The religious and ethnic groups that I have chosen to write about are Jehovah's Witnesses and Pacific Islander's. The reason I have decided on theses two choices is because I feel that out of my choices to write about these two I know the least about, and I wanted to know more. I always have been interested in different religions since I do not have one myself, but never found the time to pursue research into very many of them.
I have never really thought about researching other ethnic groups, but I feel it is a good idea to do as much research as possible to connect as well as I can with my patients. I will be touching on the same subjects with both choices and show what I learned through this journey. My selected religious group of Jehovah's Witnesses differs from other religious groups because they refuse military service and blood transfusions, refuse to salute the national flag, do not believe in abortion, do not observe traditional holiday's like Easter, Christmas, or their birthday's, and go door-to-door preaching and handing out literature (Engardio, Shepard, n.d.).
Jehovah's Witnesses do not usually associate with people outside of their religion, and you can not be a member unless you have been baptized. Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Jehovah is the creator of all things and is the only true God, while also believing that the Holy Spirit is an active force and not a person (Watchtower online library, n.d). They also believe that paradise is here on Earth and they do not believe in Hell (Bourque, 2012, Ten things you didn't know about Jehovah's Witnesses).
The experience with Jehovah's witnesses with other's that do not share it's beliefs or practices has not always been a positive one. When they go door to door they often are greeted with rejection because they "consider secular society to be morally corrupt and under the influence of Satan" (Wikipedia, Jehovah's Witnesses, para.3). It is also very difficult to have a relationship of any kind to get to know them because of their lack of association with other's outside of their own religion.
The ways that Jehovah's Witnesses have contributed to American culture are by winning 50 out of 62 supreme court battles, and set many precedents regarding many religious freedom issues (Engardio, Shepard, n.d.), they have a way of convincing criminals and immoral people to change how they live, they are also usually one of the first responders on a scene of a natural disaster to help people, like in the Boston Marathon bombing.
They were also guinea pigs for having bloodless surgery which is now widely available to anyone (Engardio, n.d.). Some examples of discrimination or prejudice that the Jehovah's witnesses have endured are; raids on their houses of worship, unlawful detention, denial of employment and education, and confiscation of their property (Engardio, n.d.).
On August30, 2012 Naplenews.com posted a story of two teacher's suing a school district for discrimination by declining to re-hire them after finding out they were Jehovah's Witnesses (Bhasin, 2012). Posted on annarbor.com December13, 2011 a nursing home illegally fired an employee for requesting certain days off during the week because of her religion, which happened to be Jehovah's Witness (Higgins, 2011).
On both of these sources the employer was the source of discrimination and court cases came about because of the discrimination. During my research on Jehovah's Witnesses I learned more than I expected to learn. I now have an understanding on why they do not salute the flag, do not donate blood, and do not socialize much outside of their own religion.
I also learned that they do believe in divorce and dancing, which most people believe they do not do. I believe everyone believes in their own personal beliefs. Understanding why they do, or do not do things is important to know so that way I can make educated judgments, and better support a variety of people.
The Ethnic group I chose is Pacific Islander to get more familiar with their ways and traditions. They differ from other ethnic/racial groups because they often live a laid back style counting on one another as they are all extended family that works together for the better of their community. Pacific Islanders did not have a form of written language for centuries using music to as a way of expression. They would play wood drums made of hollowed logs, play small and large gourds, play split bamboo, and use their voices as a way of expression.
They also have traditional weddings where it is a whole family event, and the family pays for it. When there is a funeral everyone wears black and extended family prepares food for up to five days (Swain, n.d.). The experience of Pacific Islanders with other groups have been positive. Pacific Islanders in general get along well with other's and are very family oriented, which draws people to them. Pacific Islanders have contributed to American culture in many ways. They have been leader's in every aspect in "government, business, science, medicine, the arts, education, and the armed forces" (Washington, 2013. par.3.). Many Pacific Islanders have also been awarded the medal of honor.
A specific example of discrimination against Pacific Islanders is in 1974 a suit was filed against Alaska's Wards Cove Company. The all white management segregated them from everything. They made them work in racially segregated jobs and were segregated when it came to housing and eating.
When it came to the signing in 1991 of the federal Civil Rights Act this suit was still pending and excluded these specific people and allows Alaska's Wards Cove "to operate above the law, and continues its discriminatory practices" (Lee, 1992, par. 3.). Once again the source of this discrimination is the employer, which happens to have an all white management team.
What I did find on Pacific Islanders has helped me understand a little bit more about them. Pacific Islander can mean different things to different people, and it is important not too generalize the race. I now also understand that it is their culture to have strong relationships with their families and their community. It was interesting to find out that music has played a big part of their culture when they had no written language. I enjoyed doing this research and finding the reasons behind why these groups believe in what they believe in. The biggest discrimination similarity that I found between these two groups that I researched was mostly employer discrimination.
The biggest differences that I found between the two are they are of different races and believe differently in religion. If I could draw any conclusions from these comparisons I would say that employer discrimination seems to be predominant, even to this day. I feel that in doing this research that no one is exempt from discrimination, and we all have to stand up for what is right and for what we believe in, while still respecting other's beliefs.
References Bhasin, Sabina. (2012). Former teacher's, Jehovah's Witnesses file discrimination lawsuit against school district. Retrieved from http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2012/aug/30/former-teachers-jehovahs-witnesses-file-lawsuit/ Bourque, Adam. (2012). Ten things you didn't know about Jehovah's Witnesses. Retrieved from http://www.miskeptics.org/2012/07/ten-things-you-didnt-know-about-jehovahs- witnesses/ J Engardio, P. Joel, Shepard, Tom. (n.d). Documentary, KNOCKING. Retrieved from http://www.knocking.org/ Higgins, Lee. (2011).
Jehovah's Witness claims discrimination by nursing home. Retrieved from ttp://www.annarbor.com/news/jehovahs-witness-was-discriminated-against-at-pittsfield-township-nursing-home-lawsuit-alleges/ Houghton Mifflin Company. (2009) The free dictionary, (4th ed.). Retrieved from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Pacific+Islander Lee, Tau, Pam.
(1992). Environmental Justice for Asians and Pacific Islanders. Retrieved from http://www.urbanhabitat.org/node/962 Swain, Liz. (n.d.). Pacific Island Americans. Retrieved from http://www.everyculture.com/multi/Le-Pa/Pacific-Islander-Americans.html Watchtower online library. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/102006245 Washington. (2013). Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders Important to U.S. History. Retrieved from http://geneva.usmission.gov/2013/05/10/asian-americans-pacific-islanders-important-to-u-s-history/ Wikipedia (n.d.). Jehovah's Witnesses. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jehovah's_Witnesses
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