Cultural Blindness

Cultural Blindness Cultural blindness is a perspective of being unbiased, such that people are viewed as being alike and consequently are treated alike. At this point, the definition of “alike” is based on the dominant culture, giving cultural blindness ethnocentric overtones. Historically, health programs sought and delivered universal solutions without regard to different communication patterns of different cultures. Treating everyone in an unbiased manner would seem to be a reasonable premise for a health program. Cultural blindness, however, does not lead to effective programs.


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One explanation for this phenomenon, taken from educational psychology, centers on the role of the dominant culture. Boekaerts suggests that because culture affects self-constructs, it also affects key features of how individuals learn and process information. As a result, what may be an effective learning environment for members of the dominant culture may not be effective for members of the less-dominant culture, who are being treated like members of the dominant culture. This theory implies that health programs, especially those with education or learning components that are based on a cultural blindness perspective, are not likely to be effective for individuals who are not from the dominant culture.


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