Acculturation is the exchange and gradual adaptation of different cultural beliefs and practices of two different groups. This is usually as a result of constant contact with one another. However, the two cultural groups remain distinctly different from each other. Acculturation mainly occurs between two groups that are such that one is a minority while the other is a majority. Therefore, the majority group dominates the minority group. Acculturation has its pros and its cons. Most of the difficulties faced by people going through the acculturation process are mainly social dilemmas leading to psychological effects.
One of the major difficulties that individuals tend to face due to the acculturation process is confusion emanating from conflicting cultural norms. This is especially the case for people who are from societies that are hugely attached to their cultural norms when trying to adapt to a more open-minded culture. An example of this is a transition from a Chinese culture, for example, to Western culture. Particularly, the Chinese people have been viewed as a people with great value for their culture. This has been clearly illustrated through the inclusion of these cultures in the course of education. This is an indication of their value for education as well as their culture. On the other hand, The American culture, for instance, is less conservative and individualism seems to be highly encouraged. This is because Americans are more open-minded and give free will to natives in terms of their choices without feeling entangled within their culture. Therefore, a Chinese acculturating the Chinese and American culture would be faced with difficulties due to the diversity in the two cultures. This is because the person would be confused on what is right or wrong. This is because of the existing large gap between the two cultures.
Another problem that people tend to face in the acculturation process is the reverse culture shock. This is whereby both the host culture and the passport culture result in the individuals affected feeling lost in a world that they no longer understand. They are neither comfortable in their host culture nor in their passport culture. These individuals are faced with constant unpredictability, fear and anxiety. These individuals are no longer at peace with themselves. Moreover, they end up being unable to trust their instincts anymore. Eventually, these people may end having the feeling of not knowing where it is that they belong. As such, they have to be cautious about every little thing that they do, think or even say.
Reverse culture shock may cause individuals to be withdrawn from the society and even their families. These individuals become alienated and are filled with resentment, anger and bitterness. They are constantly found to be angry with themselves and the world at large. The reasons for this anger could be the continued wastefulness of their culture being wasted away due to the acculturation. They end up being judgmental about their home culture and are always angry at the changes occurring within and around them. Good examples of people who undergo this problem are church missionaries. As they adapt in their destination countries in order to preach the word of God to the natives, they end up losing some of their cultural practices in order to fit in within these societies. After the mission is over, they return home and they may feel that they no longer share similar perceptions with the people that they have known all their lives. As a result, they may end up feeling as though they no longer belong in the midst of their own culture. This is an indication that the reverse culture shock may cause individuals their security of feeling like they belong somewhere amongst the rest of the society.
The school going children and adolescents may also be adversely affected by acculturation. This is because of the fact that they may be subjected to adverse changes in the learning process that they are already conversant with from their home culture. For instance, a previously homeschooled child may lack to fit in a regular school. Even more adverse is the fact that they could have to learn in classrooms that accommodate very many students. This could lower their performance at school. Previously, such children were already adapted to the fact that the teacher gives all the attention to them. However, in the new environment, they may end up feeling less valued since the teacher has numerous students to attend to at the same time. This may result in poor grades or even low self-esteem. Eventually, the performance of such children may end up deteriorating.
Religious people may also be adversely affected. This is because of the existing differences between religions. Once exposed to all the religions, individuals may end up feeling like their religion is lacking when they make comparisons with the other religions. Drawing conclusions on which religion is better than the other could also result in individuals feeling angry because of the judgments that their religion could be misleading them. Regardless of whether or not there is anything wrong with their religion, these individuals may end up feeling confused. This results in the development of a spiritual problem. Eventually, these individuals may end up being resentful in life or doing things that are attributed to the confusion that they feel. For instance, missionaries who go out to preach the word of God but end up facing financial problems. In order to fix this problem, they may be forced to raise money in whichever manner. As a result, they could end up feeling guilty and feeling as though they are not fulfilling their intended purpose of preaching. This could result in spiritual problems. Eventually, such people may end up being suicidal. This is highly attributed to acculturation and its impacts.
Another problem associated with acculturation is the fact that individuals undergoing this phase may end up suffering from mental disorders. This is highly attributed to the depression, anger and anxiety because of the changes occurring around them and within them. As these individuals try to search their identities within their host culture, the confusion resulting from the same may be so extreme that they may end up losing their minds. This is mainly attributed to the fact that they may lack acceptance to let o some of their beliefs or to accept some other norms. In the process of acculturation, the desperation within them may put too much pressure on them to handle. Eventually, these individuals may suffer mental disorders. Such individuals who suffer metal disorders should ensure that they seek medical assistance before the problem extends further beyond any repair.
In conclusion, it is evident that the effects of acculturation may cause huge losses in terms of humanity value. It is extremely crucial that the acculturating individuals remain open-minded. It is also vital that they should be ready to let go some of their practices. However, it is important that a professional prepare them psychologically on the changes that they should expect as a result of the acculturation process. This could reduce the impacts when reality strikes. This psychological preparation could also ensure that these individuals are willing to give the acculturation process a positive view.