The concept of ethnic identity revolves around identification or an association of an individual with a particular ethnic group(s). Ethnic identity gives one a sense of belonging to a certain ethnic group along with individual emotions, attitudes, self-identification, and behavior as a result of the association with that ethnic group (Wu, 2017). Self-perception in an ethnic group can be adjoined with a classification of a cultural group (Markus & Kitayama, 1991). A person's individual culture can affect them or the community around them in social work practice. For this assignment, a concise articulation is provided regarding the impacts of my personal culture to social work practice, particularly being an employee of Child Protective Services for abused children where both Hispanic and Latino clients are included.
I am a 36-year-old, female native African American who is devoted to working in the social field. Having attained a bachelor's degree along with my experience, I am self-employed as an adoption counselor. I have worked for the Child Protective Service as a Case Manager. Throughout my practice, I have met incidences where I was required to interact with different people from distinct cultural backgrounds. My ethnic group along with that of my family is African American, non-Hispanic. African Americans is an ethnic group in the United States, which mainly consists of the ancestry of Africa even though many of the individuals in this group are also descendants of nonblack ancestors. African Americans are a black group of Americans arising from the enslaved black people from the United States. Most of these people have had their rights limited and they have no perfect share in most parts of the United States. This group of people has greatly contributed to the American History and Culture. Most of these African Americans contribute to literature, art, and agriculture along with technological innovation to the culture of America. The group speaks a variety of American English that is mostly spoken by the urban working class. The religion of African Americans involves attending black church gatherings, being part of the Black Hebrew Israelites, or African American Muslims. Most African Americans have been re-evaluating their identity every time they find a place to settle.
Ethnically, individuals from the same ethnic group share racial origins such as the Jewish Diaspora. The same case happens for African Americans whose ethnicity is encompassed by the racial origins of the people. Many non-blacks are also present in the same land where African Americans exist. However, these people, such as the non-black Latinos and white Americans do not term themselves as African Americans since they understand that they lack the racial origins of the African American race. Even though many people identify African American with race, it is an ethnic group especially when it is viewed as a group of intermixed and heterogeneous people. Through this observation, the people within that group can be identified by the culture to which they belong, and this culture is the African American culture. For this race, there is no genetic composition that can term everyone belonging to the group of African American. In the past and even at present, many countries still continue to term the people from the minor sub-Saharan origin as African Americans. Even though they are mixed in different countries, these people have distinct histories regarding the mixing and blending of various cultures and their perspective on skin color.
Besides the individual being the self-sufficient source of personal identity, the concepts of identity and cognition have been found to arise socially through the sharing of social tools (Kanbur, Rajaram, & Varshney, 2011). My ethnic identity development has been met with various incidences where I was required to work with clients from different cultures and ethnic groups. One of these incidents that involved some emotional factors is one in which a mother could not provide the total information required to get her child back, after a random check at her house. The incident involved a CPS mom, a Hispanic aunt, an African American husband, and I. According to a research by S Schueths (2013), "White women partnered with black men are viewed as suspect, often as rebellious and as tainting racial purity when they have children with men of color." The incident happened two years ago while working as a Case manager for Child Protective Service. As with the organization, the home where a child is supposed to be placed should be assessed along with each family member staying there. Case managers are required to perform a home study that should vouch and verify activities to be done such as the kid's placement. Some homes in America consist of biracial couples and this home consisted of a Hispanic aunt who was supposed to receive the kid and an African American husband. Just as the case manager is supposed to do, I was required to gather information by checking different items that are accessible to the child whereas they should not be.
After one incident where the mother was not able to get her child back due to not completing the required services. Child Protective Services decided to place the child with her aunt. Before the child could be placed I was required to assess the aunts' home and all household members. I was required to go out to complete a home study on the home. Which consist of interviewing everyone over the age of three, completing background checks, makes the home had all safety precautions as far childproof door knobs, cabinet locks, wall sockets, safety gates for stairways and that all weapons were locked away safely. When I arrived at the home, the Hispanic aunt and African American husband were present. After going through a survey of questions, I was required to walk through the home to check for safety issues as it was a part of my job. While walking through the home. I realize that the couple had guns located in their master bedroom closet. The guns were not the problem; however, because they were not locked away safely in a safe it made them accessible. I explained to them that the child would not be able to be placed until all safety precautions have been taken as it is a part of Child Protective Service standards. The couple agreed and send pictures once all corrections had been made. Once they received notification that the home study for placement was approved and that the child could be placed, the wife called in on me complaining that I came into their home and found fault in things and she believes I was upset because she had African American Husband.
To my dismay, to hear the complaint did affect me negatively for a while. When I stepped into a home of a Biracial couple specifically anyone that had an African American spouse, I felt like I had to walk on eggshells and sometimes even now being self-employed. Positively, I can say as the years have gone by I have loosened up and am able to be my outgoing self to anyone when walking into their home without feeling they are going to complain about ethnicity issue. I recently had an International home study that was conducted on a couple where the wife was Caucasian and the husband was Nigerian. I was relaxing but at the same time, I felt that she was of the aggressor in the relationship as she took the floor on every question I could have possibly answered. However, I can say I made it through another biracial study. Despite my past issues, Working with different backgrounds have boosted my ethnic identity development having in mind that I am different from others. When thinking of ethnic identity development, I always make sure all the characteristics and attitudes of being an African American were maintained regardless of the differences that came into play.
Various emotional factors were involved during the incident. I was negatively affected to the extent that I found it difficult to deal with a new culture especially that which involved a biracial couple with an African American spouse. I had a fear of bumping into a biracial couple until I realized that this had been an ethnic issue. Emotions are a great deal as they tend to emerge from interaction with other people on the basis of culture (Markus & Kitayama, 1991). It even took me a lot of time to adjust to the norms of new cultures until I realized that each person's emotions tend to relate to how they socialize and how they carry out their normal activities. However, all my past experiences have been a growth path, particularly for my ethnic identity development. Even with an interaction with various individuals including Caucasians and Nigerians, I have maintained the feeling that the issue of ethnicity affects an individual especially when they are new to a particular community. This positive attitude towards culture has led me to be the most interactive person in a personal feeling.
Ethnic development is a controversial topic among many people (Payne, 2014). Through ethnic issues, individuals from different culture see conflicts but through ethnic development, a solution to such challenges can be developed (Grande, 2007). It is important for every individual to be experienced in the sense that they would be able to sort out issues with ethnic identity before it becomes hard to curb. In practice, personal culture may not only be a disturbing factor with clients who are in different ethnicity as one's own, but also those of a similar ethnicity (Wu, 2017). In the case of placement of a child into an aunt's home, the husband was an African American, a race similar to mine. However, the challenge of ethnicity did not only revolve around the Hispanic aunt but also the husband. This implies that ethnic development should be all rounded, as it should be inconsiderate of an individual's culture. Being an African American, I may be challenged to fit into the many societies with varying cultures especially considering the fact that I am a social worker who must interact with different people on a daily basis. The culture of African Americans is so different from that of Caucasians, Hispanics, Nigerians, or even Native Americans. Interacting with these people requires a deep understanding of their culture. Should there be a confluence without a solution on how to get out of trouble, I might find myself attracting a lot of negative emotions which may later haunt me and affect my future feelings when interacting with similar people from various cultures.
Reyna Grande's first book 'Across a Hundred Mountains' and the winner of the America book award tells a story of migration, loss, and discovery in relation to Juliana, a poignant girl who leaves Mexico for America to find a job while finding her father, leaving her family at home. In her trip, she is joined with Vasquez in the most unanticipated way. Vasquez had also left her family in California for Mexico to follow her lover. The two meet in a Tijuana jail and become connected forever. They even plan to leave Mexico for the US. However, Vasquez was killed, leaving more sadness for Juliana. She had always lived in Mexico in poverty with her mother and another social worker. At present, immigration of Mexicans to the US is the most discussed issue whereas most of it is related to economic and political implications. Most of these implications are not true in a sense as the human race and ethnicity are part of the actions. Grande notes that the people of Mexico have a poor economy, the reason why Juliana's father opted to go to the US to look for a job to feed his family. Having gone through poverty, Grande understands why most people migrate to the US. Therefore, migration has been the trend of the modern globalized generation (Wenden, 2017). Grande went t...
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