What identified challenges are essential for human service providers to understand when working with Asian American groups? What are some effective strategies to use when working with these populations and what are some available services to provide resources? For example, if poverty affects a large portion of Asian Americans, what resources can a human services agency provide?

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Some of the challenges facing human service providers when working with Asian Americans could equally be encountered when working with any other non-white group of Americans. For example, in the United States, ethnicity is correlated strongly with socioeconomic status and health; it is statistically more likely that poverty and health...

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Some of the challenges facing human service providers when working with Asian Americans could equally be encountered when working with any other non-white group of Americans. For example, in the United States, ethnicity is correlated strongly with socioeconomic status and health; it is statistically more likely that poverty and health inequality will afflict a non-white person than a white person. It has also been noted that non-white populations may be less inclined to accept any help that is offered to them, because of mistrust that these organizations are working in their best interests; and moreover, the areas in which ethnic minorities live are often economically deprived, resulting in a lesser provision of service, and sometimes services being of an inferior quality.

Obviously, it is important for human service providers to try and counter this mistrust from ethnic minorities by ensuring that the quality of service provided is equivalent to that received by white populations. Specific understanding and awareness of cultural factors (thinking about an individual's attitude to family, to receiving help, etc) is key to doing this. This means Asian Americans need to be considered not only as a non-white population, but in their own context. Some elements of this would include:

1. Asian Americans are not a homogeneous group. It is important for a service provider to be sensitive to this and to understand the specific origin of the family in question.

2. Stereotypes about Asian Americans are widespread in the US, such as that they are very intelligent and successful. This has meant that Asian American children struggling in school, for example, or Asian American families struggling economically are overlooked. There are fewer outreach programmes targeting Asian Americans specifically, because of the idea that this population will not need help.

3. Asian Americans have a variety of different beliefs and cultural values depending on their specific ethnicity. This might include their faith, their food preferences, but also their methods of communicating and understanding of what represents an appropriate family dynamic.

4. Asian American groups are often particularly resistant to discussing their circumstances outside of the family because of a fear of "losing face." They also often designate one person as the "spokesman" for the whole family, so it is important to encourage other members of the family to speak about their own experiences and concerns.

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