The first culture that would be considered as a client for this paper is a minority culture of Asian Americans in the United States. Statistically, Asian-Americans compose the fourth largest cultural group in America. However, their cultural group is significantly far from the third one which are the Latin American residents of the country.
Also, an important point to understand for the Asian-American culture in the United States is that although they are American citizens and are classified under Asian descent, their cultural group and contents as many countries belong to Asia such as Chinese, Indian, Vietnamese, Koreans, Japanese (Zhang, Snowden, & Sue, 1998). However, recently, although there has been a steady influx of Asian nationals who have migrated to the United States in order to find work, family, or any other purpose, there is also a category within the Asian-American community — those who have been descendents of Asians in the country.
However, at least for this paper, those two subcategories of Asian-American shall be considered together. For this minority cultural group, we shall approach to the discussion from the point of view of Jessica. Jessica is a Filipino who has migrated to the United States five years ago and whose current occupation is a household domestic helper for a middle-class family in the country.
Like many other Filipinos — in fact like many other Asians who have migrated to the United States, although their cultural beliefs have been associated by many people in the country to be either Buddhist, talents, or any one of the far Eastern religions, Jessica is actually a Roman Catholic. Being a Roman Catholic, she has the duties and responsibilities of going to Mass every Sunday and beliefs any many of the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, although some of the beliefs are culturally different from Roman Catholics in the United States because of her Filipino roots.
Also, she was educated up to first-year college in our community back in the Philippines and is a mother of three children who have stayed back in the country and who, at least according to her, she wants to migrate to America over the next years if her savings from her current occupation of as. Her husband is also backing her home country. Having extremely powerful family values, her daughter — the eldest of her children — his plan to go to the United States early next year to start studying here as a scholarship that has been granted to her by the local Filipino community and support group.
Jessica, being a resident of the United States and belong to any minority cultural community in the country, is of course entitled to receive social support as is recommended, documented, and legislated by that country’s government (Brown & James, 2000). However, this is not the only reason why Jessica is receiving social services. The fact that she belongs to a minority cultural community in the United States reflects that she is an individual is limping in a different cultural background than what she had been used to back in her home country.
In fact, back in the Philippines, living far from the urban metropolis and in the rural areas of the country, Jessica, whenever she feels an ailment, does not immediately go to the local hospital not only because of the certain expenses that are required in order to receive medical treatment, but also because of the long-standing cultural belief that before any medical help and aid is taken and listed by citizens, the first person that one approaches is the local healers of the community (Monzon, 1995).
Therefore, here, living in the United States, Jessica suddenly finds herself in situations where he and if she has medical ailments, problems, or even minor conditions — something which is usually felt especially when in the industry of domestic and household work — she does not recognize that she is entitled to various medical rights as she is a taxpayer of the country. And because of the lack of the local healers of the local residents in the United States, Jessica only seeks medical attention when the ailment that she feels reaches an unbearable state.
If Jessica was back in the Philippines, although she would have certainly received social welfare and social work services, she would have had local support and be familiar with the system of medical treatment in our country. However, now, being the United States, her problem is that such medical attention is daunting especially for a migrant worker in the country who knows that her income in salary is relatively low compared to other citizens (Huang & Yeoh, 1996).
The availability of social work not only for medical access but also for information regarding what the hell services of the country can offer becomes essential in her case and the many other domestic helpers that belong to Asian-American communities in the country. The second person that we take into consideration is an individual named Lucas. Lucas, however, is not the real name of the client for reasons that shall be evident.
Lucas belongs to a cultural majority in the United States — African-Americans — who have integrated themselves from family, to environment, culture, and even to work, in greater metro polyps and areas in the United States today. Lucas is 24 years old and works in an advertising agency in one of the many public relations groups in the city. Also, he is single and living separately from his family with an income that current income brackets would classify as under the middle-class.
He has received a university education from one of the local state colleges and is planning on taking up a Masters degree in journalism for public communication in the next two years. Also, Lucas is a Baptist Christian and belongs to a tightknit community of families that practice the faith. However, not known to his family members and as he has only revealed to a few people, Lucas is homosexual and has known this for quite some time. He regularly undergoes sexual encounters with men in and around his age belonging to all kinds of races and cultures.
Recently, Lucas, upon receiving medical checkup and blood test — as well as an advice from one of his sexual partners — as discovered that he has the HIV virus and that his CD4 count is already below 300. The CD4 count is a indicator of the number of white blood cells a person has. A person without HIV or does not have any immune system problems will usually have 700 to 1000 CD4 count in their blood . Even individuals who have contracted HIV virus do not necessarily have to take medication as long as they are CD4 count remains above 300(Solomon et al. , 1998).
However, once this number is breached, certain doses of medication have to be taken every day at a certain time without missing a single dose in order to ensure survival from the disease. In fact, unbeknownst to Lucas or many other individuals who have contracted HIV virus and have been tested, and individual with HIV could survive up to the normal lifespan of human beings given that they either take their medicine every day in regularly without missing a single dose or insuring proper leadership to keep their immune system up if their white blood cell counts have not yet gone below 300 (Veazey & Lackner, 2004).
However, because of the negative convention of HIV, many people do not notice. Furthermore, the medication for HIV-positive individuals are extremely expensive (Kalichman et al. , 2000). It is up to social workers to inform individuals such as Lucas that the medications required to fight off the HIV virus and to maintain proper immune system in order to live a full healthy life is actually free and provided by the health services of the local and national government without any charge.
In fact, as of recently, any individual who has contracted HIV virus and started the medication that is provided by the government have not experienced deaths over five years because of its efficiency (Cole, Kemeny, & Taylor, 1997). The only problem with HIV is that individuals do not know either if it’s deadly effects, its problems of transmission, or the fact that medicine is distributed freely by the government is once tested this positive.
Lucas had only known of this fact when he had received information and help from social workers and the system of health benefits for HIV-positive individuals together with social work scenarios are kept in complete anonymity especially considering the fact that Lucas belongs to a religious sect of Christianity that condone such actions (Nelson, Rosenfeld, Breitbart, & Galietta, 2002). I, on the other hand, am a 28-year-old heterosexual female and have been raised in the country, although discussions with parents and relatives have revealed that I have some Italian and Native American roots.
Also, I am deeply religious and believe in large families, as well as a firm believer that sex should only be undergone after marriage as it stopped by the Catholic religion that I fervently practice. As a social worker, it is very essential to understand — especially considering the two clients that have already been mentioned earlier in this paper — of the various contexts they are coming from. In fact, one of the most problematic approach is especially in social work is if we have social workers immediately instigate judgment upon individuals.
These two identities, although significantly different from each other and even significantly different from my own, require introspection and interface because it is only through understanding their local social and cultural context would I be able to understand the way they think and therefore also be able to formulate plans on how to help these individuals and even be able to help other in the victuals who belong to the same social and cultural majority or minority in the future.
For example, in the case of Jessica, perhaps it may not be logical for me as a American citizens understand why she doesn’t go to healthcare facilities immediately when she feels pain and parts of her body, but then realized that her cultural perspective is that from the Philippines and a small room village community where elements usually go away or if they don’t, are addressed by local medicines and she looks.
However, unbeknownst to these individuals is that some diseases — like the ones that have been experienced by Lucas — could only be seen after relative medical examinations and tests have been performed by research facilities and hospitals which look specifically for signs, symptoms, and ailments as a result of years of study by medical professionals in their fields (Woloschuk & Tarrant, 2002).
Also, as another example, from the point of view of Lucas, being raised as a Christian Baptist immediately raises a problem in the issue of homosexuality — much more the issue of having contracted HIV because of his many experiences and sexual encounters. Perhaps, from my point of view, it would have been illogical for him not to seek treatment immediately. However, what I must remember again is that from his cultural point of view and perspective — especially from the perspective of religion and family — being a homosexual is a sin not only to local family members but even to his fate as well — much more contracting the deadly HIV virus.
As a social worker, even though I believe that sex should only be done after marriage and done in full fidelity to your partner, if I really wanted to help Lucas, I would not deliver this judgment just because of my own cultural Mormon perspective but rather understand it from his point of view and realized that health, among others, must trump the cards from the perspective of my duty as a social worker. References: Brown, D. E. , & James, G. D. (2000).
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