made friends and experienced cultures from around the world. Khanna and Johnson (2010), also state that biracial individuals have found that having the ability to associate with various races have actually worked as an advantaged because of their ability to associate with multiple groups. This attitude eventually became the approach the student had with dealing with his racial identity.
According to him, he no longer tried to identify with a particular group, and part of this a lesson that he was taught by his parents. Though he experienced different ideas about his identity from family members, his parents were very intentional with the way they socialized all of their children to the world they lived in. Neither of them could relate to his multiracial experience, but both understood societies view of race as a result of growing up in the eras that they did, and this made all of the difference.
In an article titled Ethnic-Racial Socialization and Its Correlates in Families of Black-White Biracial Children (Csizmadia & Kaneakua, 2014), the authors discuss one the issues that biracial children have with understanding their identity results from the parents who often have a different viewpoint of race and cultural as a result of having two different experiences with race, culture, and many other aspects of life.
However, the authors state that the parents with biracial children were more likely to discuss their children’s racial-ethnic identity resulting in an improved socialization and comfort when it comes to racial identity. Next, we will discuss Across a Hundred Mountains (Grande, 2014), and explain how the characters of the novel experienced many of the same aspects of the character’s identity were similar. Hispanic and Latino Clients When assessing the student and speaking about his life it was easy to see the things that are similar and dissimilar between is life, and that of the characters mentioned by Grande (2006). One of the similarities that was noticed was the desire of the father to leave the place of birth, in an effort to find better opportunities, and the idea that hard work could change a family’s life. The student mentioned that his father was born in Mississippi in 1938, and during this time African Americans were second class citizens. As a child, his father picked cotton and cut Masonite to help support he family.
In the book, Juana’s father spent his days harvesting corn and the attitude of those who are often parents, and on the lower socioeconomic scale it is often the belief that hard work is the only way to change your life. This often results in strong work ethics that are passed down to the children, and when speaking to the student it was obvious that he was proud of the fact that his father had never missed a day of work, and this was the attitude shared by most within the family.
Another similarity was the religion based principles shared with Juana and her family. In the book, luana mentions her mother creating an alter and praying for her father, and it is the faith centered aspects of their lives that often gave them the strength to get through the hard times they experienced. One of these instances occurred when Juana’s mother attended the celebration and allowed for herself to be whipped, with the hopes that this sacrifice would be accepted by God.
In an article titled Surviving in America (2015), the author speaks of the church’s role in assisting starving families in many countries to include Mexico which according to Deignan (2015), has approximately 11 million of their residents making it into the United States. Once in the United States, it is often the faith based organizations that support immigrants as they navigate a new country. This is not only the case with Hispanic immigrants, but also the fact when speaking of African Americans and their fight to overcome racism.
According to the student, he can remember attending church every Wednesday and Sunday and this was because in their home his family’s religious beliefs were the center of everything. Also, though the students’ family never offered any sacrifices like Juana’s mother, he did mention that his family faithfully offered ten percent of their income as a sacrifice. This idea that a higher power is in control was something that his father always preached, and historically is something that can be seen in the lives of many people who were seeking hope in situations that were not perfect.
In an article titled A Call to Move, the author explains how many felt African Americans needed to stick to the working in the fields, but World War 1 changed everything. This was because the efforts to support the war created new opportunities causing many blacks to move North and creating new opportunities. When looking at the differences between the student and the characters of the book, one of the things that stands out is the family structure of Juana and her experiences with her grandmother.
A unique feature of the Hispanic culture is the idea that the family is a unit that contributes to the overall wellbeing off the family. Ayon (2014), speaks of Familismo which is identified within the Hispanic community as, Strong family loyalty, closeness, and the belief that contributing to the overall well-being of the family is necessary. In the book, Juana’s relationship with her grandmother was not spoken of in depth, but she did have a relationship with her and it appeared that the grandmother had influence over the father and Juana.
The student knows of both his maternal and paternal grandparents, but did not have a relationship with either of them. In fa student mentioned that outside of his parents he was not close to any of his other family members. According to the student, all of his family members lived their own lives and had not seen any of them since he was a child. When asked why he felt this was the case the student mentioned “It’s not that we don’t care of love each other, it’s just everyone has their own lives and outside of texting on birthdays and holidays we all stay in our own world”.
While the student and Juana have many similarities and differences it was important to understand how this information gained will impact the students as he works with clients of this population. Next, the student was asked of his thoughts on the theories discussed and how this information will impact his cultural sensitivity when working with Hispanic clients. Integration of Theory and Social Work Practice As mentioned by Payne (2014), there are several different theories that practitioners in the field can choose from, and throughout the years there has been several different opinions as to what theories work best when working clients.
The different theories would be used in an effort to identify the areas of concern, and then the chosen theory is used to create an effective objective for the client. When asked, the student interviewed explained that he was not familiar with many of the different theories prior to taking the course. With this statement, the interviewer asked the student what theories discussed during the course would he use to enhance his cultural sensitivity when working with Hispanic and Latino clients.
He immediately explained his new appreciation for the Strength Perspective and explained how he as a social worker often focused on the lack of resources that many Latino and Hispanic clients have, and when reading about this theory he realized the importance to focus on the strengths. As cited by Wilson (2006), the Strengths Perspective theory was originally developed in the University of Kansas School of Social Work, and has been continuously developed as the theory is used with various groups.
The theory emerged as a response to the idea that social workers were focusing on the problem of their clients, rather than the possibility and strengths. It is with this understanding the interviewed student explained he will now assist those who are in this population by first, identifying their needs and then creating a plan based off of their strengths. The student understands that all clients regardless of ethnicity and cultural identity have the potential to find themselves in need. However, when focusing particularly on the Hispanic and Latino population there are strengths that could even be seen in Juana’s situation.
An example is when Juana found her and her mother without food. She could have easily given up and sought handouts from the few who still supported her and her mother. Instead, she found a way to make money at the train station and used this money to assist the family. Another example was her determination to find her father and the actions she took to accomplish this. Her attempts we often dangerous and once she found herself passed out at the foot of a mountain and luckily was rescued, but when looking at the reasons she was doing s one has to be inspired.
She was determined to find her father, and while it was apparent in the book that she missed her father, another reason was in an effort to help her mother who was in an unsuitable condition as a result of her experiences she went through in Juana’s fathers’ absence. By using the Strength Perspective theory to address these experiences the social worker would use positive feedback and as cited by Payne (2014), this theory is excellent when working with women of domestic violence. According to the student, understanding this theory has enhanced his cultural sensitivity and will make him a better social worker.
This is because when looking at the Hispanic culture the strengths are evident in everyday life. Strengths such as family and religion were obviously strengths that guided Juana and others in her family, but these strengths are true to those whom will be served. As a result of understanding this, it is these strengths that will be used to encourage, motivate, and develop objectives that are focused around the strength of the clients. Of course, this is all with the hopes of creating an objective that the client believes