Getting Started and Connecting
Module 01: Cultural Responsiveness: Bridge the Gaps of Culture
Module 02: Deconstructing Barriers of Cultural Responsiveness
Module-03: Evaluating and Measuring Acculturative Stress
Module 04: The Culturally Responsive System (CRS): Creating a Solid Foundation
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Response 4

Marginalization (Deculturation): When individuals become alienated from their own and host cultures.

  • The marginalized student does not participate but does not drop the course.

When individuals use marginalization as a response to acculturative stress they have significantly more difficulty accessing effective learning experiences. Much of the cognitive bandwidth for learning is occupied not by learning, thinking, or memory, but rather the brain turns on its need to focus on self-preservation or ‘lifeguarding’. Lifeguarding occurs when individuals perceive high levels of prejudice, micro-aggressions, alienation, and isolation.  Psychological and social self-protection becomes the main cognitive process.  A brain cannot learn and lifeguard at the same time.

Like the term assimilation, the term marginalization (deculturation) is used more in the sociological context as a verb.  For example, someone might say, “Our local community is marginalizing X group of people” for X reason. This is also an appropriate use of the term marginalization and is true in larger social contexts. 

Marginalization (deculturization) is detrimental to human psychological and social experiences.  Some individuals select marginalization as a method of managing acculturative stress.  Individuals may also experience marginalization through encounters with the host culture. Engaging with dominant host cultures includes social interactions, including discrimination, stereotyping, and racism.  Similar experiences with marginalization were reported by systematically marginalized and racialized individuals within higher education institutions.

Marginalization is detrimental to psychological and social experiences associated with the acculturation process. Systematically marginalized and racialized individuals experience marginalization through social interactions that include macro-aggression, stereotyping, and discrimination. Racialized and systematically marginalized individuals might select marginalization as a response to acculturative stress. This could occur because past experiences with stereotyping or racism in conjunction with previously lived experiences provide similar experiences and perceptions within the current host culture.

Although individuals may select marginalization as a method of managing or responding to acculturative stress or the lack of cultural responsiveness in the environment, the same individuals may also experience marginalization through everyday encounters with the host culture.

Engaging with dominant host cultures has often included social interactions, including discrimination, stereotyping, and racism. Similar experiences with marginalization were reported by systematically marginalized and racialized learners within higher education settings.  Experiences included macro-aggression, stereotyping, and discrimination.

According to Hoffman (2003), more significant systemic issues take years to foster change.  Hoffman (2003) suggested that social change in the context of healthcare and education in American history often takes years and starts at the grassroots level. Addressing acculturative stress through cultural responsiveness must be understood. Because systemic change occurs slowly, practitioners feel overwhelmed by the amount of work still to get done.