Different Types of Cultures
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It is natural that culture is an important part of different societies all over the world. Today, the number of different types of cultures is countless. Culture is the way people identify themselves according to the geographical roots, faith beliefs, and religion (Swidler, 1986). Understanding multi-cultural concepts is an essential part for my career, which is occupational therapy for children with special needs. The health care profession involves helping others to live productive and meaningful lives and in my case, they are children with special needs. With this sort of career, one is expected to work in a multicultural environment ranging from hospitals, schools and in the community based programs.
Learning about multicultural practices creates cultural competence. It can be referred to the process of developing and practicing the most suitable strategies and skills while interacting with people from different cultures. It also enables an individual to be self-aware, skillful and knowledgeable, therefore, to make ethical and culturally appropriate decisions (Sue, 2005). In occupational therapy, one is likely to treat patients who are from different cultures and an occupational therapist must be culturally sensitive in order to carry on with the job efficiently (Ponterott, 1995). Understanding multicultural concepts is the solution to maintaining an effective therapeutic interaction as well as the outcome. Thus, positive environment will be created among not only patients but personnel as well.
The personal attitude of an individual towards the religion, culture and social status of the other people is very important in marinating the relationships.. They could be friends, colleagues, and even strangers in the community. Having a negative attitude towards their beliefs, race or any cultural aspect leads to the failure of the relationship. Some people tend to discriminate others because they do not understand the culture, social status or religious beliefs of people and eventually create animosity between each other. On the other hand, having a positive attitude is an encouragement to accept the differences which in turn will build long lasting relationships. Besides, being positive can also stimulate persuade discriminated people to have a productive life. (Fritz, 2008)
Prejudice and discrimination did not begin with the African American experience and no society has been immune to it. Prejudice is an opinion that is set be negative stereotypes of various groups due to their culture, race, ethnicity and religion. Discrimination is described as denying deserved goals and rights to a certain group of people (Vandenhole, 2005). In world history, discrimination dates back to the period of conquering different European regions and also to the time when women have no right to vote. Moreover, there have been extreme cases of discrimination such as slavery, genocide in Rwanda 1994, Apartheid in South Africa which was considered to be legislated discrimination. Nowadays, prejudice and discrimination still exist despite the effort made by many countries to stop it by enforcing strict legislations for the outlaws. The examples of prejudice and discrimination today include those against sexual orientation, obesity and even people with HIV/AIDS (Fiske, 2000).
Hidden bias is the one that is thought to be absent and really is not. Social scientists believe that prejudice and stereotype thinking is picked up by a child at the age of three without understanding its significance and begins to form attachments toward the other groups. It results in developing negative attitudes towards other races, ethnicities or any group not similar to the one they know and will be reinforced. (“Teaching tolerance”) Hidden bias affects the behavior of people and is indeed related to discriminatory actions portrayed in day-to-day lives (Fiske, 2000). Dealing with hidden bias and prejudice involves admitting bias at an early age through involvement of parents, teachers and the community leaders to help children in questioning their beliefs about prejudice and stereotypes. The community should be involved and they must bring the change. The result will be achieved when everyone recognize the problem and motivate each other to solve the problem of biases and prejudices.
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