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8 Cultural Conflicts That Make Us Who We Are

Jun 12, 2013 | Updated Aug 12, 2013

As the world gets smaller and hotter, people with different cultural backgrounds are fighting more than ever before. White people argue that racial discrimination is no longer a problem, while Black people and Latinos argue that discrimination is keeping them down. Women are crashing into the glass ceiling at the top of the corporate ladder, while men are falling off the ladder altogether. Religious conservatives mourn the loss of "one nation, under God," while religious liberals mourn the loss of the boundary between church and state. And while wealthy nations of the Global North grumble that the poor nations of the Global South are corrupt and violent, Global Southerners grumble that Global Northerners are cold and heartless.

Although each of these conflicts seems distinct, our book, Clash! 8 Cultural Conflicts That Make Us Who We Are, shows that most of them stem from the same root cause: the clash of independence and interdependence. All of us have two sides to our selves: an independent side that wants to be separate, unique, and in control; and an interdependent that wants to be connected, similar, and cooperative.

Depending on your particular mix of cultures, you tend to use one side of your self more than the other. Tensions flare when people using their independent side interact with people using their interdependent side. This clash of independence and interdependence ignites not only everyday disputes between genders, races, and social classes, but also regional, religious, and national conflicts.

We are not doomed to fight over our differences, however. Once you know your unique cultural mix and which side of your self you tend to use, you can better navigate the cultural divides that define the 21st century.

Are you more independent or more interdependent? Click through the slides below to learn more about the eight cultural conflicts that define the 21st century. Then take our quiz to discover whether you are more independent or interdependent. Once you know which side of your self you tend to use, you can better understand the disagreements in your daily life, as well as within your own multicultural self.

Cultural Conflicts that Make Us Who We Are