Example Of Social Work And The Latino Community Essay
Type of paper: Essay
Topic: Culture, Workplace, Immigration, Business, Community, Assessment, Acculturation, Socialization
Discuss three distinctive cultural patterns that may impact the delivery of culturally competent services to the Latino community.
Heterogenity is the first distinctive cultural pattern that is found in the Latino community. It is often wrongly assumed that all Latinos speak “Spanish” or that all Hispanics celebrate holidays the same way or listen to the same kind of music. Latino is a broad term that encompasses people from many different countries and regions. This can be compared to the term “white”. White people come from hundreds of different countries and regions. Like whites, Latinos have many different cultures within their race and ethnicity. Language is a strong indicator of the difference across Latino cultures. The basics of the Spanish is the same across Hispanic cultures but there are many variances in both verbal and nonverbal communication. These differences exist because Hispanics originate in over a dozen different countries and regions. There are distinct differences in speech patterns, vocabulary, diction and vernacular. A Latino from Cuba speaks very differently than a Latino from Mexico. Brazilians, who are considered Latino do not speak Spanish, they speak Portuguese (Furman et al, 2). One must be aware of these difference not only in language but other aspects of culture as well. Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican celebration, not a Latino celebration. Cultural characteristics such as customs, holidays, cuisine, attitudes and behaviors are very different across the broad designation of “Latino”.
Acculturation has many different patterns in the Latino community. Acculturation is how an individual changes when they come into contact with a new culture. Acculturation affects behavior, cultural identity, knowledge, language and values. There are different models and theories for acculturation. Acculturation can be unidimensional which states that one’s cultural identity is inversely related to the new culture they encounter. More practical models are more complex. An immigrant may develop complex schema that will allow him to build an understanding and adopt aspects of the new culture, yet keep many of the aspects of his original culture. This often seen in children who speak English at school but exclusively speak Spanish at home. Regardless, acculturation causes stress for Latinos. Some Latinos acculturate more quickly and easily. Some have difficulty identifying with the new culture they are encountering. There is no fast and hard rule for rates of acculturation (Furman et al, 4). Acculturation will fluctuate depending upon the experiences and the opportunities the immigrant has. An immigrant who has attended public school and is moving on to college may acculturate more effectively than an immigrant who is working a menial job with other Latinos from his culture. There is no opportunity for exposure to the host country’s culture.
There also distinct patterns of behavior and attitudes exist in the workplace. Most Latino families are considered “working poor”. Most Latino immigrants do not possess the skills necessary to acquire a job that would pay better if they had the skills to perform in the job. Most Latinos are unable to acquire the skills for advancement and are stuck in the menial jobs they have. Opportunities for learning new skills is available to many immigrants. They are never able to work out of the poverty level. Latinos experience higher rates of job dissatisfaction. This is attributed to racist attitudes at their jobs. Latinos are often passed over for promotions and other opportunities on the job in favor of white males (Furman et al, 4-5). The Latinos see this happening and feel frustrated that they are powerless to dig themselves out and better themselves through advancement in the workforce.
Discuss the factors that contribute too many ethnic and racial minority client’s preference to interact with ethnically and racially similar practitioners.
There several reasons why Latinos prefer to work with a practitioner who is also Hispanic. Ethnic and racial minorities have high rates of underusing the social welfare system because they would prefer to work with a Latino practitioner. They are more comfortable and open with a practitioner who will better understand them and their needs. The reasons for this are language, worldview and fear of discrimination.
The language barrier is a critical component in providing effective services. If the Latino client cannot effectively express himself in English and the practitioner cannot understand Spanish at a fluent level, the appropriate services will not be accessed and the needs of the client will not be met. Latinos also tend to defer to professionals and will address them as superiors out of respect. They often call most professionals, “doctor” (Furman et al, 7). It is important to be sensitive to this and explain the role as a practitioner to the client and how they are available to provide assistance. The authors cite an example where a Latino client asked many personal questions about the practitioner’s family. Family life and unity is a very important aspect of the Latino culture and the client was not being nosy (Furman et al, 8). The client was trying to establish a common ground and view the practitioner as part of a family unit. Latinos tend to be mistrustful of the healthcare system and may be reluctant to seek out help. In the case of mental illness, this problem is even worse. Latinos may try to get help from their family and friends and not willing to seek out mental health services. Practitioners need to be aware and sensitive to this fact (Furman et al, 7).
Rich Furman in his article, “Social Work Practice with Latinos” identified seven cross- cultural factors that apply to practice with all cultures. How does the United Arab Emirates (UAE) compare or contrast to at least two of these factors?
Acculturation and workplace job satisfaction in the United Arab Emirates is very biased. Although the United Arab Emirates is a Muslim country who culture is steeped in Arab culture and the Muslim faith, they have come to embrace Western culture, especially in the business world. The UAE encourages the adoption of Western values and culture in the context of business and economic activity. They admire Western business models and practices and court favor with American business to learn and incorporate these practices in their businesses. 90% of their workforce are immigrants from other countries. The majority are Asian from India, Sri Lanka and other Asian countries. The come to the UAE for the opportunity to work and make a decent living wage. The UAE is happy to have this population of workers because it frees up the citizens of Dubai to work in much higher paying jobs and in the higher offices of government.
The UAE however is not sensitive of the cultures of these immigrants. They have strict laws and expect the immigrants to conform to their customs and ways of doing things. Immigrants who have spoken out against UAE policies and practices have been unfairly imprisoned. The UAE expects their immigrant population to assimilate into their country but they will not be recognized as a dynamic part of the culture there. In order to become citizen, immigrants must apply and wait twenty years before being considered. Culturally, the very small population of UAE citizens do not mix with the immigrants. Immigrants have brought their cultures from home with them: music, religion; film and language. They adapt the social constraints that are imposed upon them by the UAE in the workplace and in public. At home, however, they can relax and be themselves in the context of their culture.
Social services are not extended to these workers. Social services are for citizens of UAE. Most workers are under contract with their employers. Recently a law was passed that will require employers to offer health insurance to this population of migrant workers.
According to Benavides, “Cultural Competency in Hispanic Communities,” what are some of the benefits of conducting a needs assessment? What may be some of the limitations of needs assessment?
When a municipality conducts a needs assessment, they are informed of the needs of their community, in this case the Latino community. The information gathered from a well written needs assessment can guide a municipality into recognizing what services they are currently offering, what is lacking and what should be implemented in the future. Often cities simply react to controversy and throw together a plan of action. This type of strategy is a waste of time and money. It is wiser for the city to approach problems that are perceived or needs that are not met with a thoughtful and organized direction. In this way, government officials can make informed decisions as to what facilities or services are needed in their community. A thorough needs assessment is systematic and encompassing. When the needs are clearly identified, the city can draw up a comprehensive plan and budget prudently to meet these needs. City officials need to be sensitive to the needs of their Latino community and need to be knowledgeable of the portion of the population (Benavides 116).
A needs assessment will not identify the needs of the Latino community and guide government officials if it is not seeking out the appropriate information. Honest responses to the assessment are also required for the assessment to be successful. It would be highly recommended to include leaders from the Latino community participate in the process. These leaders can help design the assessment and recruit Latinos to administer the assessment. Empowering the Latino community in this way will ensure accurate results based on appropriate questions and honest answers.
Furman, R., Negi, N.J., Iwamoto, D.K., Rowan, D., Shukraft, A. & Gragg, J. (2009). “Social
work practice with latinos: Key issues for social workers.” Social Work 54(2): 167-174.
Benavides, A.D. (Year of Pub).“Cultural competency in hispanic communities.” In LastName, I.,
(Ed.), Name of book (pp. 100-120). City: Publisher.