The multicultural competence course has been a major eye-opener for me. I have learned so much about myself and other people. I feel like I have always been too narrow-minded and probably self-centered, as I have always viewed the world through my own lenses. By the end of the course, I had to adopt an open mind on so many things. For instance, I used to judge people based on my own beliefs and standards, without necessarily trying to understand their viewpoint and cultural background, which are key in explaining certain things. Recently, I learned about a certain culture among the Hopi, a part of Native Americans, where a snake dance is performed to call on the spirits or the gods to pour rain. This is a key event among them, and they suffer snake bites and might even die in the process, but they usually have antidotes with secret ingredients that cannot be revealed to outsiders (Whiteley, 2017). Such a thing would not have made sense to me at the beginning of the semester. After this course, I have learned the importance of respecting the cultures of other people, and even if it fails to make sense to me, I have learned to accept certain things as they are since there is simply no superior cultural standard.
I never really understood how difficult it is for some people to seek mental services, as I believe that people need to open up whenever they are not okay. By the end of this course, I got to learn some cultural reasons behind poor help-seeking behaviors among certain individuals like Asian Americans and even African Americans who have had poor experiences with physicians and feel that they cannot be understood. Some cultures simply consider such heart-to-heart talks a taboo (Scott et al., 2020). I have learned to understand, and I no longer have the need to pressure my friends from other cultures into talking to me whenever they have a friend. Sometimes the best help would be to just sit with them and be there for them.
Recently, I have seen so many people, particularly African American celebrities, who insist on the need to promote their own. One woman said that whenever she went to a doctor, she would choose to get treated by a Black doctor. I found this outrageous. This course has taught me the importance of providing culture-specific therapies which address the specific needs of certain people. The therapist needs to understand the basic assumptions and cultures of the African Americans as this will be important in enabling understanding and proper treatment. Since it is assumed that a Black psychiatrist is better placed to understand the problems faced by a Black patient, I totally understand. I feel the need to advocate for a more diverse and culturally competent workforce, particularly in the health care industry in order to fully meet the needs of various patients.
Mio, J. S., Barker, L. A., Rodriguez, D.M., & Gonzalez, J. (2020). Multicultural psychology: Understanding our diverse communities (5th ed. Oxford University Press.
Whiteley, P. (2017). The end of anthropology (at Hopi)?. Journal of the Southwest, 125-157.
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Reflect on your course experience in multicultural competence. How has your perspective changed since the beginning of the term?
Identify and discuss at least three ideas, beliefs, or opinions you had before that were challenged by what you learned. What will you do now that you have this new perspective?
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