9

Practicing Awareness of Microaggressions

I encountered microaggressions in my home town and in my university’s hometown. It is not a good feeling. Sometimes you feel that you have done something wrong for being born in a culture where attitudes rests on negative stereotypes about individuals or groups because of their cultural, religious, racial, or ethnic background. Discrimination is the active denial of desired goals from a category of persons. A category can be based on sex, ethnicity, nationality, religion, language, or class. More recently, disadvantaged groups now also include those based on gender, age, and physical disabilities.

Prejudice and discrimination are deeply imbedded at both the individual and societal levels. Attempts to eradicate prejudice and discrimination must thus deal with prevailing beliefs or ideologies, and social structure.

The root cause of prejudice and discrimination appears to be no clear acceptance of any theory of causation. Scholars do agree, however, that prejudice and discrimination are not universals as something humans are inherently born with. There is ample evidence that prejudice and discrimination are social constructions. Prejudice and discrimination are inherent in the human condition.There is considerable evidence that prejudice is absent in young children (e.g. Allport, 1954). Fantastic!

There is no wide agreement as to the “cause” of prejudice and discrimination, there is a consensus that they constitute a learned behavior. The internalization of prejudice starts with parents and, later, teachers–the groups primary in the formation of attitudes within children. The media and social institutions solidify prejudicial attitudes, giving them social legitimacy. In a sense, it is incorrect to speak of “eradicating” prejudice, since prejudice is learned. (In a similar vein, one cannot eradicate evil except by ensuring the presence of goodness.) At best, one can reduce prejudice and discrimination. Society looks most often to education and legislation to alleviate prejudice and discrimination–for reasons still not clearly known, intergroup contact alone is not enough to reduce prejudice (Klineberg, 1968: 441)

Multicultural education, whether direct or indirect, constitute the mainstay of educational efforts to eliminate prejudice. On the other hand, the emphasis on civil rights, enlightened immigration policies, and mandates for quota hiring are the cornerstone of legal approaches to alleviating the effects of prejudice and discrimination. “The most overlooked area in resolving the problems of prejudice and discrimination lies in the web of close relationships where genuine feelings of love can be fostered and strengthened. The internalization of prejudice starts with parents and, later, teachers–the groups primary in the formation of attitudes within children. The media and social institutions solidify prejudicial attitudes, giving them social legitimacy. In a sense, it is incorrect to speak of “eradicating” prejudice, since prejudice is learned. (In a similar vein, one cannot eradicate evil except by ensuring the presence of goodness.) At best, one can reduce prejudice and discrimination. Society looks most often to education and legislation to alleviate prejudice and discrimination–for reasons still not clearly known, intergroup contact alone is not enough to reduce prejudice (Klineberg, 1968: 441). On one hand, multicultural education, whether direct or indirect, constitute the mainstay of educational efforts to eliminate prejudice. On the other hand, the emphasis on civil rights, enlightened immigration policies, and mandates for quota hiring are the cornerstone of legal approaches to alleviating the effects of prejudice and discrimination. The most overlooked area in resolving the problems of prejudice and discrimination lies in the web of close relationships where genuine feelings of love can be fostered and strengthened ( Henderson, 1993).

References:

Allport, Gordon W. (1958) The Nature of Prejudice. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley. A classic and important study.

Klineberg, Otto (1968) “Prejudice: The Concept” International Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences. New York: Macmillan and Free Press.: 439-448. A critique of conventional approaches to the study of prejudice and discrimination.

( Henderson, 1993). Reports submitted by the Bahá’í International Community the various United Nations agencies on the subject of the status of women, racism, genocide, and religious persecution, offer an international perspective of Bahá’í activities.

6

Perspectives on Diversity and Culture:

 Perspectives on Diversity and Culture:

Culture has many different meanings for many of us. For some it refers to an appreciation of music, art, food, clothing, things we discussed, even what we read. Cultures are not the product of just one person. Culture continuously evolve around a group of people sharing ideas and interacting with the environment. Cultural patterns such as language and politics make no sense except in terms of the interaction of people.

I was curious and wanted to know if my family member shared and viewed culture and diversity the way I viewed culture and diversity. I was elated to know that my family member shared her views on culture much the way we were taught and evolved in society and our region.

Family Member Response:

Culture is complexed, but diversity is easy for me because of our up-bringing and rules in our home. Culture is a belief, knowledge, morals, and customs shared by family members. Diversity is simply acceptance of other people beliefs as being real and important to them.

Friend Response:

     Diversity is showing no discrimination of minorities or other social groups different than my own. Diversity is being able to work with people from different groups and backgrounds, get along together without conflicts and fighting. Culture is the way we dress, the foods we eat, and how we act in the world.

Colleague Response:

   Culture is many different traditions that distinguishes social groups in a specific society. Culture refers language, traditions, morals, clothing, food, and beliefs that set peoples apart from others.  Diversity is a natural part of life and meant to serve the group and its members, allow the social groups to express themselves without biases. Society should embrace diversity through acceptance advancements from the contributions of their unique members. Diversity allows each social group to excel and celebrate their unique differences.

  • Which aspects of culture and diversity that I have studied in this course are included in the answers I received—and what are some examples?

All answers given from the three responses have validity. The three response related that culture is unique to its own social group. Our resource reading for this week, “ Beyond culture clash”: Understanding of immigrant experiences, illustrates the ways that culture and identity are constructed within the double movement of discourse and representation. It offers examples of how dominant representations create simplistic understandings of the identities of immigrant youth, as well as the ways youth are constructing new identities (Ngo, (2008). This is one example from the course reading that exemplify the true meaning of culture and identities.

In order to account for the complexity of different cultures and diversity in families’ experiences, and the ever-changing nature of culture and identity, we need to move beyond just understandings of culture and diversity and move forward in creating significant changes in attitudes.

  • Which aspects have been omitted—and what are some examples of such omission?

   The responses did not address the true meaning of family and how it relates to culture awareness and identity. Subjectivity has to come into play if we are going to truly address and understand how cultures are different and similar. As professionals, educators, policy makers, advocates, and community workers we must have an understanding of cultures that are different, yet we all share pride in our way of life.

  • In what ways has thinking about other people’s definitions of culture and diversity influenced my own thinking about these topics?

   I feel all cultures have universal traits, different cultures have developed their own specific ways of carrying out or expressing them. Culture and society are not the same thing.  While cultures are complexes of learned behavior patterns and perceptions, societies are groups of interacting social groups. In societies are groups of people who directly or indirectly interact with each other.  People in human societies also generally perceive that their society is distinct from other societies in terms of shared traditions and expectations.

While human societies and cultures are not the same thing, they are connected because culture is created and transmitted to others in a society.  Cultures are groups working and interacting together in a tradition manner.  They are the continuously changing and growing, we must grow with them.

Reference

Ngo, B. (2008). Beyond “culture clash”: Understanding of immigrant experiencesTheory into Practice, 47(1), 4–11.
Retrieved from the Walden Library using the Education Research Complete

6

My Family’s Culture

Blog Assignment Week 2

An understanding of the nature of culture is a long way from providing an answer to all issues of working in another society, but it will help us in a number of ways. I am sure a disaster will define the importance of learning and appreciating another culture so different from my own.

First, it will give us a greater appreciation of why people behave and think as they do. Moving to another region will force me to view that many of their ways are not strange, primitive, or even different from my culture.

Secondly, it will help me to recognize that we all are products of our own culture. We will learn more about ourselves, and this will help us to evaluate our own lifestyles

The three items I chose to carry with me as I start a new journey are my photos album, my bible, and a recording of my daughter’s first reading a storybook. My family photos will keep me grounded regardless of the drastic changes that is going to take place because of a sudden disaster. Family means everything to me. It does not matter that distance has separated us, we are still connected in spirit and faith. We will always be connected. I can look at my family pictures for strength and remember all the hard times and struggles we shared, yet persevered. They will be a reminder of times we disagreed, yet found strength through our problems. My family photos will let me know that I am never alone. My photos will remind me there’s no place like home.

My bible will keep me grounded spiritually. I am a firm believer that all things are possible through Jesus Christ who strengthens me. I can face the disaster and relocation with my head held high, knowing I will stand firm and not faint. It is a family tradition to record family’s birth dates, death dates, and our family tree is recorded in our family bible. The family’s bible is pass on to the first born in each family.

I have never heard anything so beautiful as my daughter reading her first storybook. I taught her to read phonetically. She pronounced each word distinctly and precisely, not leaving out a single syllable. Each time I play the recording, my heart pounds with excitement, as though I am hearing it for the first time. As she reads, I am reminded that parents are their children’s first teacher.

Picture: Scholastic