Cultural study Essay Example

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Culture Study: Reflective Journal

Reflective Journal Topic 1

Racism in Australia

Race relation has been a major problem globally. Most societies are grappling with the challenge of racism. The United States is one of the countries that have faced a huge challenge of having to deal with racism to the extent that the term racism has become synonymous with the United States. This is attributed to the fact that, racism was a widespread social issue in the United States from the days of slavery up to the 1960s, when America repealed the Jim Crow law that legalized racism through the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. During the Jim Crow era, racism was considered a normal thing in the United States. In fact, it is on this premise that Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman to be elected to the American Congress to comment that racism is deep-seated and widespread to the extent that it has become invisible as it is considered a normal thing in the society.

Although there is a widely held perception that Australia is a free society that embraces diversity, this is further from the truth. Personally, I feel that Shirley Chisholm’s comments about the normalization of racism are a true reflection of racism in Australia. Perhaps, the only difference is that, in America, racism was legalized by law through the passage of the Jim Crow law. In Australia, the normalization of racism in Austria is seen from the fact that it is racism in Australia appears to have been institutionalized by the government. We know that one in every four Australians is from foreign countries. However, evidence in the government formation indicates that non-White Australians have no place in the society as they are not only looked at as inferior race, but are also discriminated against. This is because the government of Australia has been monopolized by White Australians, especially by the Anglo-Celtic Australians. In fact, the correct demography of Australia is not reflected in the country’s parliaments as reports have consistently showed that more than 85% of the federal parliament is White Australians, predominantly from the Anglo-Celtic heritage. It is, however, unfortunate to see that this kind of outright racism and discrimination appears to be a normal thing to the extent that it is not even seen as a major concern to most Australians. Moreover, the deep-rooted state of racism in Australia is manifested by the xenophobic policies that target immigrants in the country.

Shirley Chisholm’s comments on the state of racism in America is also true of Australia considering that the Australian Aboriginals have historically been discriminated against but this appears normal in the society. Aboriginals, unlike White Australians, especially of the Anglo-Celtic decent, face many challenges, such as getting access to quality healthcare, jobs and the majority of people from this race languish in poverty because they are considered an inferior race. Therefore, because Aboriginals have been treated differently from the rest of the population, racism against people of this race is now seen as a normal thing to the ordinary Australians. The same applies to Australian Muslims, who are not only stereotyped as ‘terrorists’ but are also discriminated against in social places, employment and all aspects of life.

In summary, as much as Australia is in denial that racism is not present in the country, evidences in the society indicates that racism is not only widespread, but is deep-rooted and appears to have been institutionalized and this makes Australia not in any way different from America of the past, where racism was considered a normal things as observed by Shirley Chisholm.

Reflective Journal Topic 2

Australian National Culture

Culture is one of the factors that influence almost every aspect of human life. The term culture refers to a set of beliefs, values, norms and customs of a particular group or people in a society. Australia is regarded as one of the most multicultural societies because it is made up of people from different cultural backgrounds, including Whites, Africans, and Chinese, Asians and Aboriginals and many immigrants from different parts of the world. In fact, it is Australia’s multiculturalism that makes it a unique and beautiful country.

However, there has been an ongoing debate as to whether or not Australia has a national culture. Although a some observers have often claimed that Australia lacks a national culture, personally I believe that Australia has a national culture through its national culture appears to have been weakened by increased immigration that has made it a highly multicultural society, where immigrants provides a blend to the country’s national identity and culture. First, personally, I believe that Australia has a national culture because Australia is largely an individualistic society. It is common to note that Australians, including aboriginals look more about self and their immediate families as opposed to groups. This is a unique national culture that differentiates Australians from say, the Asian societies like Chinese who lean more towards collectivism according to Hofstede’s national culture model. The majority of Australians are concerned about personal achievement and this clearly demonstrates that Australian indeed have a national culture.

Second, Australians in my view have a national culture in the sense that Australia is an indulgence nation. Despite the multiculturalism nature of the Australian society, Aussies have high indulgence habits with the people exhibiting realize their desires, enjoy life and have fun. This is a habit that is seen across Australia. Besides, the indulgence habit expressed by Australians is also manifested by the fact that Australians are optimistic people as the majority of Aussies have positive attitude about life and what they do. Besides, Aussies place a lot of emphasis on the value of leisure time and are willing to spend as more money as they so wish, a culture that cuts across the entire Australia.

Additionally, even though there are those who feel that Australia lacks a national culture, personally I believe that Australia does have a national culture in the form of the language. Although there are many languages that are spoken by Australians, it is important to recognize that English part of Australia and defines its national culture. The majority of Australians speak English as their primary language and this is a demonstration that English form part of Australian language. Since the Britons came to Australia, English has largely become synonymous not just with the Britons, but also Australians.

Therefore, personally, I hold the view that Australia has a national culture, even though its national culture is slowly being weakened by increased immigration of people from other parts of the world into this continent.

Reflective Journal 3

Lay Beliefs

Health is a major priority issue for the majority of Australians. However, in most societies, there are certain lay beliefs that affect how people view health issues in the society. I am a good example those whose views about certain health issues have been greatly affected because of the lay beliefs that I was introduced to while growing up.

I wish to begin by stating that HIV/AIDs is one of the scariest diseases that no one can ever imagine contracting despite the medical advances that have been made over the last few years that have significantly helped contain the spread of the disease. Australia is one of the countries that have made significant advances in containing the disease. However, a significant number of Aussies still have the disease with youths being the most affected. When I was growing up, I was made to believe that sharing toilet seats, shaking hands and hugging a person infected with HIV/AIDs can result in infection with the disease. This was a belief that I held for a long time because I was made to belief that this is the absolute truth. It was until very late in life that I came to learn that these were just myths or lay beliefs that people held in the society without any scientific proof. In fact, research has disapproved such a belief because scientists have proven that non-sexual physical contacts, such as sharing toilet seats, shaking hands or hugging a person infected with HIV/AIDs does not result in the transmission of the diseases.

Based on my experience with lay beliefs, I am of the view that lay beliefs have no value or place in the modern society. In fact, lay beliefs are only impacting negatively on health and wellbeing of the people in the society. For instance, the fact that I believed that sharing non-sexual physical contacts can result in a person getting infected with HIV virus only served to scare me from getting closer to people with the virus as I believed that even getting nearer to such people was enough for me to contract the disease. Because of these, I would normally ensure that I stay at distance from HIV/AIDs infected people. The consequence of this is that, those who have the same belief as mine are not willing to assist those with HIV/AIDs, thus resulting in stigma and isolation of the infected instead of helping them, which impacts negatively on their health and wellbeing.

In summary, personally, I hold the view that lay beliefs, especially those that have to do with health have no value in the modern society as they impacts negatively on the health and wellbeing of the people in the society.

Reflective Journal 4

Negative Attitude towards Mental Illnesses

There are many people who suffer from mental illnesses, Australia not an exception. Mental illnesses vary in types and causes and include diseases, such as schizophrenia, Parkinson’s diseases, stress, anxiety, delusion, borderline and bipolar disorder among others. Although mental illnesses are normal illnesses that can affect anybody, the majority of people in the society have a negative attitude towards people with mental illnesses.

Personally, I believe that most people have a negative attitude and approach to mental illnesses mainly because of lack of understanding of mental health problems. For instance, it is common to find people with mental illnesses such as schizophrenia being stigmatized by people in the community because most people do not understand what schizophrenia disease is, and how it is caused. In fact, in most societies, it is common to find people with mental health problems being associated with madness, and craziness. In others, mental illnesses is associated with a curse in which case people with mental health problems, such as Parkinson’s are stigmatized by the rest of the society that might view this form of mental health as having been caused by a curse.

Additionally, I believe that many people have a negative attitude towards mental illness and mental health based on the false belief that people with mental health problems are violent and can cause harm. Although it is true that some mental health diseases are associated with aggression and violent behaviours, it is not true that all people with mental diseases are violent and pose danger to the general public.

However, I am concerned that having a negative attitude towards the mentally challenged in the society is not doing any good in helping such people cope with their mental health status, which is not good for the society as a whole. When a mentally ill person is stigmatized or isolated from the rest of the society, this impact negatively on their ability to manage their mental health problems and can only make their conditions worsen. Therefore, personally, believe that it is important that people learn to embrace and to provide the mentally ill people with any kind of support that they might need as this is the best way of helping the mentally ill people overcome their situation and live longer despite their situation.

In summary, the majority of people across societies have a negative attitude towards people with mental health problems principally because they lack a good understanding of mental health problem and this is what result in habits such as stigmatization and isolation from the rest of the society. Unfortunately, stigmatising and discriminating against the mentally ill not only impacts negatively on the health of the mentally ill, but also affects their ability to cope with the mental health challenges. Therefore, it would be a good thing if societies learn to embrace people with mental health problems because mental health problems are diseases like any other and can be managed with proper care and assistance of the people.