Cognitive social psychology describes the “self” as a dynamic, flexible, and complex set of self-conceptions, emotions, images and memories that are stored in the long-term memory. Some of the self-related material in working memory is associated with the transient conditions of the present time frame. These self-conceptions serve the important function of guiding behavior, affection, and perception. Core self-conceptions are enduring and stable self-conceptions tend to endure over time, and are activated across situations which mean they influence a person in giving meaning to circumstances and choice on how to behave.
The perspective about the self in the memory has been referred to as the self-structure where it is proposed that the self-related memory representations are not neutral, but rather carry with them an emotional quality or evaluation tone known as valence (Zephyr 91). Because self-evaluation is based on the prevailing norms and expectations of the cultural milieu, the meaning of the valence component of the core-descriptions is likely to show cultural specificity in which the positive and negative associations are mutually based. Positive and negative associations
Cultures have been described in terms of interpersonal values they socialize in their members. Culture is the patterns of social institutions, relationships, and expectations that guide the development of culturally competent individuals. The social values and practices are the major basics in the cultural construction of the positive and negative social associations in a society’s culture. The Haitian culture has been overtly portrayed on racial terms by many white writers something that African American writers have been deconstructing to dispel these negative associations.
On the positive associations, anybody who is Haitian upholds highly about his/her self-conceptions will regard everything with self-esteem and more so respect his/her culture; trying to paint a positive image of it. Zephyr (118) points out that Haitians are to some extent positive about their culture and that is the reason why they would like very much to change the negative perceptions the world has. Their music has transcended class boundaries expressing the greatness of the people’s culture and their nation at large.
People who talk well of themselves usually have that attitude that keeps their cultural boundaries open to constructive criticism for the better. Superstitions which have for a long time dwarfed development and people’s association are being negated for a society that embraces change. Haitians have changed the African American negativism by whites which has brought new light on the racial issues as a people with equal dignity and who are supposed to be respected. Haiti had remained in the dark and students and other groups have drummed up support in peeling away the darkness and letting people learn more about the place and its people.
The United States initially viewed Haiti as a threat to its existence but now that has changed with the view of Haiti as a nation that contributes to its well-being. The historical slave revolution of Haiti is very much part of its proud history. Haiti is considered as a beacon of hope for its model of self-emancipation. This much inspired Negroes in slave plantation to rise and strive for their liberties which were held at ransom by the slave masters. It also strikes positively that Haitians fought bravely against French troops which points to the strong urge among the people to resist oppression from the white masters.
Their culture has been without intrusion for many years which has accounted for the people’s strong will of independence leading to self-conceptions that glorifies their lives. The positive self-descriptions of the Haitian people therefore fits within their cultural frame because of the image as a free people from the chains of colonization which are to blame in many African countries for denigrating indigenous cultures, leading to many Africans neglecting their butchered cultural values (Zephyr 89).
The critique of the cultural practices of Haitians has provided culturally relevant psychiatric practice very important in the cultural mindset of the Haitians. However, the Haitian culture has not been without negative self-descriptions that are to account for the stereotypes which have influenced the society in a great way. Gender issues, like in every other patriarchal society in the world rears the ugly muzzle to the world view. Also, the Voodoo culture has had negative effects on the socio-economic and political advancement of Haitians.
Zephyr (108) reminds us that the belief in cultural practices that hinder development due to inhibiting beliefs that changes will be a bad omen to the society are to blame for the situation of Haitians. The negative stereotypes are of bad influence on the self-conceptions and description which are normally based on the cultural milieu of the people. The voodoo belief has bad influence on the economic bearing in that some practices deny people the opportunity to enterprise in what can economically uplift their living standards.
With this culture bearing impact on the mindset of people, ignorance and backwardness set in which make the associations with other people very difficult as these have moved from the perspective of stereotype to beliefs that oppress the people. Like any other society, oppression of women is evident on gender lines, with boy-girl privileges at stake, where education for the male child is done at the expense of the girl who might be a better achiever than the boy. But the Haiti society is changing to adapt to changes that have affected all societies in the world.
Neglecting the oppressive beliefs has been a step towards building that global society that embraces change negating the ignorance of many indigenous societies of the past. With these changes, the perspective or the view of the world on Haiti has still remained negative with efforts made by the Haitian society not recognized (Zephyr 122). These degenerative views on Haiti need to change and the world to view the big picture of a changing society for there is no society without blemish.
In conclusion, the positive and the negative associations in any society are embedded in the cultural frame of that society, and there is no way one can define such a society without meeting such associations. Whether positive or negative associations, they can be understood on the cognitive social psychology in terms of the self-conceptions defined by the larger cultural milieu. Societies due to globalization influence are changing and so should be our perceptions on particular societies like the Haitians. Works Cited Zephyr, Flore. The Haitian Americans. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 2004.
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