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The Role Socioeconomic Status, Cultural Context, and Ethnicity Plays on Development

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Today, more than ever, socioeconomic status, cultural context and ethnicity play a large role in human development. Without these factors we would not be able to function in society. These factors reflect how a person communicates and socializes with other people, and how a person is accepted in society. They help us make decisions in life. Each individual is its own unique person, responding to everyday life in their own way. Human development begins at birth, and the rest depends on these factors of development.

The first factor that affects development is our socioeconomic status. It is an indicator of a persons social and economic standing, measured through a combination of income, level of education, residency, occupation, and social status in the community. How does this affect development? Families with a high socioeconomic status often have more success because they typically have more access to more resources to improve their child’s development. They are able to afford high-quality child care and books that would encourage children to learn. Children from low socioeconomic status families lack the financial, educational and social support they need to be considered equal to children from high socioeconomic status families. These differences can cause a child to become unconfident, non-motivated, and even isolation from society. It is a problem that could stay with the child through adolescences and on into adulthood. It is only as an adult that the person has the independence and the ability to change his socioeconomic status. He makes the choice of where to live, what job to pursue, how he fits in society; becoming his own person.

The second factor that plays a role in development is cultural context. Culture is the specific manifestations of a social group’s design for life, developed over the years to provide a social structure for the group members’ life together, a system of a communication and learned knowledge. Culture values influence human development, affecting every person all the time, every moment of every day. Influences can make a difference in a person’s behavior, which could determine how successful that person becomes. The great thing about culture is the people make all the decisions. The way to dress, the way to cook food, certain rituals and social behavior.

Cultures throughout the world share their traditions with each other. How do you think Italian and Chinese cuisine became so popular in the United States? Think of all the different kind of food, clothing and even religion we have. It is all because of culture. Each person goes through life making decisions; our cultural context helps us quickly make a ruling and move on to the next obstacle in our lives, creating our on identity.

The last factor is ethnicity. Ethnicity is ethnic character, background, or affiliation of a group of people. It is the set of cultural characteristics that connect a particular group or groups of people to each other. Its role in development includes racial, cultural, economic, religion, political and linguistic issues. People of ethnic groups are usually culturally and biologically similar, usually belonging to a minority group that shares a desire to preserve culture, religion and traditions they were brought up with from birth. It may be skin color, hair type, clothing or religion issues that make a person ethnic, but the fact is we are all ethnic in some way. It all goes back to our heritage, when our ancestors began to migrate to the American society. Ethnic communities provided the social, economic, and political environments that began the migration. This brought economic values with it. Ethnic groups brought the skills to help the textile, clothing, mining, and construction industries. It doesn’t matter if your black, white, Hispanic, or from some other ethnic group, it is the role of ethnicity that develops us into the person we become.

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