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Nieto and Bode's Affirming Diversity Case Study Analysis

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The Case Study from Nieto and Bode's Affirming Diversity that I would like to get to "know" more deeply is found on page 85 about Linda Howard. Linda is a nineteen year old high school graduate who has overcome many obstacles resulting from her biracial ethnicity, and has graduated as the valedictorian of her senior class. Her father is African American and her mother is European American. Linda lives with her mother, father, older brother and two younger sisters in a house, which is located in a middle-class, predominantly black community in Boston. However, living in a house was not always the case, for many years before her parents bought the house the family lived in public housing. Both of her parents are working but this has not always been the case for Linda's family. In high school she had good grades and was a talented singer. Upon graduating from high school Linda has a job and got a four-year scholarship to one of the best schools in New England (Nieto & Bode, 2012). Using Bronfenbrenner's Bio-Ecological System Theory I will analyze Linda's lived experiences and the impact they have made on her.

The Bio-Ecological System Theory is Bronfenbrenner's social-cultural view of development, which focuses on the changing relations between individuals and the environments in which they live. It consists of five environmental systems ranging from the fine-grained inputs of direct interactions with social agents to the broad-based inputs of culture. The five systems in Bronfenbrenner's bio- ecological system theory are the microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, macrosystem, and chronosystem.

The microsystem in ecological theory is the setting in which an individual lives. This context includes the person's family, peers, school, neighborhood, etc. is the immediate environment in which a person is operating. The settings within, which the individual directly interacts and with the most immediate and direct impact on a child's biological and psychological development. The key concept is the "direct contact" between the child and the niche. (Oswalt, 2012)

Within the Microsystem of Linda's life experience, I have included her family, her heritage, her school, and her relationships with peers and teacher. Linda's family is the greatest influence on her values and beliefs. They have always been very supportive and involved in her life from the time she was little. Her attitude of effort, belief in herself, and focus on education have all came from the influence of her parents. Both of her parents have instilled in her the idea of hard work and culture makes you a better person. She believes that her culture is her family. Linda was born and raised in American, the fourth-generation American. However, her mother being European American and her father being African American has sometimes put her in difficult positions being recognized as biracial and multicultural. This has caused her to not always be able to identify with one group because of her mixed background making her feel like she does not fit in. Linda feels that if you want to know what people are you have to ask them and not make judgments or assumptions.

Nevertheless, school has caused Linda some good and bad experiences. When she was in elementary school she enjoyed school and felt that all of her teachers were wonderful and they really cared for the students. However, when she went to Academic high she did not feel that she would talk to her teachers and that they were rigid. It was also the first time in her live she had seen an F or a D under her name, always having received good grades before now. Academic High made her feel less than she was. Finally, she went to Jefferson High where the whole school felt like a big community, everyone was integrated and nobody got treated differently. This is where she met Mr. Benson, her Honors English teacher, which really had an impact on her. Until this point in Linda's life she had never thought about going to college but he put it in her head that she could do anything that she wanted. He was a role model and support system for her. Mr. Benson and Linda could relate on many levels her life including having parents that one was black and one was white. He made himself available to students who just wanted to talk or needed help with something and showed that he really cared about the students by teaching in a small community. By doing this he showed that he wanted to help the underprivileged be the best they could be, which made Linda admire him most because she like to help people as well. Being outgoing and personable, has also help Linda have many great friends from all cultures.

Bronfenbrenner's next level, the mesosystem, describes how the different parts of a child's microsystem work together for the sake of the child. For example, if a child's caregivers take an active role in a child's school, such as going to parent-teacher conferences, this will help ensure the child's overall growth. In contrast, if the child's two sets of caretaker, disagree how to best raise the child and give the child conflicting lessons when they see him, this will hinder the child's growth in different channels. (Oswalt, 2012).

The Mesosystem of Linda's life works to support her efforts in school and her positive attitudes about her ability and prospects in life. Her parent's involvement and her teachers caring support have given Linda the ability to successful. She states that not all "black kids" have the home life that she does. Her mother read to her from the time she was born and not a lot of people have that. Parents have their own responsibilities in support a family and forget the fact that they need to help their kids. Her parents always taught her to try her best and that is all you can do. They also helped her realize that you go to school to make yourself a better person and to learn more about the world as well as yourself.

The exosystem level includes the other people and places that the child them self may not interact with often but that still have a large affect on them, such as parents' workplaces, extended family members, the neighborhood, etc. For example, if a child's parent gets laid off from work, that may have negative effects on the child if their parents are unable to pay rent or to buy groceries; however, if her parent receives a promotion and a raise at work, this may have a positive effect on the child because their parents will be better able to give more to physical needs. (Oswalt, 2012).

The exosystem in Linda's life first includes unpredictable employment for her mother and father, even if it this is not the case now. She is proud that her father has been with the telephone company for 20 years as a lineman



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