Overview Through the development of a virtual culture chest, you will begin to understand each other

Overview Through the development of a virtual culture chest, you will begin to understand each other’s important social and cultural identities, and the dynamics around these identities. Like an actual chest, your virtual culture chest will have an interior and exterior. * Interior: what is known to the individual or those close to the individual * Exterior: what is seen or assumed by society Instructions Part I You will use PowerPoint to develop the interior and exterior of your virtual culture chest. * Interior: Slides 1-5 * On each slide, include photos, symbols, descriptions, or other pictures to represent at least 5 items that you identify with as part of your personal culture. Choose items/pictures that describe your membership in various social/cultural groups (Race, Ethnicity, Tribe, Gender, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Ability, Religion, Social Class, and Age, etc.) which are “close to your heart.” These items reflect how you see and feel yourself internally (the key thing here is that this is how you see, feel, experience yourself, not necessarily how others see you). * Provide a written description of each image included. * Exterior: Slide 6 * Select at least 5 words that represent your perception of how society views you. These words may or may not be congruent with your internal self-image. Part II Write a comprehensive summary explaining the significance of each item contained in your virtual culture chest. Note: Students are expected to respond to other postings by doing one or more of the following (as appropriate): * Making references to the text and other readings * Bringing in outside research * Sharing personal workplace experiences * Supporting and providing constructive feedback to one another Objective To see the similarities and differences between how you see yourself and what comes at you from others, including media, advertising, etc. Overview Through the development of a virtual culture chest, you will begin to understand each other’s important social and cultural identities, and the dynamics around these identities. Like an actual chest, your virtual culture chest will have an interior and exterior. * Interior: what is known to the individual or those close to the individual * Exterior: what is seen or assumed by society Instructions Part I You will use PowerPoint to develop the interior and exterior of your virtual culture chest. * Interior: Slides 1-5 * On each slide, include photos, symbols, descriptions, or other pictures to represent at least 5 items that you identify with as part of your personal culture. Choose items/pictures that describe your membership in various social/cultural groups (Race, Ethnicity, Tribe, Gender, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Ability, Religion, Social Class, and Age, etc.) which are “close to your heart.” These items reflect how you see and feel yourself internally (the key thing here is that this is how you see, feel, experience yourself, not necessarily how others see you). * Provide a written description of each image included. * Exterior: Slide 6 * Select at least 5 words that represent your perception of how society views you. These words may or may not be congruent with your internal self-image. Part II Write a comprehensive summary explaining the significance of each item contained in your virtual culture chest. Note: Students are expected to respond to other postings by doing one or more of the following (as appropriate): * Making references to the text and other readings * Bringing in outside research * Sharing personal workplace experiences * Supporting and providing constructive feedback to one another efining Culture Slide 1 Welcome to SASS 484: Theories of oppression and social justice, about culture. Before we can understand how culture affects our lives and the lives of our clients in social work practice, we need a common understanding of the term culture. Slide 2 So what is culture? For some, culture may be as simple as the food a cultural group eats or the art they create and appreciate. But for many, culture has a deeper meaning. It includes our common beliefs and our shared values. Slide 3 For the purposes of this class, we will define culture as the integrated pattern of human behavior that includes thoughts, communications, actions, customs, beliefs, values, and institutions of a social group. Culture makes up the fabric of a community and allows a group of people to develop a shared identity. However, this definition of culture leads to another question. Slide 4 What is a social group? And, what are some social groups with a unique cultural identity? Slide 5 Traditionally, when thinking about cultural groups, we delineate them according to eight main areas. These include age, class, race or ethnicity, religion or spirituality, mental or physical ability, education, gender identity and sexuality. Examples of cultural groups related to these areas include teenagers or older adults for age, African Americans, Mexican Americans or Norwegian Americans for race or ethnicity, those who practice Judaism or Islam for religion, those who are differently abled like members of the deaf community, those who identify as transgendered, such as people who consider themselves female affirmed or those who consider themselves male for gender and those who identify as gay, lesbian, heterosexual or bisexual for sexuality. Of course, these are just a few examples of many in these areas. In this class and look at how cultural positions relate to experiences of privilege or oppression in our society. However, we should be careful not to limit our understanding of culture to these areas. Many other aspects of our lives may have an impact on our cultural identities. Lets expand our idea of culture and look at some other potential cultural positions now. Slide 6 Recently, social scientists have begun to look at how our worldviews and behaviors may be affected by the historical context during the time periods we have lived, particularly in our formative years. For example, they suggest veterans- those born prior to 1946- may have values based on living through a depression and or a world war. These values may differ from those born just after world war two- often referred to as the baby boomers- who grew-up in a different historical context. We might also have different cultures based on the regions we live in. For example, here in the United States, people from the southeast may have a different culture then those who grew up in New York City or from those who grew up in rural North Dakota. Further, our situational context may also contribute different cultural positions like being an undergraduate or a graduate student. Occupational groups often also have unique cultures like academics, physicians, educators, police officers and, of course, social workers. As social workers, we believe in the worth and human dignity of all people and promoting social justice. These are just a few of our shared values and part of the cultural traditions of social work. Slide 7 Now lets think about why our different cultural identities are important. As individuals, culture affects how we experience the world, make decisions, interact with others, and understand ourselves and our roles. Culture determines our values including our ideas of right and wrong, what we think is important. However, for each of us as individuals, our cultural positions may include multiple, sometimes conflicting identities. For example, my values as a social worker may not entirely match with the values related to my Christian faith. Or, my values as a teenager in my small town community might not match the values associated with how I identify my gender or sexuality. Finally, our cultural positions may allow us certain privileges in the greater society- make us agents- or deny us certain privileges- make us targets. We will learn more about this throughout the class. Slide 8 Often times, we make certain assumptions around culture including associating negative stereotypes with particular cultural groups. We may also make assumptions about someone based on limited information of their cultural identity or these stereotypes. Such assumptions may be conscious or unconscious. Regardless, they may affect how we interact with others including our clients in social work practice. In fact, it proves very common for those in the helping and service profession to fall into the trap of stereotyping particular cultural groups when our only interactions of people from that group is when they are at their worst or most vulnerable. Consider the example of a security officer working on a college campus during the night shift. She may most commonly interact with students when they are intoxicated and belligerent or incoherent as a result. She may start to think of all college students in this manner negating those she does not interact with who spend the majority of their time studying or contributing positively to the campus community. Slide 9 To avoid this trap, we want to keep several things in mind when thinking about culture. First of all, there is great diversity within cultural groups. Though a particular cultural group may share common characteristics, the level of affiliation or identification with any one member of that group has with that culture may vary greatly. Also, as discussed, we often have a cultural identity created by membership in a variety of cultural groups. Finally, despite having multiple identities at play, we often tend to see only one aspect of cultural group membership in others rather than considering them in their whole cultural context. For example, if one were considering the cultural position of a white woman who identifies as a lesbian and practices Buddhism one might only think of her as white or lesbian rather than consider how all these identities interact to shape her life experiences. As social workers we must be prepared for any of these cultural positions to be relevant to our clients, while also recognizing the great diversity in the experiences related to them.

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