This overview of the Japanese American community includes a brief history of the community in the United States, an overview of some distinct characteristics of the community, and a review of current literature highlighting the particular issues of the community salient to social work research and intervention.
This overview of the Korean immigrant community includes a brief history of immigration and a review of the distinct characteristics that have helped establish a strong and fairly successful community. It also describes a new generation of young adults who are distinct from their parents in their cultural, social, and economic adaptation. In addition, the challenges and difficulties that the community and its families may face are discussed along with implications for social work interventions.
Pallassana R. Balgopal
The term Asian Americans encompasses the immigrants coming from all parts of Asia. This heterogeneous cluster of Asian Americans, while sharing some common characteristics, also has unique features among its different ethnic groups. This entry presents an overview of this cluster, including key data relating to individual groups. In addition to specific practice guidelines for effective social work interventions, essential knowledge and skills to work with a variety of Asian groups are discussed throughout the text.
Rowena Fong, Ruth G. McRoy, and Alan Dettlaff
Racial disproportionality and disparities are problems affecting children and families of color in the child welfare, juvenile justice, education, mental-health, and health-care systems. The term “disproportionality” refers to the ratio between the percentage of persons in a particular racial or ethnic group at a particular decision point or experiencing an event (maltreatment, incarceration, school dropouts) compared to the percentage of the same racial or ethnic group in the overall population. This ratio could suggest underrepresentation, proportional representation, or overrepresentation of a population experiencing a particular phenomenon. The term “disparity” refers to “unequal treatment or outcomes for different groups in the same circumstance or at the same decision point.” A close examination of disproportionality and disparities brings attention to differences in outcomes, often by racial group, and by social service systems. It is necessary to examine the reasons for these differences in outcomes and to be sure that culturally competent practices are upheld.
The end of the Viet Nam war, officially concluded on April 30, 1975, created a global diaspora from the Southeast Asian region. The geographic diversity reflects equally the diversity in language, religion, and ethnicity in the people who settled in the United States. The inherent diversity in refugee experiences and personal backgrounds has produced unequal personal and social adjustment among the three ethnic groups in their resettlement over the years. In general, Southeast Asian refugees have attained social integration as their offspring are developing an ethnic identity as members of the second- or third-generation of U.S.-born Americans.
This entry describes the diversity among Asian American populations, setting the context to understand the need for different practice interventions. It explains the role of cultural values in the underpinnings of the selection of theoretical frameworks that guide chosen practice interventions. Indigenous and biculturalizations of interventions (Fong, Boyd, & Browne, 1997) are discussed as they relate to general and specific problems relevant to this population. Challenges and dilemmas are raised as ethical decisions are made among practitioners, who serve the Asian American native born, immigrant, and refugee populations.
Jeanne M. Giovannoni
Harry H. L. Kitano (1926–2006) taught at the UCLA Departments of Social Welfare and Sociology. His scholarship involved the application of social science theories to the understanding of racial and ethnic conflict and interactions, with particular regard to Japanese Americans.
King Davis and Hyejin Jung
This entry defines the term disparity as measurable differences between groups on a number of indices. The term disparity originated in France in the 16th century and has been used as a barometer of progress in social justice and equality in the United States. When disparity is examined across the U.S. population over a longitudinal period, it is clear that disparities continue to exist and that they distinguish groups by race, income, class, and gender. African American and Native American populations have historically ranked higher in prevalence and incidence than other populations on most indices of disparity. However, the level of adverse health and social conditions has declined for all population groups in the United States. The disparity indices include mortality rates, poor health, disease, absence of health insurance, accidents, and poverty. Max Weber’s theory of community formation is used in this entry to explain the continued presence and distribution of disparities. Other theoretical frameworks are utilized to buttress the major hypothesis by Weber that social ills tend to result from structural faults rather than individual choice. Social workers are seen as being in a position to challenge the structural origins of disparities as part of their professional commitment to social justice.