Communities are natural human associations based on ties of intimate personal relationships and shared experiences n which each of us mutually provides a meaning in our lives, meets our needs for affiliation and also accomplish interpersonal goals (Homan, 2007). Ones individual self cannot reach its full realization in isolation but only as he or she is nurtured, guided and suffused with the life of the communal social relationships in which one exists. Homan thus says that our predisposition to community insures that we become the persons we were meant to become, discover who we are as people and construct a culture that would be impossible for single, isolated individuals to accomplish alone (2007). My community could be school, the agency for which I work for, the congregation of my synagogue or church. They are the lenses through which one ca look at his community (Homan, 2007).
Do members of your community look like you?
The members of my community resemble me in particular aspects although there are some fundamental differences between us. There are the smaller divisions which I identify with within my broad community setting. These include my age mates, former class mates and other groups of individuals which give me affiliation with other community members (Homan, 2007). We share several aspects within our surroundings and environments like the type of exposure, water, food and besides that the social groups we attend.
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In what ways do they look the same or different?
The elemental differences between me and my community members is that we speak different language and have different religious, color and cultural backgrounds. The communication between me and the rest of the community has been improving with time as I try to learn their language. Initially there were communication barriers. Another fundamental difference is that we share different religion. Being a Christian and living in a Hindu community means that we share different religious settings. Besides that it means since we have different origins our cultures are also different.
The major similarities between me and the members of my community lies within the fundamental capacity of our humanness, the state of or being and the manner in which we relate provides benefits that result effective interaction (Homan, 2007). Our neighborhoods, the business environment, farming and social settings, boundary lines and other cues remind me that I am member of that community (Homan, 2007). I am therefore affiliated to this community because it influences how I spend my time. Our color is different. Considering that we share same resources in the community such as water, shopping and have access same hospitals within our surrounding implies that we are similar.
How do leaders within your community treat people who are like you?
Leaders in the community treat people of my category differently. This is manifested when it comes to religious. Homan ((2007) says that spirituality invites us to think about our place in larger order. Inherent in spirituality are notions of the meaning of life and our responsibility to us, to other people and to other elements of our environment. In this context since spirituality involves call to a set beliefs and practices that develop and affirm our inherent value we feel isolated from the rest of the community by our leaders because of our belief.
I have noticed that the leaders of our community and religious leaders do not collaborate and recognize that different religions have value for different community members. For example Homan says that “forming and maintain a relationship is an integral function of the community” (2007 p. 106). Leaders in the community on one hand do not encourage us to get together and feel that we are part of the community and rarely encourage us to accomplish something as part of the larger community. I sometimes do not have feelings of well being and confidence which is necessary for me to accomplish something in the community. Generally there is isolation from the larger part of the community but it does not go to extend of feeling completely alone.
How do they treat people who are different?
People who are different are sometimes not involved in understanding community conditions and taking action to make them better. Unlike the larger community members who are active in all phases of community development projects some of the leaders do not involve the minorities in the community. The minority people in our community are not proportionately represented in areas such as employment due to race blindness. There are no affirmative action measures to take care of unfair treatments. Unfair treatment occurs in distribution of jobs and some communal resources. Due to race blindness people in positions of power hire people they already know, and people from similar backgrounds (Cotter, 2006).
How do other members of your community treat people who are like you?
In my residential home there are few people who are like me. Using socioeconomic status as the standard the majority of our people are defined as minors. I have observed that most of the people like me had little contact with the majority group in our community. People often identify and describe themselves on the basis the language and color and therefore there is no a general name used to identify the minority people from our community. In our sport club colleagues form the majority group come play having absorbed beliefs that racism belongs to another time and therefore they do not see color (TuSmith, 2002). Due to the ideology of individualism that is considered pervasive in our culture, people from this club resist the notion that we are anything other than autonomous individuals. These beliefs have an positive impact in our sports club performance.
How do they treat people who are different?
I have noticed that when there are social gatherings person from the majority community are very vocal and sometimes there are heated debates. In schools, I have noticed that a teacher of the minority teaching a class of minority students feels more empowered to express their views. What is important to note is that color and language offers some people from the community a number of protections and benefits. Because I am from the minority group I face some kinds of difficulties due to the status of my language and cultural background. Besides this since racist comments are painful for me to listen to they have corrosive effect on my person (TuSmith, 2002). Although my pedagogy evolves from a passionate commitment to social justice, I have always stepped out of setting which discriminate me based on my color and language.
Do your texts or work manuals contain information by or about people like you?
Yes. Currently through brochures I am appreciating the risk taking required to develop a racially aware community setting. One of my challenging tasks is how to reduce the matters of inequity in the community through the use of my written manuals. Raising such issues especially in social gathering is still threatening. In such situations I find myself intending to understand the fundamental things that I need to become aware of examining the relationship between community settings and race. Recently I have been trying inventions of how to create awareness through these manuals by distributing them in several areas within the community. Most of the manuals I have cover several aspects associated with color, gender and ethnicity in diverse community.
Do the local media represent people like you? If so, in what ways?
The local media has tried to address this issue through advertisements and exploring the effects of race in the community. The media through radio channels voices the cries for justice and demands accountability especially to the local leaders. This strategy has worked well in addressing the importance of equitable access community resources, education and security. A local TV uses a number of narratives by people of color to illustrate race in communities. This gives the confidence to make a point that the lives of people of color are not one-dimensional but they are richly complex and indeed, representative of the human experiences. I have observed that the local media continues to address race as a central issue in my community, the voice that cries for justice has become more muted over time. In my recent research I have determined that media has engaged a number of bodies to raise awareness and promote social justice. To accomplish this it has opened additional expectations and disappointments and criticism from community members.
What are some similarities and differences between you and the people who are in leadership positions in your community?
The major similarity between me and people in leadership positions in the community is that we have realized the need to address the issue of social injustice and work towards reducing race and discrimination. There is a disparity between me and people in leadership positions in our community. Unlike them I have fast tracked them because they have less affluence and less concerned with inequality and rooted in traditional conflict dimensions of color and race rather than post material concerns (Walsh, 2000). I always expect dialogue programs on race to occur in places where there is a large store of racial power resources a concern which they have not addressed. Community leaders should come up with policies which in turn can be used to reflect the interests of marginalized racial groups in the community.
Do you think minority group interests are represented within your community?No. The interests of minority groups in my community are not well addressed. This is because there is no proportional representation when it comes to hiring of employees in work positions. The minority people are few and in some cases they do not get the chances. The minority groups are as well not given access to leadership positions within the community hence need for affirmative action. Some other aspects implying unequal representation include big disparities between the income scales between employees from these two groups.
If you could resolve any inequities within your community, what would you change? How and why?
As indicated by Zastrow (2009) I will ensure that every form of agency has considerable representation from both the majority and minority groups. I will ensure that the human services agency encourages applicants to request funding for special needs from both groups in the community. Because education is fundamental I will ensure that students from the minority groups in the society have access to education the same as students from majority groups. This will enable students to feel part of the larger community and also acts as a source of encouragement. I will encourage affirmative action in cases were voting for leadership positions is taking place in order to ensure that there is representation from minority groups in the community who in turn are able to forward their grievances to other community leader. I would shift focus to claim connection with network of progressive cultural workers who are committed to breaking silence around race in the interest of social justice (TuSmith, 2002).
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