Discuss about the Difference Between South Indian Culture And Australian Culture.
Culture refers to the uniqueness and information of a specific group of people, language, religion, cuisine, attire, social habits, music and arts (Connolly & Harms, 2015). It can be defined as the social manner and interactive behavior found in the human society. Culture varies from one location to another and from one person or groups to the other. This essay will focus on the different aspects of culture and cultural diversity by contrasting between South Indian and Australian culture.
The difference between South Indian culture and Australian culture will be discussed throughout this essay. The importance of culture on an individual’s life will be highlighted as it influences the regular practices. Use of different theories will make the understanding of culture easy through this essay.
Body: Personal cultural background
I belong to a south Indian middle class family and respect my cultural values. The family values in my hometown are in total contrast to that of the western culture. There is huge diversity in culture and ethnicity, which is loved by everyone around the world. For educational purposes, I had to move to Australia where I am doing master degree in social work. While staying in Australia I had experienced cultural diversity, as I was accustomed to a different kind of life in India. My cultural perceptions have helped me in guiding behaviors, other expectations, attitudes, assumptions and values. As I belong to a middle class family, therefore my habits were grown as per the heredity of my ancestors. The reason behind this is that culture is learned and adopted among the generations.
In my growing stages, I was not much aware about the cultural diversity as I was only confined to my hometown. When I moved to Australia, my preconceived notions started changing. I had an idea that caste system such as Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and the Shudras only exist in India. However, the discrimination in Australia was of a different kind. As they were white skin people, therefore they looked down upon the darker skin people and treated them as untouchables (Ife, 2012). The aboriginals and Torres Strait islanders are also humiliated in Australia due to their skin color and heritage. This was out of my expectation from the people of Australia and started changing my opinion about them.
My cultural experience was enhanced and I had understood that the attitude of a common person makes the difference between the two cultures. I realized that in Australia people are more cooperative and show concern towards others unlike India (Mattsson, 2014). It might be that people in India are helpful too but they cannot be trusted. For instance, in India when a stranger came forward to help me when I as lost in the crowd, I could not trust him completely and thought that he has some wicked idea in his mind.
The critical race theory can be discussed here as it evaluates the society and culture relative to the categorization of power, race and law. This theory has been used because it refers to the combined struggle for racial justice for future improvement. The most common form of argument about this theory is raised while defining the traits of race and racism. It aims to reveal the individual patterns of omission and the activities taken as granted for the privilege of race (Joseph & Murphy, 2014).
AASW code of ethics
The profession of social work in Australia adheres to the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) code of ethics. As it is mentioned about the family values, the code of ethics aims to “promote social change and problem solving in human relationships and the empowerment and liberation of people to enhance well- being (Australian Association of Social Workers, 2010).” It has helped me in enriching my experience and removing the assumptions that I had about the cultures of the world. As it is discussed earlier the code of ethics of AASW focuses on working and supporting people to attain the best feasible levels of personal and social well- being. In the cultural experience part, the supportive and caring nature of the Australian people is mentioned, which adheres to the AASW code of ethics.
Earlier, few aboriginal and Torres Strait islanders took active part in the working of the Australian Association of Social Workers, but they had faced obstacles. It has led to a rough relationship between the social workers and the native Australians. An air of mistrust grew among the natives regarding the social workers. The social workers have followed the code of ethics to support and help people and address the injustice faced by them. For instance, the aboriginals were sometimes forced to do, as the dominant race in Australia wanted which included moving out from their home (Kolivoski, Weaver & Constance-Huggins, 2014).
The involvement of the social workers can be best related to Anti- oppressive theory, which surpasses the critical race theory. This particular theory is imbibed within the practice of social work and focuses on the reduction of socio-economic oppression; therefore, it is relevant to my work. However, there are ethical dilemmas in social work when there are people from different backgrounds working together (Laing & Humphreys, 2013). Culture becomes a barrier such as in my case where a South Indian had to learn about the Australian culture while working as a social worker.
I envisage a situation where my culturally- informed self had faced challenges. My thoughts about cultural diversity had changed while I started living in Australia. It is a country where diversity conveys different meanings. There are positive differences between the language groups and the cultural groups within the Australian community. I was not much aware of the fact that the people of Australia speak some more languages too other than English. Other common forms of languages used are Greek, Vietnamese, Italian, Mandarin, Arabic and Cantonese (Mattsson, 2014). I was laid back on my cultural knowledge about Australia, as I did not know about the basic languages spoken in that area. In such a critical situation, I took help of my fellow mates who were conversant in these languages to speak to the people. I understood that in order to remain in that place I have to make myself skilled in other native languages too. This is because in order to mingle with the ground level people one needs to be fluent in the native languages because English is only used for official purposes (Nelson, Price & Zubrzycki, 2014).
There are a number of probable theories, which can be used in this case such as Critical race Theory, Empowerment Theory, Anti- oppressive theory, Trauma theory, Ecological theory and Intersectionality theory (Quinn, 2009). However, after considering the different factors it can be said that Anti- oppressive theory is best suited for this case. This is because the particular theory is a multi- knowledge approach implemented within the roots of social work practice to mitigate socio- economic oppression. For instance, I took a schizophrenic patient for a job interview with whom I was working. However, as soon as the company came to know about her illness they said that the vacancy was filled up. I protested at once and told them that the job of making tea and coffee has nothing to do with her illness. I had put all my effort in fighting for this situation of oppression but maintained the dignity of the person for whom I was fighting. Therefore, the case of cultural difference between the Australian natives and other foreign people is taken into consideration for focusing on the issue of racism. As per the code of ethics of AASW the practices of anti oppression has been produced in social work. It is an effort to increase the commitments of social justice and improve the outcome (Whitmore & Wilson, 2005). The anti oppression practice can be considered as a lens which helps in understanding experience. The influence of this theory is strongest in Australia and it is still on the run of becoming stronger.
It can be concluded from this reflective report that the consistency in failing to address the issue of difference between the native Australian needs to be managed by the social workers. The activities of the workers are followed by the AASW code of ethics, which aim to support and work with people. The use of anti- oppressive theory is well recognized that the aboriginal communities need to be meaningful, ethical and effective in such a way that it is explained by the communities. After looking out for a number of theories, the anti- oppressive theory was considered relevant to the cultural mix of south India and Australia. This report has been made precise by putting instances, which made the concepts clear and easy.
Australian Association of Social Workers (2010). Code of Ethics, Canberra, ACT.
Connolly, M., & Harms, L. (2015). Social work: From theory to practice. Cambridge university press.
Ife, J. (2012). Human rights and social work: Towards rights-based practice. Cambridge University Press.
Joseph, S., & Murphy, D. (2014). Trauma: A unifying concept for social work. The British Journal of Social Work, 44(5), 1094-1109.
Kolivoski, K., Weaver, A., & Constance-Huggins, M. (2014). Critical race theory: Opportunities for application in social work practice and policy. Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services, 95(4), 269-276.
Laing, L., & Humphreys, C. (2013). Social work and domestic violence: Developing critical and reflective practice. Sage.
Mattsson, T. (2014). Intersectionality as a useful tool: Anti-oppressive social work and critical reflection. Affilia, 29(1), 8-17.
Nelson, D., Price, E., & Zubrzycki, J. (2014). Integrating human rights and trauma frameworks in social work with people from refugee backgrounds. Australian Social Work, 67(4), 567-581.
Quinn, M. (2009). Towards anit-racist and culturally affirming practices.
Whitmore, E., & Wilson, M. (2005). Popular resistance to global corporate rule: the role of social work (with a little help from Gramsci and Freire). Globalisation, global justice and social work. Routledge, London, 189-206.