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Understanding Cultural Differences, Social Values, and Change


In this section:

Our Social Values
Should The Child Be Taught Checklist

Our Social Values

Many of our social values come from the ethnic group we identify with. For example, people from one ethnic group might feel it is important to control one's emotional expressions while people from another ethnic group might positively value intense emotional expression.

Sometimes it is difficult to understand why some people would believe in values so different from our own values. Our values work for us so why shouldn't they work for others as well? If our hard work and dedication made us a success we expect others to work hard to be successful. So, when we encounter an able adult who expects to be taken care of, we tend to judge that person by our own standards.

Sometimes we think we know a person's values because we know their ethnic group. For example, we might have read or heard about Chinese-Americans being careful not to bring dishonor or shame to their families. Then, when we see someone who looks like she could be Chinese-American not wanting to talk about her trouble with her father, we conclude it is because she does not want to dishonor her family.

Let's look at our own values before we explore the values of others.


Should The Child Be Taught Checklist


Every ethnic group has child-rearing practices which reflect that group's values. To discover your values, check one of the boxes for each item below.


Should a child be taught ...



to respect and accept the obligations of the parents.

to become an independent person.


to be motivated by the challenge of competition.

to be motivated by the benefits of cooperation.


to confront problems and interpersonal relations directly.

to be sensitive and avoid embarrassing confrontations.


to most importantly value what they do or achieve.

to most importantly value who they are or the quality of their being.


to feel that everyone is equal.

that there are levels of status relative to age, gender, or family role.

Next click on the "Apply" button below to continue your exploration of social values.