Part 1: Population Selection
Asian American is the selected group utilized in the research assessment focusing on interactions among distinct social segments. The group consists of Americans with Asian ancestry. These individuals originate from the East, South, and Southeast Asia regions. The group is deemed as one of the fastest-growing and diverse demographic groups existing in the US. US Census Bureau (1990) states 6.9 million Asian Americans were living in the US (Appleby, 2011). The number is expected to surpass that of a key group such as the Hispanics. Asian Americans belong to the racial and minority groups that continue to encounter massive prejudice and discrimination cases. However, it has advanced its visibility since most people earn a high-income and have improved educational levels.
The interaction between African Americans and Asian Americans is minimal. Asian Americans establish a positive relationship with whites and other Asian groups while portraying a negative attitude and perception of blacks. I feel that Asian Americans consider themselves part of the white population, which makes them develop a negative attitude towards African Americans. This limits significant interactions and associations. However, I feel that interactions may vary in native-born and foreign-born situations. For example, a native-born Asian American is likely to interact with African Americans. On the other hand, foreign-born Asian Americans hold a negative attitude and perception towards the black population. Overall, Asian Americans and African Americans have a minimal interaction level.
Asian Americans have advanced their status and visibility in the US community. The group has successfully attained a high socioeconomic status that provides them with a significant advantage. The improved advantage reduces instances of discrimination encountered by its people. While the other groups continue to face massive injustices, Asian Americans live in a conducive environment. US society risks failing to attain diversity due to these current issues. As Appleby, Colon, and Hamilton (2011) states, oppression and discrimination are vices that tamper with the diversity agenda and effective social functioning. Assessing each group in line with its potential is a fundamental approach that can accelerate the elimination of prejudice and discrimination. The interest in researching Asian Americans is based on the milestones it has obtained. It sets the pace for other minority groups.
Asian Americans differ across various perspectives. Depending on the area of origin and other distinguishing characteristics, the group portrays distinct elements. The group differs in immigration experiences, ethnic language, cultural values, beliefs, religion, income, education, and corporate skills (Paik et al., 2017). Despite belonging to a common ethnic group, Asian Americans differ in diversity.
Justification for the Choice of Population
Asian American is a minority group that has, in recent times, acquired a new status in the US community. Their efforts to accelerate their education levels and income benefits have earned them a significant status in the United States society. The rationale for its selection is based on their improved visibility. Its essential strides and crucial position might be a foundation for the other minority groups to improve their image and status. The US population is increasingly multicultural (Laws & Chilton, 2013). It is essential to accommodate the needs and interests of all ethnic groups. The research implications align with potential strategies and approaches that minority groups can adopt to change their detrimental status and visibility in the community. There is a dire need to counter aspects that force the natives to look down upon minorities.
Part 2: Analysis of Culturally Relevant Research
Culture has emerged as a relevance theme in both social science practice and academia. The integration of culture in different aspects of social work practice and research has proven integral for understanding diversity. With globalization, social work research has focused on exploring how research design, analysis, and interpretation are intertwined with culture. Moreover, researches seem to take a rapid new turn by ensuring that they are culturally relevant. Hence, it is crucial to understand how traditional research methods and culturally relevant research methods address social issues, especially for minority groups like Asian Americans.
Researchers continue to harness these approaches based on the strengths inherent with each, such as enhanced performance and results. According to Hammarberg et al. (2016), qualitative research methods are particularly important when a researcher seeks to understand a social concept based on a participant’s experience, perspective, and meaning. Often, the data obtained through qualitative research methods cannot be measured nor counted. Qualitative research adopts techniques such as structured interviews that seek information regarding a focused topic for institutional perspective or background information, small-group discussions that investigate attitudes, beliefs, and normative behavior (Hammarberg et al., 2016).
When a researcher is interested in acquiring factual data to answer a phenomenon of interest, “when it is possible to identify and isolate the variable,” the researcher must have a known, clear, and unambiguous research question. Hammarberg et al. (2016) highlighted quantitative research methods are essential in revealing percentages, distribution by, for instance, age and marital status, and revealing changes between surveys.
In addressing cultural relevance, Nagata & Suzuki (2017) prove how invaluable this approach is in addressing the cultural relevance of the qualitative approach. The psychological well-being of Asian Americans reveals that the qualitative research method is mainly elemental when a researcher wants to explore the theories appropriate for addressing a complex phenomenon that does not fit to variables in research design (Nagata & Suzuki, 2017). The benefit is particularly relevant when a researcher performs multicultural research or seeks to understand an ethnocultural minority group, such as Asian Americans (Nagata & Suzuki, 2017). Similarly, quantitative research opens an avenue for verifying and generalizing the theoretical framework.
Culturally relevant research draws insights from the cultural backgrounds and knowledge about a group. Importantly, conducting culturally relevant research demands that a researcher is culturally competent. In research, cultural competence entails the ability of a researcher to deliver high-quality research while simultaneously taking into account the diversity and culture of a population, right from the conception of research ideas, conducting research, and making research conclusions (Ong, 2017). Cultural competence is indispensable in designing culturally competent research. Culturally relevant research is realistic because it involves real-life phenomena, contains relatable data, and allows the reader to connect with the specific culture addressed. At the same time, not all studies may achieve these features; more realistic research gains traction in terms of acceptance and applicability to real-life scenarios.
Second, culturally relevant researches are authentic in that they integrate accurate information with usage and language conventions. Authentic research should confine within a certain cultural context. For instance, if a researcher focuses on understanding human survival towards a culturally relevant context, then the concept should be addressed from a culturally relevant perspective. Finally, culturally relevant researches tend to develop culturally conscious ideologies. In this dimension, researchers remain conscious of a specific culture’s traditions and cultural beliefs even when they understand that they need to understand the mainstream culture.
Different culturally relevant studies have channeled their attention to Asian Americans. However, the studies identified focused on Asian Americans in the education context. Nonetheless, they shed substantial light on the concept of interest. In the article, Chang (2017) identifies Asian Americans as a fast-growing population in terms of cultural, political, and economic dominance. Notably, Chang (2017) acknowledges that Asian Americans’ pace of growth has placed them in the spotlight due to their significant presence in diverse areas, ranging from politics to e-Commerce, culture, and education. However, despite their visibility, Chang (2017) stated that disparity and tension significantly affect this minority group. In the realm of education, discrimination nurtured by longstanding differences between the US and different countries where Asian Americans hail from still promotes the oppression of this minority group.
Another study that channels its attention to Asian Americans is “Recruiting and Retaining Asian American and Pacific Islander Teachers” by Grace Kim and North Cook. According to Kim and Cook (2020), the US does not recruit teachers of colors in recommendable numbers. As a result, students of color, such as Asian Americans, have remained marginalized in the learning institutions. Notably, the model minority myths continue to divide Americans into minority groups. For instance, the belief that Asian Americans are naturally good and do not struggle has left them sidelined in receiving aid. With such assumptions, Kim and Cook (2020) indicate there exists the need to desegregate data. Moreover, the study explores the need for change in perception about minority groups, such as changing the assumption that Asian Americans are not American.
Like Kim and Cook (2020), Abrams (2019) acknowledges that despite the cases of discrimination being lower for Asian Americans than other minority groups, the stereotypical preconceptions about Asian Americans are natural, well-adapted, and successful. Moreover, in the educational context, some Asian Americans, such as Hmong and Cambodians, are rated among the least compared to the general population (Abrams, 2019). Hence, the study seeks to elucidate more of the Asian American plea for discrimination and to foster full acceptance within the American context.
Addressing issues in a minority group using traditional research approaches paints partial pictures. Unlike culturally relevant research methods, traditional research methods do not address the cultural aspects of minority groups in an in-depth manner. Even when the researchers use quantitative or qualitative methods to interpret and inform about these minorities, they lack the right insightfulness to conclude using the appropriate pieces of the puzzle. In contrast, culturally relevant research focuses on understanding the culture, which forms the basis for comprehending how the minority group interacts within and outside their cultural contexts. As a result, it becomes easy to make a fully informed conclusion regarding a phenomenon of interest pertaining to the group.
Culturally relevant research remains conscious of the need to comprehend a minority group fully. Importantly, culturally relevant research addresses issues, such as culturally based shame and stigma, which act as barriers for Asian Americans or other minority groups seeking assistance or services from others. According to Abrams (2019), Asian Americans are at risk of suicidal ideation, depression, and adjustment problems. With these in mind, culturally relevant research is ideal for advocating social justice for Asian Americans (Okazaki, 2018). It may include the adoption of culturally responsive services that align with emerging issues and practices. Moreover, they explore how progressive social change can be achieved to favor the full integration of Asian Americans into mainstream society without cases of discrimination or other social inequities that exist today.
Despite the complex legal guidelines that delineate an individual’s cultural and religious beliefs, culturally relevant research provides an avenue for social work professionals to engage with other professionals in advocating for services that remain helpful to minority groups. According to Maramba and Kodama (2018), social work professionals should proactively intervene to guarantee that Asian Americans express their cultural and religious beliefs. The social work professionals should educate themselves about the diverse beliefs and practices of their target minority group to avoid misunderstanding them. For instance, practitioners can consider and reflect on how spirituality or religiosity is linked with the minority group’s ethnic/racial identity (Maramba & Kodama, 2018). That way, a practitioner can manage to cultivate and accommodate inclusive practices. Further, following the Civil Rights Acts passage in 1964, discrimination, even to minority groups, is unconstitutional. Hence, to avoid the unconstitutional favoritism of mainstream culture or other minority groups, practitioners should respond to the issue of bias and ensuring inclusion to foster equality for individuals with diverse cultural backgrounds.
Part 3: Cultural Awareness and Competence of the Asian American Population
Historical and Contemporary Antecedents of Discrimination for the Asian Americans and Resulting Problems
In US history, the experiences of anti-Asian Americans rhetoric have manifested in society for hundreds of years. Since the early years of massive Asians especially the Chinese workers’ migration to the United States, agitations of anti-Asian immigration have been common in the country. As early as the 1850s, the Chinese worker’s mass immigration to California saw an escalation of anti-Asian discrimination in the country, leading to the adoption of restrictive legislation (Starkey, 2016). The years of discrimination against the Asian communities are portrayed as a model minority that has received favoritism among other races of the people of color. The perception towards Asian Americans has not been hostile in American society, allowing them to occupy a better position in the community as compared to Black and Latino Americans (Kiang, Tseng & Yip, 2016).
Contemporary society illustrates a reduction of the profound anti-Asian rhetoric that has characterized US racist sentiments throughout history (Priest et al., 2018). The transformation of previous illiterate, English non-speaking capacity and low social status has been changed in the contemporary era. The antecedents of Asian American discrimination result in the normalization of the agitations of the faceless yellow horde as they were termed (Wong, 2019). The social workers joining the US citizenry from Asian have a new perceptive and position in the US that the African American and Latinos from Central and Pacific America continued to be denied. The self-isolation approach maintained by the Asian American communities is fundamental for the maintenance of the cultural values and identity over the generations. Therefore, the culmination of the new phenomenon of educated, higher social class status, and social worker professionals culminate in the erosion of the anti-Asian immigration and settlement racism (Kiang et al., 2016).
Theories and Methods of Working with the Selected Population
The contemporary society provides a multi-culturalism reality which brings diverse societies together (Freund & Band-Winterstein, 2017). Olcoń (2019) states that the application of social work practice provides a holistic, evidence-based approach that facilitates the functionalities of diverse societies together. The social work theory application provides mechanisms that enable the development of a baseline to which diverse cultures can operate and treat one another towards the realization of the set goals and objectives (Carpenter, 2016). A study by Carpenter (2016) asserts that cultural competence provides the concept, education tool, and practice model in which social work is applied. This enables the involved parties to formulate a treatment plan, control their feelings and behaviors, and commit to becoming the best versions possible (Olcoń, 2019). Therefore, consideration of cultural sensitivity and issues that affect one group is key to improving social work relations study (Freund & Band-Winterstein, 2017).
The capacity to work with the Asian American population in contemporary society follows the social work theory framework, such as the systems approach. The systems approach seeks to demystify and breakdown the systemic racism that has prolonged over the years. This is based on the analysis of human behavior and the transformation of the perspectives that set the individual into a context of complex and interrelated systems in society. This is informed by a breakdown of the traditional practices of cultural competence and values used in the past. As a result, develop new norms of practice that elevate the value of individuals in the society despite their racial origins. Carpenter (2016) notes that the developmental stages enhance the reduction of hostilities and negative perceptions towards Asian Americans as a community. Therefore, changes in the society through the systems approach of social work theory seek to diffuse the traditional cultural competencies leading to new behavior and practices that value social workers based on skills and productivity (Freund & Band-Winsterstein, 2017).
Potential problems and Social Justice Concerns: Possible Solutions
Studies show that the main potential problems and social justice concerns facing the Asian American population in contemporary society comprise of the continued disregard and underemphasizes in the previous studies. Abrams (2019) asserts that Asian Americans in contemporary American society are often overlooked in discussions of national importance, such as racial bias. There is a notion which holds a belief that all Asian Americans living in the US are successful and well adapted in society. This leads to disregard and overlooking of their plight, promoting discrimination in social issues such as justice, employment, and housing (Abrams, 2019). A similar view is presented in the studies by Grineski, Collins, and Morales (2017, p. 71) that “despite Asian Americans being the fasted growing racial/ethnic group in the United, they are often underemphasized in previous studies of environmental and health injustices.”
The lack of Asian American records reporting various issues in society creates the notion that they are safe and secure. Tessler, Choi, and Kao (2020) illustrate the risk in which Asian Americans are in exposure to hate crimes and negative biases in society. This leaves them vulnerable to social discrimination and injustices in the community. There is profound negligence on the Asian American population that leaves them exposed to social justice, among other problems in the society (Abrams, 2019). Thus, there is a massive need to address the inclusivity problem and biases towards the Asian American society (Grineski et al., 2017).
Personal Competencies that Can Be Used to Improve Your Interaction with the Selected Population in Professional Setting
According to Alizadeh and Chavan (2016), cultural competence is deemed to be an individual’s core requirement to enhance their capacity for working effectively in a culturally diverse environment. Cultural competence is fundamental to enable an individual to work effectively with other people from different cultures. My core competencies fundamental to enabling my effective functionality among other culturally diverse people, especially Asian Americans, is based on my cultural awareness context. I love the value and desire to understand different cultures. This makes me appreciate a culture’s diversity and issues that I agree with on their practicality. Also, applying cultural sensitivity is a core competence to enhance cultural interactions based on mutual respect. Therefore, act without interfering with culture and seeking a deep understanding of specific practices.
Special Concerns to Keep in Mind When Using Technology Such as e-Mail or Social Media
The primary special concerns to keep in mind when interacting with diverse cultures through technologies such as e-mails and social media entails the extent to which criticism on culture should be condoned. This calls for caution to the extent in which you criticize and introduce new cultures to a society. This is fundamental to avoid conflict with existing beliefs and values. For example, the issue of LGBTQ has been a thorn among many Asian American communities. Hence, it calls for caution on how to progress when criticizing their reactions and treatment of the practice.
Action Plan: Addition to Cultural Diversity Knowledge – Collaborative Approaches
The capacity to enhance cultural diversity knowledge can be expanded through various key approaches. These include the desire to accept diverse cultures and developing awareness of the practices of a particular culture. The engagement of caution is fundamental to avoid extremes in handling cultural practices and building knowledge for organizational support. This is applicable to culturally sensitive issues that facilitate smooth interactions. Consequently, the cultural skills to becoming a part of the practice are crucial to eliminating chances of conflict of interest.