Those excluded from mainstream social, economic, educational, and cultural life are marginalized communities. Examples of groups that are considered oppressed or marginalized are LGBT, Racial/Cultural minorities, Hearing, visually, and Physically Challenged Persons, Persons with Serious and Persistent Mental Illness (SPMI), Persons with Cognitive Impairments, Autism Spectrum Persons, Gifted and Talented Persons, etc. At the same time, marginalization happens due to power imbalances between social groupings.
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A culturally aware individual always tries to be conscious of his own culturally shaped values, perceptions, and biases. They become more sensitive to other people’s feelings, respect each other’s boundaries, and become more responsible for the words, reactions and opinions towards other individuals’ beliefs and experiences (Sevelius et al., 2020). Seeking and participating in interactions that involve people with different cultural backgrounds as well as other groups helps an individual to be more aware of other people’s beliefs, opinions, and way of living, and learn to accept and understand these things regardless of how different they could be. A culturally aware individual also observes his or her own reaction towards others’ different cultures and reflects upon these responses.
These simple acts of understanding other people’s differences in beliefs and perceptions could positively affect members of oppressed and marginalized groups. Members of marginalized groups are sometimes not treated equally due to their differences and other people’s expectations towards their actions (Garett, 2016). Treating them with respect, accepting their differences, and allowing them to express their emotions, values, culture freely, and opinions should be normalized as it is their right where these acts could not just affect marginalized group positively, but it also makes our world a better place for every individual.
Sevelius, J., Gutierrez-Mock, L., Zamudio-Haas, S., McCree, B., Ngo, A., Jackson, A., Clynes, C., Venegas, L., Salinas, A., Herrera, C., Stein, E., Don Operario, and Gamarel. (2020). Research with Marginalized Communities: Challenges to Continuity During the COVID-19 Pandemic. AIDS Behav. Web.
Garett, W. (2016). Marginalized Populations. Minnesota Psychological Association. Web.