you know you?
It seems so natural that all people are absolutely different
and there are no identical personalities in the entire world.
The fact that all of us have our own tastes, interests, preferences
and points of view guarantees the existence of this world.
The process of becoming a personality, in other words an individual
with one’s own point of view and behavior, might take
a long time because people often need to try different roles
and masks till they are able to choose the one that suits
them. The diversity of society makes it vivid and progressing.
It is difference of people that attracts them to each other
and induces them to communicate and learn more about each
other. However, such diversity of individuals makes our life
both fascinating and full of controversies. Due to the difference
between people, we have racism, discrimination, oppression,
based on stereotypes, which prevent people of different races
and nationalities from equal development and equal rights
in the society.
The development of an identity is a complicated and many-sided
process. It is influenced by the society, by the family and
certainly, by the traditions and customs, which are characteristic
of a particular nationality. Taking into account the rapid
process of globalization, today adherence to traditions is
of great importance in all big countries. Difference of people
is especially visible when a country is rich in different
nations and ethnic minorities, which all together make the
society multinational and diverse. America is a telling illustration
of a country that united thousands of people of different
nationalities and became home for all of them. Since there
is a great possibility to be either assimilated with millions
of other people or oppressed and discriminated, it is indispensable
to preserve your self-identity and your national consciousness
in this “melting pot”. Traditions and customs
are essential for full-fledged personality development. They
form spiritual wealth of a person and contribute to his or
However, modern society is often unwilling to accept other
people the way they are. At first sight, it seems quite strange
that the majority of people does not want to admit the fact
that all of them are individuals and everybody has a right
to have their own unique beliefs, habits and ways of life.
People are usually guided by the wish to be superior to others
and to oppress them due to this superiority. Therefore, they
take every chance to find any drawback in others and to accuse
them in their imperfection and their incompatibility with
Very often, all these so-called drawbacks are nothing more
than prejudice that is the foundation of most of social conflicts.
If there are no grounds for conflicts, people can imagine
them in order to humiliate others and to tower above them.
Prejudice helps weak people to assert themselves and believe
in their omnipotence. In spite of the reasons, people’s
discrimination has the same history and the same roots in
any time and in any country.
Such situation always leads to the desire of many young people
of different nationalities to reject their background and
to assimilate as soon as possible with the society they live
in, which comprises a great number of people, who have already
lost their sense of national identity and have no intention
to link up with their heritage and history.
Nowadays the problem of racism is acute and needs mush attention.
It becomes very close to ethnocentrism, which has a lot of
interpretations, but they can be reduced to one meaning and
it means to look down at people, who are different from you,
and to put your ethnic group in the center of the universe.
Ethnocentrism leads to miscommunication, appearance of stereotypes
and these factors have a serious damage on the cross-cultural
communication. (Thompson, 27)
In general, World War II was an illustrative example of racism.
Adolf Hitler and the Nazi showed the unprecedented case of
racism. The Holocaust, made by them, went down in history
as one of the most horrible and devastating manifestations
of racial discrimination. Being a territory that combines
many countries with different cultures and besides, attracting
immigrants from other continents, Europe witnessed many times
different conflicts owing to racism. The most dangerous and
alarming tendency, apparent nowadays, is the revival of Nazism,
so-called Neo-Nazism, in certain European countries. Numerous
attacks against Arabs and Jews appear in Italy, France, Spain,
Greece, etc. (Derald, 126)
All these manifestations of ethnocentrism have a very negative
influence on the discriminated identity. Existing stereotypes
ruin personalities and drive them to hostility in return.
Young people who are not able to assert themselves in the
society start drinking and taking drugs in order to feel more
self-confident and to be able to stand up for themselves.
Besides being effective in struggle with stereotypes, drug
and alcohol abuse becomes an essential part of young people
maturing. Teenagers are especially subject to psychological
instability. Young people begin to drink at about thirteen
years old when their main aim is to assert themselves. Drugs
and alcohol help them to feel free and independent and to
do the things that are forbidden for them. Usually being controlled
by their parents, they long to break all the rules and bans.
It is proved by the statistics that the largest percent of
substance abused men (17 – 24 %) is among those aged
between eighteen and twenty-nine. Girls start drinking even
earlier than boys do and it is a well-known fact that women’s
alcoholism is difficult to cure and it has grave consequences
Considering everything, a person faces a great number of obstacles
while searching for his own individuality. Being oppressed
and neglected because of their race or nationality, trying
to assert themselves, people often make mistake and take wrong
decisions. Some of them resort to drugs and alcohol; others
play different roles, adapting to situations and never being
frank, even with themselves. Thus, people lose their identity
and blend with a crowd of other characterless people. Meanwhile,
the fact that some people try to make advantage of their difference
and make it the reason for the humiliation of others is hard
to understand. In the context of modern globalization people
should realize that racism, ethnocentrism, any prejudice should
be eradicated as there is no place for discrimination in our
society. The difference of people is a fact, which should
be accepted and appreciated, as it is this otherness that
makes our life, life.
Derald, W. S. Overcoming Our Racism: The Journey to Liberation.
Pham-Kanter Genevieve. “Substance Abuse and Dependence”.
Northeeast State. April 17, 2008 http://www.northeaststate.edu:2384/ps/retrieve.do?sgHitCountType=None&sort=RELEVANCE&inPS=true&prodId=GVRL&userGroupName=tel_a_nestcc&tabID=T003&searchId=R1&resultListType=RESULT_LIST&contentSegment=&searchType=BasicSearchForm¤tPosition=1&contentSet=GALE%7CCX3405601509&&docId=GALE|CX3405601509&docType=GALE
Thompson, W., Hickey J. Society in Focus. Boston, MA: Pearson,