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Critical Reflection Paper # 5

Assumptions, Hidden Agendas, and Cultural Awareness

HD 341

Tonya Carline


Dr. Veronica Estrada


In our course book: “The User’s Guide to Being Human: The Art and Science of Self”

Miller (2012). each chapter explores the human capacity, and the various interactions that we

have with one another. The beginning of the book describes it as a practical handbook that helps,

“Develop innate capacities, while using them in the capacity of our daily life.” When I thought

about our reflection for this week, and the meaning behind “Assumptions, Hidden Agendas,” I

began to explore what it means to make assumptions, and what exactly is a “hidden agenda?” I

wanted to examine how that ties into the “developing of innate capacities,” and “cultural


When we make assumptions, it means that we are accepting a theory that we have

developed as truth; rather we have proof or not. When we as human beings have a hidden

agenda, then that means that we have an ulterior motive behind whatever it is that we are

assuming or believe. As we become aware of self- which encompasses an awareness of our

“culture, values, beliefs and perceptions” Miller (2012). We begin to innately navigate towards

how we will interact with one another based on information provided to us from birth, until we

reach the age of interaction and communication with other individuals.

In order for human beings to coexists with one another, we often protect ourselves

emotionally by assuming that we understand what a person’s reasons are for wanting to interact

with us, instead of actually getting to know that individual as an individual, we assume there to

be some type of motive behind trying to develop a connection with someone, especially when

that someone is not a part of the cultural nepotistic comfort zone that we feel when interacting

with those whom we are culturally aware of, or most familiar with.

Lev Vygotsky had a theory, he “stressed the fundamental role of social interaction in the

development of cognition, as he believed strongly that community plays a central role in the

process of “making meaning.” He developed a sociocultural approach to cognitive development;

basically, his theory combines sociocultural factors. People make assumptions, or have hidden

agendas based on their sociocultural factors, which are: “the larger scale forces within cultures

and societies that affect the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.”

I work in community health, and in doing so I have to work in the field with very many

Latino Families, and people. I have recognized a cultural nepotism within the culture of people,

that causes them to navigate towards their own people- in areas of hiring, promoting,

communicating, as well as interacting. There appears to be lots of assumptions that they make

regarding African American people as a whole, which in turn becomes their very own hidden

agenda to keep themselves at the forefront of all things business and advocacy. I have discovered

a way of alleviating this fear of assumptions, and hidden agendas. I make it a point to continue in

love and kindness, continue in strategies for effective communication as we have learned in this


I have discovered that we all as human beings at some point self-reflect, we examine our

own cultural backgrounds, and we determine how we move forward with one another. In my

own self-examination, I have decided that I want us to become more culturally aware of one

another, just as we are our own cultures. I believe that when we interact with one another, and

learn of each other, it suspends the ideology of assumptions and hidden agendas. Instead we

move past ambiguity and learn to effectively communicate so that all things are clear about one

another, rather than assumed. A quote that I remember from our course book: “We sculpt

ourselves with every thought, every behavior, every action.” ~S.E.M