Differences Between Cultural Relativism And Universal Human Rights

1667 Words 7 Pages
"Cultural relativism is an undeniable fact", Jack Donnelly postulates in his journal entitled, "Cultural Relativism and Universal Human Rights" (Donnelly, J); the axiom rings true not only inside anthropology, but inside the emergency room, whenever two cultures clashes and "the conflict [becomes] confined to differences in belief systems" (Fadiman, A). One example that comes to mind in the recent decades is the confrontation between the Lee family and a public hospital in Merced, California, where Hmong child Lia Lee was diagnosed with epilepsy and then became collateral damage in a cultural clash between Hmong holistic/spiritual medicine and Western medicine. Within the span of a few years, the Lee family were offered little to no support …show more content…
Tracing the steps from the Lee family 's initial trust in Western medicine via pleasant experiences in camps to the Lee family neglecting Lia 's health by not properly administering Western medicine to Lia declared no more sentient than a Venus flytrap, it is wise to note that the gap between the two cultures are marked by many obstacles: bilingual assistance, proper communication, different measures of time, notions of health and well-being tied with spirituality and culture, decision making led by clan or family head, etc. However, Fadiman presents a new trend in the medical system, presented in the interesting form of self-described “anarchist sub-personality” psychologist named Sukey Waller: cultural brokers (Fadiman, A). As Sukey explains her immediate integration in the Hmong community, “the long way around is often the shortest way from point A to point B” (Fadiman, A); developed by the National Center for Cultural Competence, “Bridging the Cultural Divide in Health Care Settings: The Essential Role of Cultural Broker Programs” explain 'cultural brokering ' through multiple definition, from describing the …show more content…
Approaching the 21th century, the Department of Health and Human Services “provided important guidance how to ensure culturally and linguistically appropriate health care services”, while the now Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has “issued guidance to all state Medicaid directors regarding interpreter services” with the emphasis on the availability of federal matching funds for such services” (Cultural Competence in Health Care). Furthermore, Spector emphasis the development of national standards regarding cultural diversity, citing the office of Minority Health 's National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) in Health Care (Spector ~). Though the standards are “non-regulatory and therefore do not have the force and effect of law”, the patchwork exists, and the Title VI of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 suffices for now in requiring “health care providers and organizations that receive federal financial assistance to take reasonable steps to ensure Limited English Proficiency (LEP) persons have meaningful access to services” (Spector

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