Have you ever stopped and viewed the world around you ? The world is so mysterious and unique. We live in a diverse population with people of all different cultures, ethnic backgrounds, and spiritualities. Max De Pree, an American businessman and writer, once said “We need to give each other the space to grow, to be ourselves, to exercise our diversity. We need to give each other space so that we may both give and receive such beautiful things as ideas, openness, dignity, joy, healing, and inclusion. Diversity is the understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies. I believe that people fear diversity because they fear what they do not know.
In the NASW standards and ethics it states: 1. 05 Cultural Competence and Social Diversity (A) Social workers should understand culture and its function in human behavior and society, recognizing the strengths that exist in all cultures. B) Social workers should have a knowledge base of their clients’ cultures and be able to demonstrate competence in the provision of services that are sensitive to clients’ cultures and to differences among people and cultural groups. (C) Social workers should obtain education about and seek to understand the nature of social diversity and oppression with respect to race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, political belief, religion, and mental or physical disability. As a social worker, you have to have a cultural competence and social diversity.
You will have clients from all different aspects of life and will help them grow and nourish as a person. Conceptual framework deals with social identity, complexity of identity, and the social construct of difference. Social identity is the collective self that defines the individual in terms of his/her shared similarities with members of certain social groups. As a person you have to be able to personally identify you. I personally identify myself as African-American and Puerto Rican male, in the middle class, who values his family and education.
The social construction of culture is applicable to the work I will do in social work practice. I cannot go into an environment and not have any knowledge on the culture of that society. By having that background you are able to assess the environment, find out what factors played a role to the client, and finally create an intervention. The complexity of identity can be split into two groups the dominant and subordinate group. The dominant group determines how power and authority can be used. It also reserves the most highly valued roles in society for themselves.
The subordinate group is always dismissed as defective or substandard. It also possesses characteristics associated with the dominant group, they are assumed to be the “exception to the rule. ” For example, in the category of sexual orientation heterosexuals are the dominant group and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual (LGBT) community is the subordinate group. The social construct of difference is what we experience as “real. ” It is a cultural creation that is made up; even though we do not experience it that way.
It focuses on how society groups people and how it privileges certain groups. In our society if you are not Caucasian you are not considered privileged. In order for an African American to be considered privileged they have to hold numerous degrees, become a famous music artist, or hit the lottery. We are constantly put into the non privileged group and never praised for our hard work and determination. Racism is the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.
In the book the authors, Carmelita Castaneda and Ximena Zuniga , briefly discuss President Barack Hussein Obama and how he broke barriers when he became the first African American president of the United States of America. Obama’s presidency is a momentous achievement for a nation fraught with a history of colonization, slavery, exploitation, segregation, and the marginalization of numerous communities of color. Racism has been around for plenty of years and still exists to this day. Racism also involves stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination. A stereotype is a set of beliefs about the personal attributes of a group of people. Ashmore & Del Boca, 1981)
For example, Asians have high IQs. They are smarter than most in Math and Science. These people are more likely to succeed in school. That is a stereotype because not all asians are have IQs, are good science and math, and are more likely to succeed in school. Prejudice is a biased evaluation of a group (often targeted at it’s individual members), based on real or imagined characteristics of the group members. (Nelson, 2002) We are prejudicedd within our race as well. Within the African American community, we are prejudice when it comes to the color of our skin.
It is a consistent argument of dark skin vs light skin, but the truth is we are all African American. Discrimination is a negative act towards a person or a group of people because of their group membership. The history of the United States reflects a deeply embedded in the protection of White privilege and the denial of rights to people of color. Major issues like colonization, slavery, and Jim Crow laws were legally sanctioned forms of discrimination that has been used to define and defend Caucasian by creating distinctions between Caucasian people and all others.
An example of discrimination is how multiracial families face discrimination because they expected to claim one race. As a social worker, you will work with people who experience different types of discrimination and you will then be able to help them create ways to prevent discrimination. Classism is defined as prejudice against or in favor of people belonging to a particular social class. Classism is similar in many ways to racism, sexism, heterosexism and other forms of oppression. Classism appears individually through attitudes and behaviors, institutionally through policies and practices, and culturally through norms and values.
Like other forms of oppression and prejudice, it is the tendency to make sweeping generalizations or stereotypes about people. There are many levels of class like underclass, working class, upper middle, and the highest upper class. In the United States, the economic power and privilege that is associated with ownership of the resources by which other people make their living is deeply and historically intertwined with race. We are all off and in a social class. We are of the class that our parents occupy, born into it just as we were born into a nation and thrown into its culture.
In my life classism effects my race because if you are African American you are automatically put into the lower class. As a social worker, I would address the impact of class and class difference by creating an intervention that deals with class acceptance and loving yourself for yourself. Your class status should not define who you are! Religion is based on beliefs that are considered sacred, as distinguished from the profane. Religion establishes the values and norms of behavior and provides answers to questions of ultimate meaning.
In the United States freedom of religion is one the most enduring and powerful aspects of America. In my life, religion is key to my family, but to me it is not. I feel like there is a higher power with no name. I just have faith that I am living my life to the best that I can and prove it by excelling in everything that I do. Diversity comes in so many different ways and those were a couple of the topics that we have discussed in class. It is important to have a diverse mindset when you are social worker because you never know who you are going to have to work with. You have to have respect for your clients religions and culture.