Friday, October 20, 2017

Understanding Your Cultural Identity

Understanding Your Cultural Identity

Culture is a human universal, present and important wherever human beings exist. Our values, traditions, practices, language, and norms all derive from our cultural group but most of us leave this aspect of our lives unexamined.  Not only does our culture shape our sense of reality and guide the options we see as available at every step, it also shapes the way others view us and how we view others. Whether we recognize it or not we are not only viewed as individuals but as members of particular cultural groups. Ambiguity or the inability to place a person into a recognizable cultural group can often cause anxiety amongst Americans. Many newly arrived immigrants to the United States hail from parts of the world with radically different social categories.

Each of us has a particular positionality, an outward identity that shapes to a large extent our interactions with others. Being aware of this identity, how it is likely to be perceived by others, and its origin, is the first step in learning to powerfully communicate, lead, manage, and create with those we perceive as being different from ourselves. The workshop explores why some people are seen as cultural and others left unmarked, the origin of the American social categories, demonstrating the patterned way we are likely to see people of differing positionalities, and most importantly how to transform the tensions of cultural difference into healthy self-awareness that allows for full and authentic relation with others. Particular attention is paid to each individual’s ethnic identity development across the lifespan, through guided introspection, interactive group work, personal inventories, and instructions for additional exercises strengthening your self-awareness and cultural competence beyond the timeframe of your workshops.

  • Content of each workshop can be customized for the particular needs of your group or organization.

  • Collaborative needs assessment can be scheduled to determine additional workshop objectives.

  • Customized activities and materials can also be developed to support your organizations particular needs.

“The last thing a fish would ever notice would be water” –Ralph Linton

Dr. Jay McKay Williams 

Jay Williams, Ph.D., is a scholar dedicated to developing cultural awareness and competency amongst Americans. As a Princeton University, and University of Chicago trained scholar, his trainings blend the rational and emotional approaches, challenging participants to not only place themselves within the broader context of American culture but to think reflexively about the perspectives of those around them. His training and facilitation experience includes working with hundreds of members of national service teams, government agencies, non-profit organizations, universities, civic organizations, and youth programs, predominately in the Washington, D.C. and Chicago areas. Currently he teaches Sociology, Anthropology, and other courses in the social sciences with an uncompromising humanist approach that allows him to bring people into closer relation with one another and a better understanding of each other.

Contact Jay:

Workshop name: Understanding Your Cultural Identity

  • When: TBD
  • Time: 8am – TBD
  • Where: TBD
  • Location: TBD
  • Cost: $400.00/person
  • Special pricing: $50.00/person discount for (4) or more participants from one organization
  • Other discounts: $5,500.00 for a private half day session for (20) participant


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