Biculturalism is defined as being part of two originally distinct cultures in some form of co-existence. People are considered bicultural if they speak both the language of their heritage and the language of their current country of residence. Many Latinos live a bicultural life – we speak English at work with colleagues and speak Spanish at home with family and friends. Literature, food, entertainment, and the arts may all reflect being part of two distinctly different cultural heritages.
There are several advantages to being bicultural. Those living a bicultural life have a greater number people they interact with and, because they are so in tune with cultural differences, they often act as a go-between. Fluent knowledge of more than one language is also an added advantage. Bicultural individuals are able to assess things from one than one viewpoint and are able to create one cohesive whole much easier than those that do not have dual-perspective.
A negative aspect of biculturalism is that some feel that being a part of two cultures keeps people from feeling like they are truly a part of any one heritage. In some cases, it also leads to discrimination or bullying.
Living biculturally is something that begins at home through environment and upbringing. For some parents, it’s important to them that their children appreciate their ancestry but also to assimilate into the world they currently live in. It is a melding of where we have come from and where we are presently.
It seems that biculturalism is becoming the norm in many ways. People are not only in touch with the culture of their heritage but also with the culture of the country that they reside in and are bringing them together in new and exciting ways.
Biculturalism promotes a greater diversity and appreciation for the differences between ethnicities. In many ways, it creates more of a “melting pot” effect because of the blending of so many cultures. They key is to maintain the aspects of our ancestry that make it unique.