Publication Date

2010

Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

Ken Williams

Abstract

This paper illustrates two conflicts among three parties in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The first conflict is between African immigrant parents and their children (youth) and the second one is between African immigrant parents and the child protection agency (DCS). I chose interviews and observation as methods of collecting qualitative data concerning these two conflicts. The data was used to map the root causes, or epicenter, of the conflicts. I conducted in-depth interviews with eleven interviewees in Arabic and English. Then, I transcribed the interviews, coded for common themes, and compared and contrasted responses. I drew themes from topics that emerged from the inputs of the eleven participants. I also used participant observation and my observation as a secondary source to confirm my findings.

The findings of this research show that the root causes of the conflicts are cultural differences, a lack of social knowledge and skills, as well as a lack of self-awareness. Technology, language, and economic status also influence the relationships between African immigrant parents and the DCS. Finally, imitation on the part of the African immigrant children of peers outside their culture, and the absence of dialogue within African immigrant families also contribute to this conflict.

The DCS intervenes to protect a child after he or she has been disciplined by his or her parents. They investigate disciplinary methods used by parents if a child appears to be abused (bruised, injured, or marked) or in danger. The DCS also intervenes when a child is found on the street alone or when home conditions do not meet the standard of Indiana law.

For the purpose of this capstone, conflict transformation is defined as “a sustained process of examining conflict sources and contexts systematically and developing relevant means to redirect its momentum into constructive relationship-building and social change” (Arai, 2009). Coalition building played a significant role in my practicum and in my research. I designed four programs based on the findings of this study: cultural competency workshops, a self-awareness program, cross-cultural skill building program, and a program in conflict analysis and transformation. The self-awareness program and cross-cultural skill building program are currently being implemented through a partnership between Darfur Women Peace & Development Network Inc. (DWN) and McFadden Resource Center (MRC) and YMCA in Fort Wayne, IN.

Disciplines

Peace and Conflict Studies | Social Work

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