Week Four: Duality of Culture – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week Four: Duality of Culture

Dear Future me,

Culture has always been thought of as customs, behaviors, and practices of a group of people. Being in this program makes me think about how much of culture is internal and external. Culture has always been this fluid thing that one considers when thinking about race and family but it takes on different meanings in the workplace. The program staff I work with is representative of the community that we support. We focus on the Southwest Detroit, Delray community which is primarily White, Hispanic or Latino, and Black. The staff represents that which is rare for community development programs. There are also a lot of people who grew up in Detroit and the area in specific on the team. It is comforting to have a team who is committed to the mission of the program and can recognize the true needs of the community.

Even though everything is virtual, it was easy to ascertain the culture of the worksite. Everyone is very casual and informal, yet they are diligent and hard working. There is a trust and camaraderie that is infectious. Doing participant interviews and research I found that so many community members were satisfied with the team’s work and rated them as the most valued aspect of the program. I wonder if the racial make up contributes to that atmosphere. Is the culture a by product of the work done or the people who exist within it?

I wonder if there ability to find joy even when facing so much hardship and devastation in communities is due to who they are as people or the experiences that brought them here? Do I have a culture? Is my culture how I respond to what society provides me or is it something innate?

So many questions,


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