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.