1Culture and Ethnicity Ethnicity became a viable term for discourse in the recent 20th century. The perception of ethnicity became the concept by which an individual or a community of separate individuals saw themselves apart from others in proximity to themselves. This individual or internal communal assessment led these individuals to perceive themselves as either subordinated or excluded from the mainstream. A further examination of the meaning of ethnicity would encompass the language, the religious beliefs, and certain patterns of behaviour, which were described as the content of the groups cultural composition.
Prior to the 1940’s, the working definition for ethnicity, was simply a biological depiction, which was based on physical differences. However, ethnicity as a social theory challenged the attempts to merely use physical appearance to elucidate the differences between persons. While members of any given ethnic minority may exhibit and express exclusivity in their ethnic status, whereas ones ethnicity is a state of ones being. On the other hand, ones culture is the state of ones co-existence, .( values, beliefs, practices, and rituals) there may not be any perimeters or limitations placed on the cultural leanings.
The individualistic approach to cultural psychology also finds expression in the work of Jaan Valsiner. Valsiner seeks to combine the symbolic and individualistic approaches. Thus, he recognizes that there is a collective culture of socially shared meanings. However, "belief systems that exist within a collective culture do not have an effect in the sense of being copied directly (or appropriated) by individuals. Instead, they constitute resources from which active persons construct their own (personal) belief 2structures" (Lightfoot & Valsiner, 1992, p. 395).
Valsiner argues that individuals construct a personal culture within collective culture. Culture is thus partly shared and partly personal. Since individuals contribute a personal element to culture, they "co-construct" culture. The point above is made in a study conducted by Bently, et al. (1999) "Infant Feeding Practices of Low-Income, African-American Adolescent Mothers”, wherein they note that several studies show the addition of semi-solid foods as early as one to two weeks of age, and that their results confirmed that it is the "cultural norm to feed cereal in the bottle and to feed other semi-solid foods within the first month of life. " Additionally, that the infant's maternal grandmother's advice on feeding played a dominant role in deciding what the infant should eat and the timing of introduction of solid foods.
Adolescent mothers frequently accepted their mother's opinions over the advice of health professionals. One of the commonly noted characteristics of ethnic minority populations is their collectivistic orientation, (Mok & Matthews 2003) which views the family rather than the individual as the primary unit of focus. Despite the widespread focus on the family among diverse populations, psychology has essentially maintained its focus on the individual.
Different theories of ethnic identity suggest that for adolescents of color, a healthyidentification with one’s ethnic group is a psychological buffer against prejudice anddiscrimination (e. g., Cross, 1991;Phinney, 1996; Sellers et al, 1998) Numerous studies3have looked at the implications of positive ethnic or racial identification on ethnic