Cultural Diversity in the United States

By Larry L. Naylor | Go to book overview

PART V
Dealing with Cultural Diversity

No volume on diversity would be complete without offering up some considerations and practical suggestions for those people who will live, work, or play in contexts of diversity. Although none of the authors would suggest that they have all of the answers to all of the particular problems or difficulties generated by diversity in any context, they do attempt to convey some of the lessons and insights born of their experiences. The few presented here are hardly indicative of all of the contexts one might find themselves in, but the considerations, issues, and aspects are going to be similar. Again, as with other sections, some selection has been made based on the significance of particular contexts to social debates currently going on and where diversity presents some particular and glaring problems (e.g., in health care and aging, in areas of social services, and in education).

Throughout the first four sections of this volume, the reader was periodically exposed to at least some basic things to consider when interacting with people representing different racial, ethnic, and special interests groups as the authors directed their primary attention to conveying some of the problems of generalization and some basic knowledge concerning specific cultural groupings. Chapter authors of this last section are specifically concerned with some practical suggestions and considerations which operationalize that knowledge as people go about working or simply living in contexts of diversity. In Chapter 20, Deborah Reed-Danahay delves into cultural diversity and the health-care system, focusing her discussion around the nursing home and the aging population of America. She points out that the care giver is frequently from a very different cultural background than that of the patients with whom they work. To eliminate or minimize some of the misunderstandings, miscommunications, and mistrust that can characterize such interactions in health care, people need to be aware of this possibility and the implications of this to the quality of health care that can be provided. In Chapter 21, Richard Enos looks at social work practices with ethnic and minority persons, and strongly proposes that understanding some of the cultural specific values of the diverse groups in America

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