In the chapter on culture in the 2nd edition of my book (Chapter 4), I make the point that cultural values and perspectives are embedded deep within us, and that, many times, (perhaps always) it is difficult to even recognize what they are or even that they are there. In her book review for the Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy (June, 2011), Karen Hammell made the statement that I had made “clear efforts” to include diversity in the 2nd edition, and yet, as she further stated, the predominance in the literature and text “presumes a certain freedom from economic, social, cultural, physical and political constraints.” How difficult it is to position ourselves beyond or outside of our own cultural perspectives and world view.
One look at the photograph in the header for this blog will affirm the difficulties in trying to be inclusive, for the photo of a main street in the USA is probably about as “Western” as it could possibly be. I see this now, but I did not “see” it when I was picking out the photo for the blog. Of course I can change the photo, and likely will change it at some point, but, for now, I’m not quite ready to let go of it — I do like its everyday-ness, Western though it is. [Note: Since this posting was written, I have added a street scene from Morocco for a header; the two photos will randomly alternate.]
I would like to hear from any of you about your own experiences of suddenly recognizing an aspect of your own cultural world. Is research going on in our profession that specifically addresses cultural perspectives — perhaps as they are present in therapist/client relationships or in medical systems or in teaching? How do we help students to become aware and sensitive to their own culture and that of others?