Being born American by a Greek and an American parent, always living in America I am usually faced with the dilemma of a unique sense of racial identity. On the one hand, I bear the perceptions, values, and ideals of the Greek culture while on the other, have to contend with the realities of the liberal American culture. Based on my social interactions and a profound sense of being considered a Hispanic despite my mix of identities, I am predominantly inclined to the Greek ethnic values that seem to reinforce my social and religious viewpoints. It has conferred in me the importance of family as an essential social organization. It helps me determine the social construct of gender, sexual orientation, and race. Being a Greek in the United States, I belong to the Hispanics community hence an indication of my racial identity. According to my Greek heritage, marriages are essential in forming families. Therefore, couples play a critical role in continuing the progression of lineages. My ethnic understanding of a typical family is that it consists of a father mother and children. This type of social organization comprising of a father, mother and children are called a conjugal family. Other people with whom I share ancestry belong to an extended family, and my culture requires that I maintain incredible familial ties with them. Central to my Greek culture is the fact that without families, societies do not prosper hence this social unit is highly regarded.
As an American with partial Greek heritage, I am nurtured to believe that marriage is not only a rite of passage but also a significant celebration marked with happiness where parents of the bride are showered with different types of gifts since such a union signifies continuity of generation. The underlying reason for partying is that the newly wedded couple will live together and have children to progress the family lineage. The emphasis that the Greek culture places on a family comprising of a mother, children, and a father makes me perceive that only social units that meet this threshold qualify as being families. The ethnic inclination has inflicted emotional distress on me whenever the discourse on same-sex marriages comes up among the American population. As a matter of non-discrimination and identity dilemma of being both an American and Greek, I am forced to accept same-sex families though it is evident that they cannot biologically have children as required of families in the Greek culture. Nonetheless, I continually question the merits of regarding such unions as being marriages and families. Furthermore, my ethnic inclination toward familial support makes me supportive of other people since I conceive them as being members of the broader human family. I rescind actions that may harm others since as a family, anything that inflicts pain on one member directly or indirectly affects the others too.
As a young boy, my parents would take me along with them to weddings where I occasionally acted as an usher. The color, glamour, joy, and merrymaking that characterized such occasions conferred in me the attitude that wedding is a solemn opportunity where people exchange vows and commit to keeping the generations growing. Every moment I witnessed the bride and grooms families and other witnesses gather in wedding ceremonies, I developed an inner attachment to the social value of such a process. At best, I always envied them since everyone seemed joyous that a young man and lady were finally going to be together in marriage. Over an extended period of witnessing such events, my mind developed to see weddings as one involving people of opposite sexes coming along to form families which would consist of the two and their children. Also, my parents ensured that as the first born, I take care of my younger siblings, always ensuring their safety at the slightest opportunity. Taking care of the siblings made me identify the family as a source of security, emotional and physical support. At school, my teachers implored me to be determined in my studies that I would marry a beautiful lady and form a good family. According to them, the dream of every well-nurtured man is to have a happy family. The concept of family that I derived from the cultural teachings and experiences has made me not only hospitable but also loving, caring and tolerant to everyone with whom I interact. I view them as being members of the broader human family hence the need to protect them.
My ethnic perspective of the family as being a source of love and care is similar to the mainstream American culture. Families in the United States share their sorrows and jubilations. In fact, Americans find it easier to confide in a family member than an outsider hence it is evident that the family is highly regarded within the American social settings. Just like in my Greek culture, the American marriages are characterized by exciting events in which the bride and groom happily exchange vows signifying the beginning of a family. However, with the infiltration of same-sex marriage in the United States, my knowledge of what constitutes a marriage and family have been adversely affected. The increasingly liberal cultural patterns in the United States that allow same-sex marriages demean my concept of family formation.
As an individual brought up with a strict regard for family and social support, I will perceive social workers as humane people who have devoted themselves to protecting and helping the people at risk or disadvantaged in the society. In this sense, social work to me would represent an extension of family support to those who are underprivileged so that they too may have a sense of belonging to the broader realm of humanity. The social workers struggle to foster a sense of togetherness even in systems where socio-economic and political structures result in the exclusion of a member of the society.
Bias against Those Who Use Religion as A Manipulative Tool or A Means of Dominating Others
Religion is a critical part of any civilization, and it influences the way people perceive and relate to their environments and other members of the society. It acts as a benchmark on which adherents evaluate their activities to identify whether they are right or wrong. From a moral perspective, no religion is superior to the other hence religious diversity should be strictly upheld as a means of ensuring societal tranquility. As a liberal, I regard every religion as necessary in its right, and no person who professes particular faith should be considered to be inferior or compelled to do things that are contrary to the prescriptions of that religion. Based on this background, I have a specific bias for individuals or groups that use religion to divide people, coerce people into submission, restrict the extent of social relations, and disorganize social order. In doing this, I perceive them as undermining the essence of religion which is that it should act as a unifying factor and a channel for promoting moral behavior.
Those who use religion as a way of influencing their societies sometimes exploit the respect that people have for faith to enforce the critical restriction that contradicts the sense of humanity. For instance, these individuals would require people who profess a different belief to rescind and transform them before getting considered for employment opportunities in those regions. Despite the fact that that working in religious organizations would require those who have competencies and understanding of that religion, any other ordinary job only requires educational merit, experience, and expertise. Therefore, imposing on people the need to profess a particular region as a requirement for getting employed in an area wrongly represents religious practices as barriers to social and economic progress. In various cases, people from some parts of the world such as Asia often practice religious coercion by requiring that members of other religion change to Islam or dress in a way prescribed by Islam such as long clothes before they get employment opportunities. I am highly opposed to such people since they undermine the role that faith should do in any society.
I have biased against the religions that use approaches such as incentives to influence the way societies to operate. It is unfair for a particular religion to restrict the extent of interactions among people. Ideally, people belong to the broader human community which implies that religious affiliations should not act as a barrier to limit control inter-religious associations among adherents. Some religions abhor and prohibit their members from marrying individuals of the other faiths unless the person first changes to that belief. Since religion is a social construct, limiting the extent to which people as human agents can exercise it implies an attempt to overtake the realms of humanity thus undermining the quality of life and fundamental freedoms such as freedom of interaction. When a religion efficiently fosters inter-religious restrictions, it demeans its intended purpose of encouraging beneficial social relations, love, unity, and tranquility. I perceive it as open hypocrisy for any religion to purport to nurture tolerance to diversity when its leadership put barriers to the extent to which such forbearance may be expressed. Inter-religious marriages is a noble expression of ultimate understanding hence if anyone has to uphold the ideals of religious teaching then they should encourage people of different faiths to marry each other.
I believe that the people who practice religious discrimination, restrictions, domination and coercion use faith as a means of propagating social vices. The fact that religious belief is highly regarded throughout civilizations give them a leeway to exploit the humility and respect that anyone is likely to show for religion. They are not only inhuman but also inconsiderate of the fact that humans are social and have some fundamental rights such as the freedom of interaction without undue control. Witnessing expatriates from different parts of the world working as home maids in a particular religion being is mistreated and brutalized because of not embracing the employer's religion have made me cast aspersions on such faiths. I fail to understand which religion teaches people to inflict pain on another for merely doing what they believe fits their belief. Furthermore, I have witnessed various potential inter-religious marriages crumbling for the mere fact that member of one religion is prohibited from getting married outside that faith. Logically, restricting the ability of people to marry undermine the natural value of love and companionship which is apparently not what any real religion should do. I still have a bias against those who use religion as a manipulative tool or a means of dominating others since such actions do not represent roles which any universal belief should do. My concept of religion remains that it should act as a means of establishing and sustaining strong social ties and peaceful coexistence. I have to be resilient, tolerant but firm when working with this group as a social worker since it is essential that they first develop a new perspective of what constitutes an ideal religious practice.
Impact of Differences in Demographic Characteristics on Life Experiences
Differences in demographic characteristics including ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation, gender, class, and religion have both positive and negative effects on life. Ethnicity provides a sense of identity hence people can reconstruct their history. Ideally, an individuals background significantly influences their behavior patterns since they are likely to be attuned towards the most dominant aspects of that ethnic group. No...
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