Reaching to Japanese-American Community
Today I had worked on confirming events for the entire year with ethnic organizations, all members of Chicago Cultural Alliance. Besides confirming dates over the phone, I had quite interesting conversations with some of the organizations’ representatives. In the midst of these ethnic organizations, there are people who genuinely reflect on their ethnic community’s experience. I would like to share with you a cultural approach of one immigrant group to healthcare. A social worker at a Japanese American Service Committee on the Northeast side, who works with the elderly population, told me that many lack motivation to finding medical care because, as she had explained to me, it is their cultural attitudes “of taking care of oneself” that leads many to be passive about their health. The Japanese American Service Committee educates elderly Japanese-Americans on the services available. Many Japanese-Americans are referred to the social service organizations by their relatives or a living situation. Majority are bachelors who don’t realize the free services available; they don’t know how to advocate for their own health. These Japanese-Americans often had grown up with poor parents and have been raised their whole lives in a survival mode. They had experienced war camps that only made them fearful of going out there, but also developed an unconscious behavior pattern that infringed their ability to actively seek assistance. In the case of the Japanese-American community, it is not their language barrier or legal status, but a deeply imbedded cultural attitude not linked to their country of origin, but rather their consequential experiences in the U.S. The story of the Japanese-Americans proves the importance of Uniting America with all ethnic groups from working with the most recent immigrants, but also those born in the U.S., who might find it for one reason or another more difficult to feel welcome.