Cultural Reaction paper

Cultural Reaction paper

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Cultural awareness is an important aspect of any community. It includes the ability to respect and appreciate the cultural values, perceptions and beliefs of a community. It is a necessity where people have to interact with other cultures. What one culture considers as inappropriate differs from the view of another culture. As such, a social worker must be aware of this differences to be able to effectively impact the community. Cultural reaction refers to the response that a culture receives from those that are not part of it. This can range from people feeling that:

  • The culture is superior to theirs
  • The culture is inferior to theirs
  • The culture can be assimilated into the existing culture in the community

(Quappe & Cantatore, 2005)

Fayetteville is a town that is largely known for the military community that it has. Medical Social Workers are considered to be important members of the community at Fayetteville. Their core role involves interviewing clients and their families. It also entails coordinating and planning programs or activities that meet the social and emotional needs of the clients and their families. The cultural system in focus is the Hawaiian community in Fayetteville. The estimated population of the Native Hawaiian community is at less than 0.5% (United States Census Bureau, 2015). According to a census report, out if the twelve thousand, nine hundred and forty two businesses registered in the town as at 2007, less than 25 businesses are owned by the native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander population (United States Census Bureau, 2015).

This paper attempts to understand the culture of Hawaiian natives. This will be achieved through conducting interviews among Hawaiian natives in Fayetteville. The data collected will be analyzed against research on cultural identity, the cultural norms of the Hawaiian peple, world view, religious practices, common child reasing practices, accultration, sociopolitical histories as well as the culture-specific delivery process. The findings will influence the cultural awareness that social wokers have of the native Hawaiian population in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Personal Assumptions and Biases

Mention the word Hawaii and the first impression that comes to mind is great food and a beautiful island that is considered as one of the most beautiful vacation spots in the Pacific. The people are friendly and seem to never be in a hurry. People are in no hurry. The general perception is that Hawaiian natives are predominantly colored. The Hula dance is a practice that many are familiar with and associate with hawaiian culture. The impression is that Hawaii is a place whose culture is founded on enjoying life and basically having a good time.

Accultration of Hawaiian culturein Feyetteville is not significant considering that the population of native Hawaiians in the community is negligible. This made it difficult to conduct interviewsaasit entailed a lot of research on loccating parts of the communitythat had majority of the native hawaiian population. This made it a challenge to collate the information. In addition, many of the Native hawaiian population have assimilated into american culture. The children especially know very little of their native culture.

Cultural Identity and Norms

From research collected through interviews among the native Hawaiian community, one thing that came across very strongly was the importance of family among the native Hawaiian community. The community has put together social gatherings thatallow them to celebrate their culture in north Carolina. The Ka Pu’uwai ‘O Hawai’i (also known as the Hawai’i club of North Carolina) is a private club whose core mission is to encourage an ‘Ohana (family) within the community so as perpetuate Hawaiian culture (The Hawai’i Club of NC, 2015). The club is made up of families that are either Hawaiian natives or they lived on thee island for a long time and as a result fell in love with the culture and thee people. They organize a number of activities each year for networking and celebrating Hawaiian culture. The potluck tradition is founded on a common hawaiian culture where a person is expected to carry a gift in the form of food when visiting a home. According to hawaiian culture, it is common for guests to take off their shoes at the main door. It iscommon courtesy to gift someone with food and also when one is living, it is considdered good manners to carryleft overswith you as you leave.

A common custom in weddings is the pandango. This is otherwise known as the money dance. The newlyweds perfoem a solo dance while the guests bestow monetary gifts upon them (Schachter, 2013).

World view

Hawaii is widely known as a tourist hot spot. The economy is largely dependent on the tourism sector (Schachter, 2013). Hawaiian natives in Fayetteville are associated with potluck events. Their food is one of the unique elements of their culture. As such, many parts of the world now offer Hawaiian cuisine. Hawaii is considered as one of the most beautiful vacation spots in the Pacific. The people are friendly and seem to never be in a hurry. People are in no hurry. The general perception is that Hawaiian natives are predominantly colored. The Hula dance is a practice that many are familiar with and associate with hawaiian culture. The impression is that Hawaii is a place whose culture is founded on enjoying life and basically having a good time. The people are friendly and focus on togetherness. As such, they focus a great deal on the perpetuation of their culture.

Religious Practices

The traditional religious practice of nativve Hawaiians were based on religion that was polytheistic and animalistic. They had a number of gods and spirits thatthey worshipped. The chiefs were considered as deity as well. Howewever, this religion was later replaceed by chrisitianity. While a number of ceremonies practiced till today are nborrowed from Hawaiian religion, much of their practices are no longer practiced. The American Indian Religious freedom Act protects hawaiian religious practices (Schachter, 2013).

Child Rearing Practice

A common practice that Native Hawaiians family is ‘Ohana (family). It is an essential element of the community and has a significant role in the raising of children. NativeHawaiians aregreatly influenced by the strong connection they have with family (DeBaryshe, Yuen, Nakamura, & Stern, 2006). This is largely because they live in multigenerational households. As such, they are in direct contact with grandparents and thee restof the extended family. The result is children tend to have better emotional support and are closely related to their family mebers. Such children are also familiar with Hawaiian cultural practices . This is done through nteraction with family members from different generations who passon what they know to the younger generation (DeBaryshe, Yuen, Nakamura, & Stern, 2006).

Based on information provided y cultural historians, native hawaiian child rearing practies are centered on being affectionate and undulgent towards infants. Native Hawaiian parents may engage in teaching that is not very detailed and depend on indirect methods to mould the child’s behavior.native Hawaiian parents prefer to not use praise as well as material rewards as they fear establishing a culture of dependence on external incentives in their children (DeBaryshe, Yuen, Nakamura, & Stern, 2006).

Native Hawaiian parents tend offer their children high levels of support.The result is such children tend to have a healthy self image and are less prone to depreession especially if the child is from a poor economic background.

Sociopolitical histories, accultration and culture-specific delivery process

Hawaiian society has evolved over the years too what it is today. The highest authority in the community wa sthe king followedby the high chief (ali’i). The king’s powers including controlling taxes, overseeing certain religious rituals and the leader in times of war. The king was surrounded by a team of advisors. The most superior of these advisors were the chief minister and the high priest who gained audience with the king on many occasions. They were regarded as the king’s chief advisors in matters of state, war and cultural practices.

Below the chief advisors were the ali’i (chiefs of all ranks). Their position was subject to the king’s discretion as well as their family tree. As such, there was a hierarchy within this rank as well. Those of lesser rank came ffrom a famiy where the father was a man favored by the chief that had married a woman of ali’I lineage (Schachter, 2013). Those aAli’i that had the title conferred on them by the king held the lowest rank as this title was not a birth rite. The king conferred this right to a man based on his strength or a sppecial skill that he possessed. However, such an Ali’i could not pass this title to his children.

The chiefs and the king had many attendants. Those that were regarded as commoners were expected to kneel as a sign of honor and respect to the ali’i and the king (mo’i). A commoner was expected to kneel in the presence of a chief who was having a meal (Quappe & Cantatore, 2005). On the face of it,it appears quite oppressivefor the commoners who had no significant status. Many commoners performed the role of workers thatwere skilled in particular areas such as farming, construction etc. The lowest rank in society was the kauwa (outcasts). This title was a birth rite passed down through generations.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, acculturation refers to the cultural modification of people by either borrowing traits from another culture of the merging of cultures as a result of interacting for a long period of time. The assimilation of the values of another group can manifest in the form of memberships in common social groups and institutions. An example of this is the NC club for Hawaiian families seeking to keep in touch. These families consist of native Hawaiians as well as American families that have lived in Hawaii for a long time and fell in love with the place, its people and culture. Such interaction not only perpetuates certain Hawaiian cultural norms such as potluck but also result in this culture being influenced by that of American families. Institutions are a huge determinant of the ability to perpetuate certain cultures and norms. According to native Hawaiian culture, children are expected to receive guidance and instruction from the older members of the family. This conflicts with the US education system which is based on instilling a sense of independent thinking in the child. The result is native Hawaiian children are acculturated into a mix of customs giving rise to a number of internal and external conflicts. It becomes difficult for them to assert their own identity especially when they attain adolescence (Schachter, 2013).


Native Hawaiian culture is rich in customs, beliefs and practices. While certain elements of culture norms and practices are no longer practices, the core values of family (‘Ohana) and togetherness continue to be perpetuated by the community not only in Hawaii but also in different part of the United States where there is a settlement of Hawaiians.


DeBaryshe, B. D., Yuen, S., Nakamura, L. N., & Stern, I. R. (2006). The Roles of Family Obligation and Parenting Practices in Explaining the Well-Being of Native-Hawaiian Adolescents Living in Poverty. Hulili: Multidisciplinary Research on Hawaiian Well Being Vol. 3, 103-126.

Quappe, S., & Cantatore, G. (2005). What is Cultural Awareness, anyway? How do I build it? Retrieved from Culturosity:

Schachter, J. (2013). The Legacies of a Hawaiian Generation: From Territorial Subject to American Citizen. Berghahn Books.

The Hawai’i Club of NC. (2015). ALOHA! WELCOME TO KA PU’UWAI ‘O HAWAI’I – THE HAWAI’I CLUB OF NORTH CAROLINA. Retrieved from hawaiiclubnc:

United States Census Bureau. (2015, February 5). Fayetteville (city), North Carolina. Retrieved from

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