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Cultural Competence

Section 1

In paper 1, I wrote that “I think that many institutions that are accused of racial bias and discrimination are headed by people who are capable of initiating change through actions such as boycotts or demonstrations.” However, after spending some time at the university and being exposed to American organizations, I have realized that producing a change is not a responsibility of the heads of organizations alone. All employees of the organizations accused of racial discrimination and bias are responsible for working on implementation of fair policies for everyone. For example, as the police have often been accused of discriminating and being unfair to African Americans, it becomes the responsibility of every police officer to prevent racist behavior and try to be as fair as possible while dealing with any black American.  

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I have also developed awareness about the role an ordinary citizen can play in effecting the change in the society as a whole. The role of general public has become important with the increasing use of social media. Now, as some discriminatory act is performed due to racial bias, citizens can very easily spread their thoughts on the subject using the social media. They can raise their voice and form the communities of like-minded people within hours. Hence, now I believe that not only the leadership but everyone in the society is capable and responsible for taking actions against racial bias. 

In paper 2, I wrote that “It is not right for the government to impose rules on the personal lifestyles of people.” This statement can truly summarize my experience of living in the US, as I come from the culture whose view on the matter is almost opposite. The cultural competence I developed here have taught me that if the government, laws, and the surrounding people stop judging others based on their clothes, beliefs, and personal relationships, people find more room to develop their skills and achieve growth. This is a major reason due to which the American people are more successful economically and socially as compared to other cultures. America offers people an opportunity to mix with others despite the differences of language, gender, or religion, focusing more on the aspect of growth. Between the time when I first wrote this paper and today, I do not feel any change in my perspective, but these positive perceptions have been further strengthened. 

In paper 3, I wrote “It is the responsibility of the government or society to ensure equal opportunity for everyone.” I supported this statement by writing that it is wrong to deem the poor people lazy and unwilling to work. Although these points are valid, after getting some cultural exposure, I have begun to realize that at a place like America, where opportunities are available for everyone, the government alone cannot be held responsible for the gaps of income level between the rich and poor. The people certainly have a role to play in improving their financial conditions. After spending years at the university, I have had a chance to be friends with students who come from different types of cultures and families. I have observed that mainly it is the mindset of a student which governs his or her decision to continue the education, work for any organization, or start his or her own business. I have met a number of people who focus on short-term objectives, while others have a clear idea of what they actually want to acquire after a relatively longer period, such as 15 or 20 years. In case a person is interested in occupying a high-profile position after a period of 15 years, he or she is more likely to try for a higher degree. In contrast, if a person is focused on purchasing a house or car as soon as possible, he or she will likely use any work opportunity that becomes available immediately after completion of the first degree. The opportunities offered by the government to the rich and poor are the same for both the rich and poor, but personal perceptions about future goals make a difference. Therefore, now I have developed an understanding that instead of only blaming the government or system for not providing the poor with the chances, there is a need to create awareness among the poor about the ways of changing their economic conditions by focusing on long-term objectives. 

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In paper 4, I wrote “In order to ascertain whether the material would be understandable to a person with low medical literacy, I requested our neighbor’s nanny to read the brochure before asking her the questions.” After spending time at the university, I have developed the understanding that it was not only low medical literacy that made the nanny reluctant to read the brochure. It could also be some cultural attribute due to which she was not comfortable about reading it. In the paper, I did not include details on selecting the content of the brochure based on the culture of the audience. In case the audience is from a culture where traveling is not a common leisure activity, I would have to include some details on the benefits of traveling for their health. I would begin my brochure with the focus on the benefits of traveling and the positive aspects associated with traveling as applied to their disease. Relevant content and pictures would be added. On the other hand, if the audience is from a culture where traveling is generally considered an activity that is valuable in terms of leisure and health, I would just begin with the safety measures required for the specific disease.

Similarly, I have now developed the understanding that the major content of the brochure should be selected based on the cultural norms and preferences of the audience. The aim should not be just to simplify the content to make it more readable and attractive but also to provide the audience with the necessary details and remove those that are less important. Therefore, the most important details would be identified and bullet lists would be made out of them. Next step would be to add enough details about the important points to assist travelers with management of their allergies. I would make sure that all the pictures and content are developed in line with the cultural aspects of the audiences. Finally, the information which is not as relevant for meeting the overall objective of the brochure would be removed. 

Section 2

The video “Unnatural Causes: Not Just a Paycheck” highly contributed to changing my thinking. Earlier, I used to think that the only reason why there is inequality among people is the difference in their income levels. Although this is true to some extent, there are additional factors in society which make people feel inferior. For example, if the people of color are not treated at the same level, e.g. if other people in the line at a bank are given preferential treatment over them due to their race or nationality, they begin to feel discriminated and unequal. People experience psychological pressure not only due to the differences in the amount they earn or the lifestyle they can afford but also due to the different ways in which the society treats them and their rich counterparts. 

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The discussions were effective in changing my thinking, because without having a chance to write these discussions, I would have only read the articles or watched the videos without relating them to my own thinking, culture, and lifestyle. Like with many other courses, I would have read the articles and course material only to pass the exams or to get good grades. However, in this course, I was given a chance to relate the material with my thinking, which offered me an opportunity to reshape it. Living in cultural settings which are different from my home country and having a chance to consider the readings and videos have been the best opportunity one can have to develop cultural competence. I was able to realize that people should not be judged based on their cultural preferences, but rather on their skill set and intellectual level. I have undoubtedly become more open to understanding cultural differences and personal preferences of other people. Therefore, I believe now I will be more open with my relationships, and I will accept that people have right to a higher degree of personal freedom. 

My family and friends will easily feel the change in my personality after taking this semester. For example, earlier I used to argue a lot with my family members and friends about their preferences or habits which I did not like. However, now I am more open to accept personal preferences of other people. I have learnt about the benefits of letting people practice their beliefs and preferences and the negative psychological effects which could be raised in the people if they are not allowed or criticize for practicing what they like. I have learnt the value of personal freedom. Contrary to my previous attitude, I will no longer expect my younger siblings to follow the examples I have set for them but rather allow them to do what they like and enjoy the way they feel best. Similarly, I will not interfere with the personal affairs of my sisters and will allow them to make their own decisions, as this will assist them in developing their personalities more efficiently than if our parents and I keep making their decisions for them. Hence, the lessons learnt from the course material as well as discussions will be obvious to my friends and family through my personality change.

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