Past race relations in the United States continue to encourage many citizens to interact positively with individuals from other cultural backgrounds. This practice makes it possible for them to appreciate diversity, empower one another, and make decisions that can meet their needs. The paper presented below gives a personal reflection and analysis after interacting with individuals from the Caucasian and Asian American cultures. The lessons and insights gained are also discussed.
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Description of My Culture
From my personal experiences, I have learned that African Americans value the concept of family. This is true because I grew up in an extended family that supported all individual’s rights and expectations. Another unique attribute of my culture is that people respect those who are older than them, including their grandparents, relatives, brothers, and parents (Sue & Sue, 2015). Such a cultural practice promotes discipline and empowers individuals to solve potential challenges.
Members of my culture take the issue of religion seriously. Personally, I have been brought up in a Christian family that uses prayers and fasting to achieve its spiritual goals. The Bible teaches us to respect one another and uphold these values: justice, empathy, forgiveness, and respect. All believers should say their prayers and repent whenever necessary. Such practices can empower and bring more people closer to their spiritual dreams (Paik, Rahman, Kula, Saito, & Witenstein, 2017).
They also have a unique worldview founded on the teachings of Christ. They believe that God is the prime reality and created the universe in His own image. Those who obey the Ten Commandments will eventually become part of His kingdom.
Children should also obey and respect their parents. Such attributes explain why members of my cultural group remain united. African americans attend cultural festivals to mark key historical events. They embrace different music genres, including hip hop, soul, and rap (Weng, 2014). Traditional music festivals make it possible for them to dance and recite passages. They prefer vibrant colors for their clothes and beads. They use Adinkra motifs to produce their ornaments and jewelries. Men prefer to keep their hair short or have dreadlocks. Women can wear their natural hair or consider these styles: go, afro, wash, or braid out.
Members of this racial group take the issue of food seriously. They grow diverse agricultural products, including sorghum, cotton, okra, rice, yams, peanuts, and grits. Such foods have been observed to present creative or artistic responses to the economic and racial oppressions experienced by different African Americans in the past. Members of my culture treat or relate with other people from all other races with respect.
They prefer such interactions since they empower them to achieve their potential. Majority of them embrace the power of traditional medical procedures for various conditions (Mitchell, 2015). Healers provide herbs and advice that can result in positive health outcomes. However, many African Americans are currently embracing modern medical practices and scientific information in an attempt to record positive health results.
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Description of Caucasian and Asian Cultures
Over the past years, I have managed to plunge myself into different cultures in an attempt to discover their ways of life, experiences, ideas, and worldviews. Such an achievement can make it possible for people to interact with others from diverse backgrounds effectively and appreciate the concept of diversity (Swierad, Vartanian, & King, 2017). The selected cultures were Asian and Caucasian. The first opportunity to interact with people from the Caucasian and Asian cultures occurred when I was in elementary school.
Although my Caucasian teacher did not have significant impact on my cultural knowledge, I managed to accept the reality that all people were required to blend with others positively. In middle school, I interacted with many people from these cultural groups. The teachers at Robert Smalls Middle School encouraged me to embrace the idea of hard work, be honest, and remain confident. I also attended seminar, sporting activities, and events that make it possible for me to interact positively with people from these two cultural groups.
The first observation about Caucasians is that they take the issue of religion seriously. Since majority of them are Christians, they believe that God created the universe and their worldview revolves around the teachings of Christ. They follow His commandments in order to become part of His kingdom. Their common language is American English and they embrace the power of modern law to pursue their rights. Caucasians believe in a safer, richer, and freer society whereby all people are in a position to pursue their goals (Sue & Sue, 2015). In terms of leadership, they take the issues of democracy and equality seriously. The common music genres associated with this culture include rock, country, and gospel.
Majority of the people in this culture prefer a diet composed of different food sources, including maize, chicken, sugar, milk, eggs, pigs, turkey, wheat, and beer. In the past, members of this culture promoted color-blind discrimination based on race. This malpractice made it impossible for many people in the country to achieve their potential. The common family type is nuclear whereby parents take good care of their children (Weng, 2014). The challenge of divorce affects many individuals. The concept of management is taken seriously to empower followers to deliver positive results.
Asian American Culture
Asian Americans are associated with unique cultural attributes that differ significantly from those of other groups. The first issue to consider is that of human beliefs. Majority of them embrace specific philosophies, including Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Hinduism. One unique aspect of these individuals is that they embrace the idea of nirvana (Uono & Hietanen, 2015). This means that all people can achieve a higher state of understanding that is not characterized by pain or suffering. Without a distinctive prime reality, Asian Americans focus on the cycle of reincarnation in order to achieve their spiritual goals.
Specific values are common among members of this cultural group. These include equality, respect, and fairness. The leading Asian philosophies encourage followers to focus on these aspects: balance, peace, and harmony (Mitchell, 2015).
This means that Asian Americans will resolve confrontations effectively. Indirect communication methods are common among members of this culture and they also embrace the concept of family. This is achieved by living in extended family units and pursuing their common objectives. Youngsters should respect the elderly and listen to them. Ideas can be shared if positive goals are to be realized.
In the United States, many Asian Americans have found it hard to strike a balance between their traditional aspects and those of the American society. Despite the existence of this challenge, majority of them live in paternal and hierarchical families. The outstanding lesson is that children should not bring shame to their relatives or families (Uono & Hietanen, 2015). This is the case since the family’s integrity is a critical aspect. In terms of health, Asians can receive medical services from traditional healers. Meditation can support every healing process. Members of this culture embrace the Chinese New Year holiday. This is a prolonged festival whereby traditional rituals, foods, and rituals are taken seriously.
Reactions and Reflections
Most of my experiences after interacting with members of the above two cultural groups were awesome and appreciable. As a child, I understood that America was a diverse country associated with different racial groups. Over the years, I have managed to interact and associate with many individuals from diverse backgrounds. The cultural plunge has also been a wonderful opportunity for me to learn more about the unique attributes of various racial groups in this country. At the very beginning, I was a bit naïve and cautious whenever interacting with such individuals. My parents always encouraged me to respect others and support their needs whenever necessary.
I also approached a number of people from these two cultures and encouraged them to respond effectively to my questions. I realized that most of the Caucasians held unique beliefs and values that resonated with those of African Americans. I also realized that the individuals embraced the idea of religion. My final reaction was that there were unique similarities that could make it possible for African Americans and Caucasians to get along and achieve their potential.
I was a bit pessimistic whenever interacting with different Asian Americans. This was the case because the issue of communication was quite challenging. However, I was able to find some people who could communicate fluently in English. This experience made it easier for me to realize that some of the beliefs were capable of empowering more people to achieve their potential. Values of justice, respect, and equality were evident among members of this culture. Most of the colleagues taught me more about the concepts of nirvana and reincarnation. I was glad to learn numerous ideas that can make me successful from this cultural group.
In terms of reflection, I managed to gain new concepts that will empower me to interact with more people from diverse backgrounds. I realized that there was a need for human beings to respect their cultural differences. Such a practice will minimize the levels of misunderstanding and pessimism (Sue & Sue, 2015). I was able to learn values and principles that will empower me to develop a superior philosophy. Such attributes will also empower me to meet the needs of my patients in the future. Most of the evidence-based skills gains will make it possible for me to achieve my personal goals, including collaboration, teamwork, problem-solving, communication, diversity, and empowerment. I also realized that there was a need to interact with more people from diverse cultures and acquire concepts that can eventually take me to the next level.
Analysis of My Thoughts
The completed activities and cultural plunges have transformed my feelings and thoughts about the issues associated with diversity in the United States. I have appreciated the fact that all people possess unique behaviors, practices, beliefs, worldviews, and traditions. However, I have learned the importance of identifying the potential similarities among cultures and applying them to improve human relations. Mitchell (2015) encourages individuals to support each other and pursue ideas that can transform their experiences. This is the reason why I will continue to engage in similar exercises in an attempt to lead a better life.
I have appreciated the idea of supporting one another. Although diversity is a reality in this country, it is appropriate for all citizens to interact positively and address most of the obstacles they might encounter in life (Sue & Sue, 2015). I have felt empowered and capable to forming new relationships with individuals from different cultural groups because there is always something new to learn from them.
I have realized that it is necessary for people to relate with others positively, appreciate their differences, and focus on the best practices that can make the world a better place. It would also be appropriate for all people to learn from their past mistakes. Such a practice can minimize cases of prejudice, inequality, and discrimination (Paik et al., 2017). More individuals will be ready to empower one another, relate positively, and acquire superior ideas that will eventually make them successful in their lives (Mitchell, 2015). The decision to change our attitudes is a powerful approach that can transform race reactions in this country.
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The above discussion has described how my cultural plunge has equipped me with new ideas and concepts that will continue to support my future goals. The lessons gained have resulted in an attitudinal change, thereby making it easier for me to relate positively with more individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds. I will engage in lifelong learning in order to acquire new skills for interacting with different people and pursuing my aims.
Mitchell, J. M. (2015). International cultural relations. New York, NY: Routledge.
Paik, S. J., Rahman, Z., Kula, S. M., Saito, L. E., & Witenstein, M. A. (2017). Diverse Asian American families and communities: Culture, structure, and education (Part 1: Why they differ). School Community Journal, 27(2), 35-66.
Sue, D. W., & Sue, D. (2015). Counseling the culturally diverse: Theory and practice (7th ed.). New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.
Swierad, E. M., Vartanian, L. R., & King, M. (2017). The influence of ethnic and mainstream cultures on African Americans’ health behaviors: A qualitative study. Behavioral Sciences, 7(3), 49-68. Web.
Uono, S., & Hietanen, J. K. (2015). Eye contact perception in the West and East: A cross-cultural study. PLOS One, 10(2), e0118094. Web.
Weng, S. S. (2014). Leadership in an Asian American community in the South: The development of an informal support network to increase access to services. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 45(1), 5-22. Web.