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Child of Many Worlds: Focus on the Problem of Ethnic Minorities

Hanna Liberska and Marzanna Farnicka

The sense of isolation and even rejection is well known to people from minority groups, including ethnic minorities. When it comes to children from ethnic minorities, the quick identification of the problem by teachers is of great importance. Anyway the problem must be realised not only by the educators and parents of the children of the minority, but also by the parents representing the cultural majority. The presented approach to the problem of ethnic minorities is not only oriented towards the social exclusion of the ethnic minorities, but tries to create a comprehensive strategy for dealing with «new faces of exclusion». The authors describe ethnic minorities in the countries of the Visegrád Group and try to define their cultural and national identity from the perspective of intercultural psychology.
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Despite much effort directed to reach this goal, the contemporary world is not a peaceful and safe place. Certain global processes provoke in every culture responsive behaviour aimed at protecting safety and welfare or fighting for it. Although our civilisation promotes the freedom of individuals and equal opportunities, there are still barriers and limitations to the individual development of adults, children and youths and to their socio-cultural integration. The sense of isolation and even rejection is well known to people from minority groups, including ethnic minorities. In central and eastern Europe (particularly, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Ukraine) there are continuous threats to the process of acculturation and the idea of European integration, despite the attitude of most citizens, irrespective of whether they belong to an ethnic minority.

As follows from earlier studies, acculturation can generally be viewed as effective by the third generation of emigrant families. However, for some minorities even a presence for many generations in the environment of the majority does not lead to successful acculturation. Although, in general, situations threatening the harmonious coexistence of two or more cultures have a sporadic and individual character, it does happen that an accumulation of negative emotions can lead to armed conflict. In the past year such serious developments have been observed in Ukraine, where a strong conflict has developed between the Ukrainian majority and the Russian minority. On the micro-scale, phenomena dismantling the process of acculturation have been observed in Slovakia, Hungary, the...

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