Welcome to the Bicultural Active Living Lifestyle (BALL) Campaign! We are thrilled to introduce you to a new way of thinking about health and healthy living: Bicultural Health Living as an approach to one’s health. Bicultural Healthy Living is the ability of immigrants and refugees to bridge two cultures, the host culture and their cultures of origins, into one that allows them to live healthfully and happily.
Worldwide, cultural diversity has been evolving within and across communities, and continuously changes over time. It’s been shaped by human mobility and aspiration. Biculturalism describes those who master the rules and norms of their new culture without abandoning their own language, values and social support. It refers to a sense of belonging to a broader cultural community based upon common humanity, promoting the ‘Cultural Resilience’ that integrates diverse cultures together. Often, different cultures have also shared this integration concept. For example, the American Indian culture encourages their youth to be like “Little Turtle.” Little Turtle needs to know how to move between water and land: navigate and survive in two cultures. In Chinese philosophy, it suggests the balance between Yin (“shady side”) and Yang (“sunny sides”) between two different perspectives.
It is also as a way of living, understanding, acting and relating oneself to others and the environment in space and in time, based on universal values, through respect for diversity and pluralism. In this context, each individual’s life has implications in day-to-day decisions that connect to their root culture and other diverse cultures around them, and vice versa.
Until recently, Biculturalism was considered mainly in the perspective of partnership for ethnic minorities in a mainstream cultural environment, with different levels of biculturalism: assimilation, acculturation, alternation, multicultural and fusion models. However, new concepts of Biculturalism and Bicultural identity are emerging that are relevant to globalization: ‘a compression of time and space.’ Biculturalism has been considered in the absence of peoples’ geographical displacement. Many argue that most people around the world will develop a different form of bicultural identity, combining their local identity with an identity linked to the global culture. This phenomenon is particularly relevant in adolescents, as contemporary urban teenagers worldwide tend to follow similar consumption patterns and integrate with their ancestral cultures.
Bicultural Healthy Living
- An attitude supported by an understanding of multiple levels of cultural identity, and the potential for a ‘collective identity,’ which transcends individual cultural, religious, ethnic or other differences;
- An understanding to support people of color from an asset-based approach by identifying the cultural implications and skills from their diverse life experiences and translate them into success, instead of a deficit approach to start what people don’t have;
- A deep knowledge of bicultural healthy living through universal values such as justice, equality, dignity and respect;
- A group of Cognitive Skills to think critically, systemically and creatively, including adopting a multi-perspective approach that recognizes the different cultures, perspectives and angles of issues;
- A group of Non-Cognitive Skills including social skills such as empathy, resiliency and conflict resolution, communication skills and aptitudes for networking and interacting with people of different backgrounds, origins, cultures and perspectives; and
- A group of Behavioral Capacities to act collaboratively and responsibly to find cross-cultural solutions for local/regional/national/global challenges, and to strive for the collective good.