I and customs differently in terms of way

I identify with
the Jamaican culture though I am a first generation U.S born. All my family
before me and my parents are born Jamaicans and the culture, traditions and
beliefs are rooted form Jamaica although my immediate family had emigrated to
the U.S. The Jamaican culture is broad and mixed with a diverse society that
has a history of inhabitants that begun with the original Taino people. Taino
people were Spanish slaves who worked in then plantations. They had been
brought to Africa by the Britons who overthrew the Spanish people. The dominant
cultural force was the black slaves that battled the cruel conditions. Later Chinese
and Indian immigrants were brought to Jamaica was indentured workers resulting
to the rich diversity that had an impact on the religion, culture, language and
social customs at the end of slave trade. Some of the values offer
opportunities to a human service provider while others pose challenges.

The Jamaican expresses
their cultural beliefs, values and customs differently in terms of way of
dressing, their language and food among others. Their official language is
English that has British influence. Another spoken language is Patois (Creole)
which is a combination of English and other African languages mostly spoken in
rural areas. The language was developed by slaves as a means of communication
with one another because they came from different countries and tribes. The largest
religion is Christianity with the Anglican church, catholic, Baptist and church
of God among those present in the country. Their dressing varies with
Rastafarians wearing loose-fitting clothing and adorning long dreadlocks. The main
meal is usually taken in the evening because most people don’t have time to
prepare midday meal and children are at school. Rice is the ceremonial food
served with yam, green plantains, and sweet potatoes. It can also be served
with curried goat meat. Goats are used for sacrifice and its blood is mixed
with rum and drunk. On Sundays it is their tradition that families even the
poor ones share a sociable lunch that may include fish, chicken, fried
plantains among others. Morning meal includes boiled bananas or roasted breadfruit,
saal fish and herbal tea.

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A typical
Jamaican family is a close-knit web that includes uncles, aunties, grandparents
and cousins both whom provide economic and emotional support to their members.
The
Rastafari movement comes from larger Christian culture that arose due to consciousness
of Africa and the political events in the continent. Jamaica has three types of
Rastafarians. The first one is the Bobo Shanti who wears long robes and turbans
that are tightly wrapped. Their lifestyle is grounded on the Old Testament Jewish
Mosaic Law that includes observation of the Sabbath and hygienic laws. The Nyabinghi
ones believe that all black people came from Ethiopia and have always pushed
for their repatriation to Ethiopia. They believe that Emperor Haile Selassie is
the incarnation of the supreme deity. Finally the twelve tribes is the most
liberal one founded by Dr. Vernon Carrington. Its members are allowed to
worship in a church of their choice and they believe that they are direct descendants
of the twelve sons of David.Family is highly valued in the Hispanic culture.
Some of the values that stand out in the Hispanic culture are family unity,
hard work, respect, and sacrifice. Families tend to be very close and family
members are loyal to each other. People are taught to place the good of the
family ahead of their own individual success (James & Hastings, 2003).

When people
first meet they greet each other by shaking hands with a direct eye contact and
a warm smile. After establishing friendship women can kiss each other on the
cheeks starting with the right cheek. Men pat one another on the shoulder or
arm when conversing or during greetings. People are mainly addressed by their
honorific titles and their surname until they have developed a personal relationship.
At birth the umbilical cord of the infant is buried and a tree planted at that
spot. The birth tree signifies an unbreakable tie with the land where the tree
has been planted. A red string may be tied around the baby’s wrist or hair to
chase away ghosts and prevent evil. The infant’s hair is not cut until they
begin to speak because it is believed that doing so may delay speech. When a
person dies furniture in his room is rearranged and mattress turned over to
make sure that his spirit does not recognize the room and stay there. When one dies
at home somebody may sweep behind the body while it is being carried outside in
order for the spirit to leave along with the body. The death of a husband requires
the widow to sleep in red underwear to ward off the dead man’s spirit that may
want to disturb the widow in her sleep.

Some of the opportunities
that I see in regard to my culture and working with a multicultural and diverse
profession are that it offers me a broader service range. Working with a
diverse profession brings a diverse collection of skills and experiences. It also
comes with variety viewpoints. Different points of view provide a large pool of
ideas and experiences that are important in an organization. It creates an increased
adaptability since people from diverse backgrounds have a variety of solutions
to different problems as they bring individual talents and experiences to
counter the problems and challenges.

Some of the challenges
opportunities
that I see in regard to my culture and working with a multicultural and diverse
profession are communication. Communication can be a big problem for people
from different backgrounds as it results into confusion and lack of teamwork. Resistance
to change is another challenge especially for those employees that refuse to
accept the fact that social and cultural workplace is changing. Resistance to
change silences new ideas and it impedes growth. Cultural diversity may also
come with pride especially when some people feel that they come from a superior
culture they may look down on others and this may affect the working relationship.

Some services or
programs emphasize on personal responsibility and individualism. The client, on
the other hand, would want a communal-based or family-based intervention. In
such cases, when you insist on the individual based intervention, the client
feels that as a service provider, one does not respect their values and
cultures. The family-oriented cultural value is sometimes an opportunity in the
cases where a family based or communal based intervention approach is the best
approach. When the best approach to intervention involves engaging the other
family members or members of communities such as school or church, the cultural
value of preferring family-based intervention comes in handy.

Some biases and
prejudices that were brought forth are the clients from a Jamaican background
choosing to be assisted by me.  This kind
of bias is common in my work because the clients feel that I would assist them
better than service providers from other backgrounds. This type of bias would
affect my profession and how I handle my clients in many ways. Handling Jamaican
clients only will not give me a chance to manage clients from other
backgrounds, which is very limiting factor. I, therefore, prefer to work with
any client who is assigned to me and cultural background is not a factor I
consider. It is crucial to be a culturally competent counselor who is open and
honest. I invite open dialogue regarding ethnicity and race and how they impact
a client.

I have been
exposed to people from diverse cultures. I have handled African American
clients, Latinos, and many other backgrounds. Dealing with people from diverse
backgrounds in counseling practice is helps one to develop multicultural
competencies (Wicks,
Capps & Parsons, 2003).
One is able to work effectively with people from any background. It is always
important to know the values of different tribes and the challenges that come
with the differences. Without competencies in diverse cultures, one can make
assumptions and wrong decisions. For example, in some cultures, avoiding eye
contact is a sign of respect while in others, maintaining eye contact with
another person is a sign of respect.

Jamaican culture
is rich in diverse cultural beliefs and values. A counselor needs to be open to
the values that the client prefers. For example, most Jamaican clients may
prefer family therapy because they share a wide dimension of the concept of
family. Jamaican culture may present challenges when trying to handle clients
but it also offers opportunities such as the preference of family therapy.

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