Thursday, January 29, 2009

Cultural Awareness Ch. 5 (Text Book Journal #1)

According to Doman Lum culture is defined as the “transmission of beliefs, values, traditions, customs, and practices from one generation to the next”, and awareness is defined as “conscious attention and knowledge through the mind and the senses” (125).

I love the quote by Reynolds stating that “cultural self-awareness is the vital first step toward cultural sensitivity.” (125) Becoming aware of ones own culture will go a long way in approaching someone who is of another culture. So many times we can use what the media states to determine how a particular group of people will behave and about their characteristics. When we only see how the media portrays a particular group, stereotypes are formed. On different occasions I have had people say to me that they have characterized a particular group of people because of the media or their experiences. For example, they say that all blacks are lazy, all Spanish people are sneaky, all Chinese people are smart, and the list goes on.

Self Cultural Awareness, or becoming aware of my own biases was not always the easiest thing to do for me to do. I did not want to believe that I could have a bias or think that I viewed a particular group in a certain way based of what I heard. After putting some time into thinking, I have realized that I do have my own biases or prejudices. When I was younger I thought that all white people hated black people. I remember when I had seen on television the Ku Klux Klan being interviewed and heard their hatred toward blacks. I was also taunted and teased because the color of my skin. Those two experiences changed me and shaped how I saw white people. I thought they were very racist toward all blacks and any other race that was not one of them.

After I became aware of my bias and prejudice, I had to change the way I thought. I started to realize that not all people who were white hated black people. I started to build relationships with people who were Caucasian, I saw that the individual, not a group of people that who hated black people. Now as a young woman that hopes to be a social worker, I have worked through my bias and prejudice. I can now approach all people of different cultures as individuals who are all different, have their beliefs and customs.

Personal Journal #2

What are your most common thoughts and feelings when you encounter people who are different from yourself?

The first thought that comes to my mind when I encounter someone different from myself is, “What are they?” I want to know where they are from. I am more of an observer, so I will not speak my mind at first but just wonder who they are. I might feel anxious and nervous at first encounter with someone who is different from me.
I remember when I first encountered someone who was mentally challenged; I did not know what to think but to observe from the side. I have never seen anyone in person that was mentally challenged except from what I have seen on television. I was very nervous, and I wondered “It is true that they are crazy and loud?” and “Are they out of control?” I did not want to get to close to them but be far from anyone that was mentally challenged. I was young then, but as I got older, I started to realize that yes, they are different but I must not only look at who they are on the outside but the inside. We all are different, have our challenges and weaknesses, and are not perfect at all but that should not stop me from getting to know someone no matter if they are mentally challenged or anyone of any form or shape.
Before I was sixteen years old, I never met anyone that was a Muslim. At the age of sixteen, I got my first job at a grocery store. I was shocked to have seen Muslims in the work place. My first thought when I encounter someone who was a Muslim, is “What do they believe in?” I never knew what Muslims believed in about Christ Jesus. I wondered why they believe that women should be covered head to toe. I wanted to know more about their culture. Again, I am more of an observer and very curious. I am not a person that will bluntly speak the first thing that comes to my mind. I know for myself that I can think very sinful things, but I must watch what I say because I know the tongue is very powerful. Well, back at my job, soon enough I started to have conversation a young lady that was a Muslim. She was so nice and I could tell that she loved who she was as a Muslim. And my curiosity about her and any other Muslim would not change who they are and what they believe.

Monday, January 26, 2009

This Week Thought

I was invited by my mentor to join her in a Hmong fellowship and it was so great to fellowship with my brothers and sisters in the Faith. Well, during the fellowship I talking with a young lady about her experience in Wisconsin, which has a community of Hmongs. I was told how badly it was for some Hmong because the lack of money they had. I was really sadden by the story of a little boy who's shoes had holes in them. When he went to school, his socks were wet all day walking in school. I was amazed at the young lady heart as she wanted to help the community of Hmong in Wisconsin. I know as social workers we can do so much to help people who in some way are suffering or needs help. I felt while listening to her story, that we as social workers, matter that we can make a difference.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

1st Thought

Today I went to my social work class called "Understanding Diverse Populations". I am trully excited as to what I can learn about other cultures.

Monday, January 19, 2009

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