Why info on white culture omitted from cultural compence in textbooks?

  1. 13
    This is more an observation or comment I've noticed about nursing textbooks. They all emphasize cultural competence yet all omit information on white/Caucasian culture. Why is this? How am I to be a culturally competent nurse if the schools do not teach about the major cultural population in the USA?
    I remember the first time I was all excited about learning cultural competence and thought it would be a great way to further understand the American culture. Boy was I disappointed. All books seem to think the culture means either being African American, Native Indian, Asian or Hispanic. Even chapters that refer to nutrition omit the tastes of the Caucasian culture. The forces that be who write these books needs to give information about all cultures being reasonable. Granted the fact that most the the writers are white, at least from the books I've had thus far. Also the majority of people represented as clients or residents or patients are also white, how then can one learn about their culture when it is never taught?
    One of the white dudes in my class made the same observation which is how this topic first came to light. With him having an immigrant wife and me being an immigrant, both of us were surprised at the lack of available information. Thoughts? comments?
    LJoy, futuresctRN, MassED, and 10 others like this.
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  4. 8
    Because as Americans we are generally assimilated into white culture. Period.
    Jay406, lindarn, NurseJoy33, and 5 others like this.
  5. 4
    If someone is born into a major culture, there really is no need for assimilation. They grow into that culture without realizing any particular differences. To someone outside of that culture, things would be very different and its they, such as immigrants, who have to do the assimilation. They would go from a state of culture shock to that of assimulation, like I've done over the past several years. Now if an American, in general no matter the race, goes to say England, they would experience the same thing. My whole point is if there is no literature on English culture, then they would see my view point. Granted I do understand what you are saying, in essence there is no relevance to write about the dominant culture since everyone assimilates into it. Maybe its just me. I like traveling, I like learning about different cultures.


    Cultural assimilation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    lindarn, MassED, NurseDirtyBird, and 1 other like this.
  6. 2
    Great question! I will learn about this subject later in the semester. Culture changes with region, religion, language/dialect, and heritage. White people in England have a different culture from the white in Italy. I guess the writers thought it was not important. I don't know...
    Fiona59 and lindarn like this.
  7. 11
    As a black American, I have learned white culture through growing up in this country. The American public school system does more than enough to indoctrinate white culture. That would be a waste of time to cover it during the one chapter cultural competence is covered. Also most books give you the western perspective in contrast with the eastern perspective.
  8. 8
    Quote from slinkyheadCNA
    As a black American, I have learned white culture through growing up in this country. The American public school system does more than enough to indoctrinate white culture. That would be a waste of time to cover it during the one chapter cultural competence is covered. Also most books give you the western perspective in contrast with the eastern perspective.
    Right. You've grown up in the USA and have knowledge of white culture from a lifetime of exposure. The OP is an immigrant. S/he doesn't have that same level of knowledge by immersion. And US nursing texts do focus their attention on minority groups with the assumption that the reader has knowledge of & understands the prevailing cultural overtones of the majority.

    To the OP, white/Caucasian American culture is influenced by ancestral, regional and religious backgrounds. Irish Catholic culture will be quite different from Southern Baptist.

    Sent from my HTC One X using allnurses.com
    Fiona59, kbrn2002, MassED, and 5 others like this.
  9. 12
    Unfortunately, it's okay to be uncultrually competent to white people because they are the majority and so they are considered privileged and therefore, are supposed to be okay with how people from different backgrounds chose to interact with/treat them even if that treatment is unacceptable by traditional European decent standards.
    futuresctRN, Jill2Shay, Fiona59, and 9 others like this.
  10. 1
    I would say our text book did a poor job of explaining cultures in general, but Saunders does a pretty good job of over viewing cultures. One thing I noticed with ATI tests, at least, is that culture questions tend to be religion specific or pertain to body language.
    lindarn likes this.
  11. 6
    Quote from slinkyheadCNA
    As a black American, I have learned white culture through growing up in this country. The American public school system does more than enough to indoctrinate white culture. That would be a waste of time to cover it during the one chapter cultural competence is covered. Also most books give you the western perspective in contrast with the eastern perspective.
    I'm of an origin, which is considered western perspectives. The best way to show the dilemma is an example.
    Ok so I'm learning maternity right now. The text goes into how this groups being dominant group while minorities usually follow the dominant group. Then they go on to state various factors which could be stereotypes, depending on how you look at it. So African Americans - use lots of oil on newborns scalp and skin, Asian American - pregnancy is a natural happy time, Arab Americans - breast feeding delayed 2 to 3 days after birth, Hispanic - loud during labor (ha who isn't?).
    There is no info on White American. Which I could only guess could do any of the above actions? It's just remains a mystery.
    Now for myself, being black yet not being American, however the American society deems me "African American" even though I am not, could be confusing to some. So I've "assimilated" into the African American culture and great American culture as a whole but I guess this more relates to immigrants since we did not grow up here. Its particularly difficult when we move here as an adult. The assimilation process is hampered by our own engrained traditions, cultures and values. The only course I really learned anything about white Americans or the dominant US culture was in my sociology classes.
    I read somewhere that one professor (white nurse MSN) refused to teach from a cultural perspective textbook because she believed the book was derogatory to minorities and mainly presented stereotypes rather than the actual culture of those groups. I believe she resigned. I guess cultural competence in itself is a difficult topic and its best to just be open minded.
    lindarn, Fiona59, MassED, and 3 others like this.
  12. 8
    Quote from tigerRN2013
    Unfortunately, it's okay to be uncultrually competent to white people because they are the majority and so they are considered privileged and therefore, are supposed to be okay with how people from different backgrounds chose to interact with/treat them even if that treatment is unacceptable by traditional European decent standards.
    Just like we learn about others through education, other cultures will learn through exposure. If an American went to Ethiopia, they would have trouble until they learned the customer.

    Please don't pretend Caucasians have suffered because people from other cultures have trouble assimilating. Ugh


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