Why is it important to understand your client’s culture before working with them? I have come up with three reasons but there are many, many more reasons besides the three I think are important to me. The first reason why I think that it is important to understand your client’s culture is because they have different values and beliefs than we have. Second reason why I think that understanding your client’s culture is important before working with them is what they find acceptable culture wise. The last reason I think is important to understand your client’s culture is so that they can trust you and know that they can come to you and be as open with you as much as they feel like they can. When thinking of a person that I wanted to interview for Diversity only one person stuck out to me. That was a man that is best friends with one of my closest friend. The interviewee actually can be found right here on our campus. He is a student who attends our very school here at Lancaster Bible College. He is a man that was born and raised from Jamaica.
He is also a very tall man that is about 6 feet tall with a deep Jamaican accent. When you first meet him and start a conversation with him you are hooked by his accent and funny stories that he loves to tell. This man’s name is Mario Madden. The way that I asked Mario if I could interview him for this activity was talking to him in person and telling him what this activity was about and why I wanted to interview him. I have known Mario for almost a year but when I sat down to ask him some questions I learned very quickly that I truly did not know that much about him. The first question that I asked him was where he was from and what the culture is like back in Jamaica. I learned a lot of things that I didn’t know before. One thing that I never knew was that most of all the things that Americans do come from Jamaica. Mario informed me that most of all the songs and dance moves that the popular American artistes are doing now a day’s come from Jamaica. Mario told me the American pop artist go and vacation in Jamaica and that is how the Jamaican dance moves and songs are coming to America.
Another thing that I found interesting was when the Jamaicans want to know what is the new hip thing is by what people are singing in their songs. If a Jamaican is sing a song about being skinny than all the woman in Jamaica want to be skinny. They will lose weight just so that they would be a part of the new trend. But if you are singing a song about being hefty than all the skinny woman will go out and make themselves hefty just so that they will fit in with what the song is about. Mario told me that right now in Jamaica that hefty woman are trending and that they are called “Fluffy Divas” and the skinny people are called “Slimas”. Not only do does the size of woman trend but also people of different color. If you are not in the shade of color that is trending the woman get mad because they cannot change their skin tone and they have to wait it out until the trend is over and they start singing about a different color. The next question that I asked Mario was how many generations are here in the United States. Mario responded and said, “That he is the second generation in the United States. “ I asked him what family member came to the United States and he said that it was his father.
Another thing about Mario that I found very interesting is that he has been married for the past twelve years and the last three of those years he has been living here in the states and has only been able to go home once. The only reason why Mario got to go home once in the past three years is because he couldn’t afford to make it to Jamaica and back so Lancaster Bible College raised money for him to go home. Mario’s family role is known as the provider. While he goes to school full time he also works twenty hours a week for the school. His three jobs entails working for Physical Plant, The Trust Performing Arts Center, and is also a Youth Pastor at his church in Maryland for the past two and a haft years but has been in the leadership position for fifteen to twenty years. Because Mario is the provider of his family anything that has to do with finances he sends back home for his wife and his two children. One thing that I found very interesting was that even though Mario has not seen his children in the past three years and does not live at home, his children still follow is authority.
My next question I asked Mario was what language is spoken at home. He told me that they speak a slang of British English. But when he calls home that is what he speaks but around other Americans he speaks very fluent English. Mario’s economic status since coming to the United States has been poor. He is not getting any state help. But is trying to survive with just what he has and is okay with not having extra items that Americans think that they need in order to survive. Another question I asked Mario about was his education level. Mario has completed all levels of his education and is still trying to further it. He has been working towards his Bachelor’s degree for the past two years plus the fall semester. He also has a degree in Computer Science. A cool fact about Mario’s wife and her level of education is that she graduated college top in her class. Also because she did so well in college they want her to come back and get her Masters all paid for.
Mario’s level of acculturation is pretty good. He has adjusted pretty well to the American culture and enjoys living in the United States for the past three years. When asking Mario about his religious affiliation he said that he is a strong believer in Christ. Mario’s importance in life is to be the best example of being a follower of Christ and show others His love. When asking Mario about his traditions and if he still practices them. His response was “Since being in America I do not follow the Jamaican traditions but my wife does. But I only follow them for my wife; but the only Jamaican tradition that I follow is story telling.” When I asked Mario about it his familiarity and comfort level with the white-euro lifestyle I was very surprised by what he had to say. I thought that he may have said, “Still feel uncomfortable, unwelcomed.” But Mario said, “I feel extremely comfortable being around the white-euro lifestyle.”
The last question that I had for Mario was what does friendship patterns look like. But this time I was not surprised with what he had to say. Mario is one of the friendliest person I know. He has such a warm heart towards others. Mario informed me of this, “It does not matter if you are black or white. It will not change weather or not we are friends. I will still love to spend as much time with you as I would with a person from my race.” With that being said we ended on that note. The favorite thing that I got to do was ask Mario about his life goals I really enjoyed sitting down with Mario and getting to know him better. I learned many things about his culture that I never knew before. I believe the reason why I enjoy the Jamaican culture so much is because I have a haft brother who is born and raised in Jamaica. Doing steps 1-5 really gives you an understanding of how to work with your client, make them feel comfortable, and open up to you and builds that trust with you. I would highly suggest people to go out and to simply sit with another person and learn about their culture. Not only was I thankful to interview Mario but he was over joyed that I wanted to interview him and learn more about him and his culture. (Mario)