3 Key CLR Principles for Understanding Use of Culturally Authentic Texts

1. Racial Identity is not Cultural Identity - The focus in CLR is on CULTURE, not race. Unfortunately, diversity in many texts is based on race. When considering culturally authentic  texts, it is important  to remember, and/or understand that racial identity, our biological DNA, has nothing to do with our cultural identity. Our cultural identities are connected to learned beliefs, behaviors and values. Our cultural identities frame the way we see the world, and interact with others. 

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2. Understanding the Rings of Culture  - Culture is broad and complex. Since there is no focus on race, the rings of culture is the lens for examining diversity. The rings of culture are a composite of who we are culturally. They inform how we see the world, interact with others, and move through daily life.  While race is not ignored in identifying CA texts, it is the rings of culture that most students will recognize and feel validated by. It is important to consider all the rings of culture people belong to, such as age/youth, gender, religion, class, nationality, and sexuality when looking for CA texts. 

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3. Ethnic Identity is Heritage, Home, and Who We Are - While  the rings of culture  help you  move beyond race, considering all the rings of culture that might be represented in a book, it is the Iceberg of Culture that will help you to understand and identify the nuances of ethnic identity that make a text truly authentic. It takes time to recognize the subtle unspoken rules of culture. When you are unsure, check with the experts.  Quality culturally authentic texts will include both obvious and nuanced examples of a groups cultural behavior, beliefs and values.