Cross Cultural Reflective Journal Report

Topics: Indigenous peoples, Australia, Indigenous Australians Pages: 8 (2581 words) Published: November 24, 2013
Cross Cultural Therapy Practice
21st October 2013
Reflective Journal Report – Assignment

Smith stated, “"...unity is enhanced not when differences disappear but when people remain committed to one another and use structures and resources to maintain open and ongoing relationships (2004, p. 6)." Multiculturalism is about the process of handling differences. Unity recognizes differences and rather than argue about them, it looks for strengths in relationships. Being present, having peace and wisdom are elements that encourage finding strengths. If defensiveness, hostility, contempt, criticism, withdrawal or demands are present, a relationship is at risk of being damaged or destroyed (Smith, 2004).

1968. I was born in a year of hostility, demands and fights for independence and human rights. Americans were fighting in Vietnam, and protesting at home for African-American civil rights. Bra-burning protests demanded women’s rights. Activist Martin Luther King Jr and politician Robert F Kennedy were assassinated for humanitarian beliefs (1968 Timeline, 2013). Amidst the fights for civil rights, independence was granted to a tiny island in the South Pacific, the republic of Nauru. Here I was born, to Australian parents, the first of four children.

I was a sixth generation Australian from my Scottish ancestors, also born overseas. At three years old, I came to Australia. As an adult, I took it for granted that all Australians had the same birthrights as me. I thought easy access to education, housing and employment and family unity, were opportunities available for everyone. In doing this course for cross-cultural therapy however, I have come to understand that my ‘white’ privilege is not afforded by all Australians, especially Indigenous ones. I have learned that despite Indigenous and other marginalised non-white Australians having the same hopes as me for birthrights, unfortunately their desires have been denied and taken away. Historically, Aborigines were considered disposable, and not as valuable to society as the 'white' British people who founded this nation. Now, with my great ‘white’ Australian ancestry, I am left with feelings of shame and sadness for the marginalised Australians who grew up beside me, with less.

Sadly, marginalised Australians have been left with feelings of separation, denial and desperation, but through cross-cultural competence, I realise hope is not lost. This report expresses my appreciation for the beauty found in differences and the ever present potential for unity, if diversity can remain. I believe that unity is available and necessary for all, through awareness, knowledge of ‘others’ and their difficulties, expressing empathy, cooperation and a desire for everyone to receive rights of equality, together.

Definition of Cross-Cultural Competence
Cross-cultural competence is the ability to engage awareness, knowledge and skills, to allow for a meaningful encounter of effective communication between peoples of different cultures (Hopkins, 2013). In becoming cross-culturally competent, Sue (2008) proposes the need for the following competencies in awareness, knowledge and skills. Firstly, to practice awareness of cultural competence, one must identify their own cultural heritage and respect differences in others. Personal values, fears and biases should be considered as they may create barriers. One must be comfortable with differences regarding age, gender, race, socioeconomic status and sexual orientation, which provides an environment whereby clients are free to disclose or not. Consequently, sensitivity to a client needing referral to another professional’s help may be appropriate, when uncomfortable feelings arise. (Sue, 2008). Secondly, Sue recommends gaining knowledge and information on culturally different people and an awareness of a nation’s politics and the affect of marginalisation on minority groups. Particular reference to...

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Hopkins, L. (2013). Module 3 Gaining knowledge: Course notes. Retrieved from
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NSW Government, Education and Communities. (2013). The stolen generations. [Fact Sheet]. Retrieved from
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Noyce, P. (Director). (2002). Rabbit Proof Fence. [Film]. London: Hanway Films. Retrieved from:
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Perkins, R. (Writer, Producer & Director). (2008). First Australians Ep.7: We are no longer shadows [Film]. Film Australia. Retrieved from:
Reconcilliaction. (2007). Stolen generations: Continued impact. [Fact Sheet]. Retrieved from:
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Saggers, S. (2003). Indigenous Australians. In R. Jureidini & M. Poole (Eds.), Sociology: Australian connections (3rd ed., pp. 210-231). Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin.
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South, A. (2013). How racist are you? – Jane Elliott’s blue eyes brown eyes experiment [Film]. Retrieved from
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Van Krieken, R., Smith, P., Habibis, D., Hutchins, B., Haralambos, M. & Holborn, M. (2005). Sociology: Themes and Perspectives, (3rd ed., pp. 3-16). Sydney: Pearson Education.
Woods, K. (Director). (2000). Looking for Alibrandi [Film]. Roadshow Films. Retrieved from
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