassador to Japan. inculturation: is adaptive; adapting (the public practice of a religion) to the specific conditions of a given culture, in order to facilitate that culture’s acceptance of the religion, or art. Judy, a Japanese/African American ballerina was permitted to wear tights to match her skin-tone to perform Giselle.

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