After you have chosen two different racial/ethnic groups and have read the corresponding chapter, please describe the cultural background and heritage of your two groups. Why is it important for human services providers to understand the cultural background and heritage of diverse populations? Please post at least one youtube video link that further highlights your chosen group(s) heritage.
You must support your response with scholarly sources in APA format. Simply stating your opinion is not enough, back up your opinion with citations. Refer to the DB Grading Rubric for more details.
Articles, Websites, and Videos:
This provides the Racial Equity Tools Glossary.
· Glossary . (n.d.). Racial Equity Tools.
A report from the Ohio Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) to “clarify the social work profession’s role in addressing systemic racism and police violence against people of color”.
· Ensuring Black Lives Matter . (2016). National Association of Social Workers.
This looks at Native American Issues today.
· Native American Issues Today Current Problems & Struggles 2020 . (2020, Jan 5). PowWows.com.
Types of Racial Inequality Info graph.
· Types of Racial Inequity . (n.d.). Race & Social Justice Initiative.
A Day in the Life: How Racism Affects Families of Color Info graph.
· A Day in a Life: How Racism Impacts Families of Color . (2017, Sep 11). Living Cities.
Systemic Racism Explained.
Duration: 4:24 User: n/a - Added: 4/16/19
David Williams, Public Health Sociologist, discusses how racism affects well-being.
· Williams, D. (2016, Nov). How racism makes us sick . TEDMED 2016.
Unit 4 Ch.11
Working with Latino/a Clients: An Interview with Roberto Almanzan
With the 2000 Census, Latinos/as became the largest racial minority in the United States, numbering 35,305,818, or 12.5 percent of the U.S. population. These figures increased in July 2016 when the U.S. Census Bureau reported Latinos/as at 17.8 percent of the U.S. population. Projections into the future suggest that by the year 2100, Latinos/as will make up one-third of the U.S. population. This dramatic growth is attributed to high birth and fertility rates, immigration patterns, and the average young age of the population. As a collective, Latinos/as are quite diverse, including individuals whose roots are in Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Central and South Americas. Those of Mexican descent, now numbering 20 million, make up 64 percent of the Hispanic population, Puerto Ricans at 3.4 million and 10 percent, Cubans at 1.2 million and 4 percent, and South and Central Americans at 3.1 million and 10 percent. See Chapter 1 for more demographic information.
For the purpose of Census data, the government considers race and Hispanic origins as “two separate and distinct concepts.” The term Hispanic is used to denote a common Spanish-speaking background. A notable exception, however, are Latinos/as of Brazilian descent whose native language is Portuguese. Racially, individuals of Mexican descent identify their roots as “ mestizo ” (i.e., a mixture of Spanish and Indian backgrounds). Puerto Ricans consider themselves of Spanish descent, Cubans of Spanish and black descent, and Latin Americans of having varying mixtures of Spanish, Japanese, Italian, and black heritage.
Geographically, Latino/a populations are largely urban and concentrated in the Southwest, Northeast, and in the state of Florida, according to country of origin: Mexican Americans in Texas, California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Illinois, where they make up a significant proportion of each state’s population; Puerto Ricans in large northeastern urban areas; and Cubans in the Miami area.
The vast majority of Latinos/as are Spanish-speaking, are Roman Catholic, and share a set of cultural characteristics that are described later. One must be careful, however, to not underemphasize the differences among groups; there are as many differences as there are similarities. Compared to non-Hispanics (again, a Census term rather than an identity of choice among most group members), Latinos/as tend to be younger—on average younger than thirty years old and nine years younger than the average white American; poorer—40 percent of Hispanic children live below the poverty line; less educated—approximately 30 percent leave high school before graduation (the highest rate of all minorities); and more consistently unemployed or relegated to unskilled and semi-skilled jobs.
A unique set of factors related to their entry and circumstances in the United States puts Latinos/as at high risk for physical and psychological difficulties. Included are pressures around bilingualism, immigration and rapid acculturation, adjustment to American society, intergenerational and cultural conflict, poverty, racism, and the loss of cultural identity.
As our expert guest, Roberto Almanzan, indicates, a central factor in understanding the psychological situation of most Latino/a clients is their individual experience, as well as the experience of their family units in migrating to the United States.
As a collective, Latino/a subgroups share a language, Spanish; a religion, Roman Catholicism; and a series of cultural values that define and structure group life. See Chapter 5 for more information on cultural values.
Carrasquillo (1991) lists the following shared values:
· Importance of the family, both nuclear and extended, or familialismo
· Emphasis on interdependence and cooperation, or simpatico
· Emphasis on the worth and dignity of the individual, or personalismo
· Valuing of the spiritual side of life
· Acceptance of life as it exists
Garcia-Preto (1996) offers an excellent description of the nature of Latino/a families:
Perhaps the most significant value they share is the importance placed on family unity, welfare and honor. The emphasis is on the group rather than on the individual. There is a deep sense of family commitment, obligation, and responsibility. The family guarantees protection and caretaking for life as long as the person stays in the system … The expectation is that when a person is having problems, others will help, especially those in stable positions. The family is usually an extended system that encompasses not only those related by blood and marriage, but also “compadres” (godparents) and “hijos de cnanza” (adopted children, whose adoption is not necessarily legal). “Compadrazco” (godparenthood) is a system of ritual kinship with binding, mutual obligations for economic assistance, encouragement, and even personal correction. “Hijos de cnanza” refers to the practice of transferring children from one nuclear family to another within the extended family in times of crisis. The others assume responsibility, as if children were their own, and do not view the practice as neglectful. (p. 151)
Family roles and duties are highly structured and traditional, as are sex roles, which are referred to as machismo and marianismo . Males, the elderly, and parents are afforded special respect, and children are expected to be obedient and deferential, contribute to family finances, care for younger siblings, and act as parent surrogates. Males are expected to exhibit strength, virility, dominance, and provide for the family; females are expected to be nurturing, submit to the males, and self-sacrifice (Sue and Sue, 1999). Both boys and girls are socialized into these roles early. Boys are given far more freedom—encouraged to be aggressive and act manly—and discouraged from playing with girls and engaging in female activities. Girls are trained early in household activities and are severely sheltered and restricted as they grow older.
The authoritative structure of the family also reflects a broader characteristic of Latino/a culture, which includes the valuing of conformity, obedience, deference to authority, and subservience to the autocratic attitudes of external organizations and institutions. Individuals from such high-powered and distancing cultures are most comfortable in hierarchical structures where there is an obvious power differential and expectations are clearly defined. Professionals and helpers who disrespect this power distance—by deemphasizing their authority, trying to make the interaction more democratic, communicating indirectly, or using subtle forms of control, such as sarcasm, and causing an individual to lose face—tend to confuse, alienate, and disrespect Latino/a clients. Respect for authority can also have its shadow side by forcing individuals from high power distant cultures to adapt to the status quo, as well as restraining them from asserting their rights. Garcia-Preto (1996) offers the example of illegal migrants whose cultural hesitancy is exacerbated only by the fear of being caught and sent back to more oppressive and dangerous circumstances.
Personalismo —an interpersonal attitude that acknowledges the basic worth and dignity of all individuals and attributes to them a sense of self-worth—serves as a powerful social lubricant in Latino/a culture. Unlike mainstream American culture, where respect is garnered through achievement, status, and wealth, the individual in Latino/a culture merits respect by the very fact of his or her humanity. Simpatico, or valuing of cooperation and interdependence, is a natural outgrowth of personalismo. Competing, undermining the efforts of another, asserting one’s individuality, and working to inflate one’s ego are all viewed negatively in Latino/a culture. In cultures where the needs of the individual are suppressed to serve the interests of the group—the dimension of culture that Brown and Landrum- Brown (1995) call “the individual vs. the extended self” (see Chapter 5)—the individual ego must be contained, and this is done through simpatico, which serves to promote cooperation, noncompetition, and the avoidance of conflict between individuals.
A final series of values in Latino/a culture relate to beliefs fostered by the Roman Catholic Church. These include:
· Focus on spirituality and the life of the spirit
· Fatalistic acceptance of life as it exists
· Time orientation toward the present
Latino/a culture places as much emphasis on non-rational experience as it does on the material world. Belief in visions, omens, spirits, and spiritual healers is commonplace, and such phenomena are viewed from within the culture as normative rather than pathological. Latinos/as are also willing to forgo and even sacrifice material comfort in the pursuit of spiritual goals. Yamamoto and Acosta (1982), for example, suggest that the Latino/a church emphasizes that sacrifice in this world promotes salvation, that one must be charitable, and that wrongs against the person should be endured. Sue and Sue (1999) assert that because of such beliefs, “many Hispanics have difficulty behaving assertively. They feel that problems or events are meant to be and cannot be changed” (p. 290). This relates in turn to a time orientation to the present that is shared by most Latinos/as. Focus tends to be on the here and now, not on what has happened in the past or what will happen in the future. Present-oriented cultures place special value on the nature and quality of interpersonal relationships as opposed to their history or functionality. Such an orientation is psychologically related to a kind of fatalism and particularly common in peoples who suffer economic deprivation and powerlessness and find themselves at the whim and mercy of those with more power. The family and cultural values identified in this section are still true in current literature (Adames and Chavez-Dueñas, 2016).
Roberto Almanzan, M.S., is a counselor, teacher, trainer, and consultant on diversity and multicultural issues in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has worked with schools, corporations, mental health agencies, and various nonprofit organizations. He also teaches in the multicultural program at the Wright Institute, Berkeley. He has trained with Stirfry Seminars in Berkeley and was a key participant in the film The Color of Fear—produced in 1994 and probably the most widely used film in training and education on racism—and participated in the production of The Color of Fear 2 and The Color of Fear 3 as well as a number of other documentaries on racism, privilege, and social justice.
First, could you begin by talking about your ethnic background and how it has impacted your work?
I am Mexican, and this ethnic and cultural identity has been an influential factor in most facets of my life. It was my experiences as a Mexican American in a white-dominated society that really motivated me to do the kind of work that I do, much of which involves healing in the lives of people of color and in the relationships between them and with people of European descent. I’m the second generation born in the United States. My grandparents on my father’s side migrated from Chihuahua in the north of Mexico to El Paso, Texas, on the border. My grandfather was a carpenter. He married my grandmother in Parral, Chihuahua, and in the early 1900s in search of work, he went to El Paso, Texas, where he found employment. Shortly, he brought his wife and first child to El Paso. My father and other children were born there, and in gradual steps over ten years, the family moved to Los Angeles, where my father grew up.
My mother’s family came from Sonora, a northern state on the western edge of Mexico and settled in Douglas, Arizona, another border town. I don’t know much about my maternal grandparents. They both died before I was born. I do know that my mother’s father was a successful businessman. My mother’s family was large, like many Mexican families. My maternal grandfather owned a large general store and stables in Douglas. All the children, including my mother, were born in Douglas, so the family was settled there. My grandfather was able to send his eldest son, Jose, to Stanford University in 1915. However, when the United States entered World War I in 1917, my grandfather feared that his son was going to end up in the U.S. military fighting in the war. He did not want his son to go to war in Europe, so he pulled him out of the university and brought him home. He sold everything in Douglas, moved his family back to Mexico, and settled in Mexicali, a city on the border with California.
In the 1920s in Los Angeles, my father was the first of his family to graduate from high school. Some of his classmates from Polytechnic High School went to Stanford University. After hearing about Stanford from his friends, he set his mind on joining them. He was accepted at Stanford, and although he had to drop out for a while due to lack of finances, he graduated from Stanford as a civil engineer in 1933. Racism and the Depression made it very difficult for my father to land an engineering job. He finally ended up working for an American company that was doing some surveying in the agricultural area around Mexicali. My mother was living there with her eldest brother, Jose, and his family. By a miraculous coincidence, the kind that only happens in real life, my father was placed on a survey crew led by my mother’s brother, Jose. It wasn’t long before Jose introduced my father to his eligible sister, Bella. My father met my mother, courted her, and they married. I was their first child, born in Calexico, again on the border in California.
This was the history of my family, a border existence, back and forth, living on both sides. I grew up in Los Angeles but with family in Ensenada, Mexicali, and as far south as Mexico City. We visited our relatives in Ensenada and Mexicali often and occasionally our relatives in Mexico City. They visited us, sometimes staying for extended periods of time. I always thought of all of us as Mexicans. I was a Mexican that lived in the United States (en este lado—on this side) and they were Mexicans that lived in Mexico (al otro lado—on the other side). I was not aware of the differences between us and the privilege that I had growing up within the United States. So, I was shocked the first time my Mexican cousins called me a pocho, which is a derogatory term for Mexicans who have become Americanized by living in the United States. They could easily see and hear a difference in me and my life, but I couldn’t, not for a long time. I thought I was Mexican. I didn’t want to think of myself as different and therefore separate from them. But I was and am a pocho. I realized that I was culturally different from my relatives in Mexico.
I grew up in a Mexican barrio in East Los Angeles. We started out in Boyle Heights and moved eastward as I grew older. All the teachers, counselors, principals, police officers, anyone in authority in East Los Angeles then was white. Although there was racism present and a white power structure, I felt fairly protected and supported in my identity, as most of the people in my environment were Mexican, and I was enveloped in my extended family. It was a white world, but in some way, I did not really see that until I graduated from Garfield High School and, following my father’s footsteps, went to Stanford University. That was fifty years ago. There was no diversity on the Stanford campus then. The need to include American students of color in universities or the benefits of a racially integrated student environment did not exist and were not known. The only ones I could see who were non-white on campus were the international students from Asia, Africa, and Latin America. I ended up hanging out at the International House because, in a way, I felt more at home there and more included.
What led you to become a human service provider and involved in the kind of diversity training you do?
It’s kind of a jagged history. When I graduated from Stanford with a degree in international relations, my first job was working for the State Department of Employment (now EDD) in one of its newly created Youth Opportunity Centers. There were at the time various efforts to locate satellite offices in minority communities in San Francisco and other cities and target youth of color for intensive counseling and support services in finding employment or vocational training. I worked in these programs for several years—at first excited by what seemed to be a shift in attitude and a desire to do more for people in minority communities. In time, however, I grew discouraged with things that were going on around me. Many of the people we had trained were coming back through for another vocational training program. It seemed like the programs were not working, and we were just going through the motions.
My disenchantment led me in another direction. It seemed to me that what we needed was to build our own economic institutions, engage in economic development for the community, start businesses and employ people from our communities, and train them in business practices and leadership. I started a business importing handcrafted sterling silver jewelry from Mexico and wholesaling to retailers. I managed to sell to retailers from the East Coast to Hawaii, but the business never became the multimillion-dollar enterprise that I had envisioned. I worked in this business for twenty years, and it supported me and my family, but in a way, it was not deeply fulfilling. Yet, I did not know what other work I could do or how I could transition.
In the mid-80s, I was drawn to the men’s movement and attended several men’s groups and conferences. I liked that men were encouraged to talk openly to each other about their inner lives in ways that men don’t usually do. It was referred to as “men’s work,” although almost all of the men who participated were middle class, white, and heterosexual. I thought if we are really doing “men’s work,” where were the black men, the Latinos, the Asians, or the Native Americans? I met other men of color and gay men who wanted more diversity. Together, several of us went to the organizers of a large upcoming conference and challenged them to change it in ways that made it more accessible and attractive to men of color and gay men. After a bit of resistance, they agreed, and we created the most diverse men’s conference I had ever seen.
My interest in these diversity issues led to a career change. I applied to CSU East Bay (Hayward) to enter their master’s program in counseling. Shortly after, I was accepted, and before classes started, I was asked to participate in a documentary film about a racially diverse group of men talking about race and ethnicity. That documentary film was The Color of Fear. After earning my master’s, I worked with immigrants, particularly Latinos, at The Center for New Americans in Contra Costa County. I kept getting requests to facilitate dialogue based on The Color of Fear, and these increased to the point that I had to make a choice between continuing my work with immigrants or to focus on dealing more directly with diversity issues. Although working with Latino immigrants and their families was very satisfying, I decided to focus on the diversity work because it connected me deeply with issues I had been dealing with all my life.
Who are the Latinos and Latinas, and what characteristics do they share as a group?
Latinos refers to people whose ancestry lies in the nations to the south, who were originally conquered by Spain in the early sixteenth century, with the exception of Brazil, which was occupied by Portugal. Except for Brazil, where Portuguese is spoken, and a few other countries with historical connections to other European nations, all share Spanish as a common language. Although many Latinos in the United States today are immigrants or children of immigrants, some Latinos have lived in the United States for many generations. Some families have lived in the Southwestern part of the United States since before it was taken from Mexico in 1848 in the U.S.-Mexican War. Even though many of these Latinos have lost their Spanish-language skills, they still share many cultural traits with recent immigrants.
Latinos, first of all, share a deep belief in and connection to their extended families—a sense of family loyalty and honor that’s very powerful. Often, extended family members live in close proximity to each other, and family members visit with each other often. When I was young, we visited my grandparents every weekend and sometimes during the week. Other members of our extended family would visit at the same time so that we spent a lot of time with our uncles, aunts, and cousins. This is different from what we see today in the dominant U.S. culture where the nuclear family and individualism are most valued. Among Latinos, the family is often more important than the individual. Extended family members often help each other in whatever way is needed. Sometimes, for economic or other reasons, children may live with an uncle and aunt for a while. In my family, we had different cousins and an aunt live with us at different times.
Latinos also share a sense of basic respect for the person—a sense that everyone merits respect and dignity whatever their status socially or economically. Elders especially merit respect and honor. Elders live within the family, are looked after and consulted, and treated with great dignity. My paternal grandmother, who survived my grandfather, was definitely the head of the family while she was alive. Interactions with Latinos need to convey a sense of respect in order to communicate effectively.
There is also a personal warmth that is expressed between people that often includes physical expression and connection. Latinos are much more likely to embrace, to touch, to kiss on the cheek, to connect with each other physically. There is also a certain generosity and willingness to share what one has with others. Often, this is expressed through food. When someone comes to the home, they are always offered something to eat, no matter who it is. In fact, if you are working with Latinos as a provider, it would not be unusual to be brought some kind of food during the relationship, and it has no meaning other than an act of kindness, gratitude, and respect.
Latino culture is hierarchical. Latinos hold authority and those with it in high esteem: doctors, priests, lawyers, therapists, counselors, and any other providers of services. Their authority is respected and listened to because it is assumed that they hold special knowledge that can be beneficial. They are likely to pay close attention to and follow the directions of such authority figures as long as those don’t conflict with their values and traditions.
Latinos also tend to be religious—the majority of them Catholic. I remember that my mother always had an altar somewhere in the house where she lit candles and prayed, perhaps with an image of la Virgen (the Virgin Mary), a crucifix, and a rosary. Evangelical Christians are not uncommon, and one also sees in some areas elements of the Catholic religion with native Indian traditions, practices, and beliefs. In Cuba, Dominican Republic, Brazil, and elsewhere, Catholicism is mixed with African religions. Santeria is the most common and is a melding of Catholic and Yoruba beliefs.
Time also takes on a different flavor than in dominant white culture. Latinos tend to be more flexible about it and tend to experience the precision and narrowness of the white definition of time as overly rigid and often problematic. They don’t think of time in such rigid concepts, and this can be a source of conflict. Latinos may not show up for appointments at the exact time specified. Punctuality does not have the same importance and value for Latinos or often for other people of color as it does for the dominant culture. Time does not take precedence over other matters, such as greeting others or attending to personal relationships.
A final difference has to do with gender roles and the concepts of machismo and marianismo. For men, the concept of machismo has been very much distorted and corrupted in the popular media in United States. In its purest form, it refers to the sense of responsibility the male feels to care for and protect his family and those around him. Especially in the United States, it has come to mean a sense of bravado, being loud, aggressive, and tough. This is really its shadow side. Latin America itself has been influenced by this distorted image through the media and has come to increasingly see machismo in this way. I remember growing up with this image of Mexican men from the movies I saw and was shocked when I asked my mother, and she told me this was not machismo. She said that machismo means that “you must make sure that your wife and children are safe and cared for and that you always show respect to your elders.” Similarly, marianismo, the role of women in Latino culture, has come to be wrongly defined by its extremes. It is the tendency in women toward self-sacrifice and a focusing on the needs of others for the benefit of the family as well as to acquiesce to their husband’s role as the head of the family.
Could you now talk a bit more about the various names that different Latino and Latina subgroups use to describe and identify themselves?
The two most commonly used names today are Hispanics and Latinos/Latinas. Hispanic is a term that was adopted by the federal government in the early 70s for census and administrative purposes in order to create a single category for all the people whose origins are in Latin America. It seems to have been adopted more by people in Texas and on the East Coast. It is less popular in California. I prefer the term Latino. Hispanic doesn’t acknowledge our indigenous past, and that’s an important part of who I am. I identify more with the indigenous part than the Spanish. My family comes from Mexico, as do the majority of Latinos in the United States. I call myself Mexican American. Many people from Latin America are mestizos; that is, of mixed race that may include indigenous, African, Spanish, Portuguese, Jewish (Jews who converted to survive), Asians, and other Europeans. Identification as a mestizo is less common in parts of South America, where there is more of a tendency to identity with Spanish roots and with other Europeans. Some immigrants from these countries do not connect with the concept of being Latino or being a person of color.
A final term is Chicano or Chicana. Its origins probably go back to the 1920s and was developed by M
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