Dominance within and amongst social groups is perpetuated when it is not challenged (Adams, Blumenfeld, Castaneda, Hackman, Peters and Zuniga, 2013). This was evident in the case of 24 year old, Aaron, an immigrant from Guyana who sought guidance due to symptoms of depression and anxiety (Plummer, Makris and Brocksen, 2014). Further exploration into his background, revealed a strained relationship with his parents, particularly after the untimely death of his younger brother (Plummer, et. al., 2014). At the foundation of this strained relationship was a different in cultural values held by Aaron and his parents. Aaron, having immigrated to the United States seven years after his parent’s immigration, attempted to maintain the traditional values of his homeland, while his parents often ridiculed him for holding these connections tightly (Plummer, et. al., 2014).
Since the case study indicated that his parents often “made fun of him,” it is clear how dominant groups may, too, alienate Aaron (Plummer, et. al., 2014). Despite living in the United States for several years at the time of his initial evaluation, Aaron continued to speak with an accent. This is one, of perhaps many, characteristics that continues to inadvertently place Aaron within the margins of society; upon first meeting, dominant groups can immediately recognize Aaron is not “one of them” (Adams, et. al., 2013). Prejudicial views can prohibit Aaron, or other immigrants, from transitioning into mainstream society, without always being deemed “different,” or marginalized (Adams, et. al., 2013).
In order to be an effective resource for Aaron, the social worker must be culturally competent, understanding his culture in Guyana as well as his unique challenges to assimilate into the United States. When Aaron discusses the rejection of his parents, he is need of a professional to validate his feelings, while working toward developing his own sense of self-identity (Adams, et. al., 2013). Aaron requires direction to achieve his own personal set of goals. These dichotomous goals include maintaining his traditions and restoring a relationship with his parents (Plummer, et. al. 2014).
Adams, M., Blumenfeld, W. J., Castaneda, C., Hackman, H. W., Peters, M. L., & Zuniga, X. (Eds.). (2013). Readings for diversity and social justice. (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge Press.
Plummer, S. B., Makris, S., & Brocksen S. M. (Eds.). (2014). Social work case studies: Foundation year. Baltimore, MD: Walden International Universities Publishing. [Vital Source e-Reader].
In many cases some groups gain privileges over others on the basis of their racial or ethnic differences perceived. Racial or ethnic differences can take place for many reasons but the primary reason is often economic, social or political power (Chang & Dodd, n. d.).
The negative impact of dominant culture on immigrants and refugees includes not being accepted as a full member of society. Some Americans are still opposed to a large scale of immigration due to ignorance and prejudice. Aaron experienced this with his parents, he was rejected and not accepted. Aaron felt if he was to be accepted his parents should have brought him and his brother both to the United States.
Aaron’s family already criticizes him for the use of his cultural traditions, so racism and prejudice will impact his assimilation greatly. Immigrants who become racialized and are treated as disadvantaged racial or ethnic minorities, may find their pathways to economic mobility and assimilation block because of racial/ethnic discrimination (Brown & Bean, 2006).
As a social worker, when Aaron discusses his family’s rejection, I would suggest to Aaron to talk to his parents and ask them why they are being so negative towards him and try to understand their reasoning. I would suggest that his parents attend counseling as well and help them realize that one of the reasons that Aaron still accepts his culture’s traditions and customs could be because he didn’t leave his country until he was 15.
Brown, S. K., & Bean, F., D. (2006). Assimilation Models, Old and New: Explaining a Long-Term Process. Retrieved from http://www.migrationpolicy.org
Chang, H., & Dodd, T. (n. d.). International perspectives on race and ethnicity: An annotated bibliography. Retrieved from http://www.edchange.org
Plummer, S. B., Makris, S., & Brocksen S. M. (Eds.). (2014). Social work case studies: Foundation year. Baltimore, MD: Walden International Universities Publishing. [Vital Source e-Reader]
Respond to a colleague’s post by explaining why you agree or disagree with your colleague’s use of a particular theoretical approach and/or practical skill in working with Dalia.
Dalia is a 14-year-old girl dealing with behavioral issues. Her behavioral issues include argumentative behavior, fights with peers, poor concentration in class, highly sexualized behavior and she later admitted to drinking occasionally with friends (Plummer, Makris, & Brocksen, 2014). She has a fake ID, and used it to get a tattoo without permission from her parents (Plummer, Makris, & Brocksen, 2014). Dalia’s parents both work a lot, and each blame the other for her behavioral issues (Plummer, Makris, & Brocksen, 2014). Dalia expressed that she has a decent relationship with her older brother, who lives in a different state, and a not so cool relationship with her sister who is in college (Plummer, Makris, & Brocksen, 2014). Her sister was a very good student, and Dalia feels that she is constantly compared to her (Plummer, Makris, & Brocksen, 2014). I identified Dalia’s self-harming behavior as drinking at a young age, having a fake ID, and having highly sexualized behavior. Each of these things can lead Dalia to many harmful events and situations in her life.
According to Erickson’s Psychosocial Theory, at the age of 14, Dalia is in Stage 5 which states that she is in a transitional period in her live and trying to find who she is (Zastrow & Kirst-Ashman, 2016). She is examining her role in life, and trying to create her identity. Dalia is having a hard time because her parents aren’t around, and she notices that the family dynamic has changed since her brother and sister left home (Plummer, Makris, & Brocksen, 2014). She also feels that she is being compared to her sister at school (Plummer, Makris, & Brocksen, 2014). Zastrow and Kirst-Ashman (2016) also talk about the “looking-glass self” which suggests that people associate who they are with how people relate to them. These two theories suggest that Dalia’s interactions with her family and her teachers may have caused her behavior. As she is developing and trying to find her identity, she is having issues because the way she views herself and the input she gets from the people around her don’t match. So she is exploring and experimenting to try to figure out the kind of person that she wants to be.
Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., & Brocksen, S. M. (2014). Working With Children and Adolescents: The Case of Dalia. In Social Work Case Studies: Foundation Year. Laureate Education, Inc.
Zastrow, C. H., & Kirst-Ashman, K. K. (2016). Understanding Human Behavior and Social Environment, 10th edition. Boston: Cengage Learning.
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