The Gap Theory And The Deficit Theory Essay

1019 Words Sep 28th, 2016 5 Pages
There is a common stereotype claimed from individuals of foreign areas that Americans are unwilling to embrace other cultures because they feel that their American way of life is the only sensible way of life. Through the media and within my own diverse circle of family and friends, I have seen this stereotype acknowledged countless times. While this is not limited to Americans, I found that I commonly feed into this idea that my American way of life is the correct way or the “number one” way of living. My experiences with number-one mentality and the deficit theory when communicating with individuals of different cultures has led to my reflection of how these interactions require one to step outside of his own culture in order to understand these different lifestyles.
According to Michael Agar (1994), those who experience a number-one mentality “have trouble understanding another culture” because they only attempt to look at other cultures through their own (p. 22). In relation to this, Agar (1994) introduces the deficit theory approach that occurs when one “notice[s] all the things that the other lacks when compared to [him or her]” (p. 23). Both the number-one mentality and the deficit theory work simultaneously as when one approaches another culture through the number-one mentality, he is choosing to see it from the perspective of his own culture rather than from inside of the other. This causes individuals to approach other cultures with the idea that anything foreign…

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