Unformatted text preview: Cultural Competence within
the Context of Working with
Child and Families
Child Socwk 582, Practice with Children and Families
University of Illinois at Chicago, Jane Addams College of Social Work
September 13, 2011 “If one does not understand a person, one tends to regard him as a fool.”
Carl Jung Culturally Sensitive Practice
Culturally Sensitive Practice Definition of Culture Stages of Cultural Competence Strategies of Cultural Competence Cultural Competency Issues Definition of Culture
Definition of Culture
Those elements of a people’s history, tradition, values, and social organization that become implicitly or explicitly meaningful to the participants in cross
cultural encounters. It includes thoughts, communication, actions, customs, beliefs and institutions of a racial, ethnic, religious, or social group. Connotes worldview, behavioral styles and inclinations, and thinking patterns that present and can be anticipated in interpersonal interactions across social boundaries. Cultural competency Cultural competency is a challenge we all face together. What is Cultural Competency?
What is Cultural Competency
Cultural competency includes an ability to work with people from all cultural identities in a way that promotes respect and dignity. Another view of Cultural Another view of Cultural Competency
The process of cultural competency means that
The a person learns to recognize and reject his or her preexisting beliefs about a culture, focuses
on understanding information provided by individuals within the context at hand, and
foregoes the temptation to classify or label persons with cultural misinformation. Yet, another view of Cultural Yet, another view of Cultural Competency “Cultural competence is the ability to engage in
actions or create conditions that maximize the
optimal development of client and client systems.
It is the acquisition of awareness, knowledge, and
skills needed to function effectively in a pluralistic
democratic society (ability to communicate,
interact, negotiate, and intervene on behalf of
clients from diverse backgrounds), and on an
organizational/societal level, advocating effectively
to develop new theories, practices, policies and
organizational structures that are more responsive
to all groups.”
to What is a Culturally Competent Social What is a Culturally Competent Social Worker who works with children and families? Culturally competent social workers recognize similarities and differences in the values, norms, customs, history, and institutions of groups of people that vary by ethnicity, gender, religion, and sexual orientation. They recognize sources of comfort and discomfort between themselves and clients of similar or different cultural backgrounds. They understand the impact of discrimination, oppression, and stereotyping on practice. They recognize their own biases toward or against certain cultural groups. L. Poole, Politically Correct or Culturally Competent , Health and Social Work, p. 164. BECOMING CULTURALLY
l. Having all of us become culturally aware of
our own values, biases and assumptions about
– What stereotypes, perceptions, and beliefs do we hold about culturally
diverse groups that may hinder our ability to form a helpful and
– What are the worldviews they bring to the interpersonal encounter?
What value systems are inherent in the professional’s theory of
helping, educating, administrating, and what values underlie the
strategies and techniques used in these situations?
– Without such an awareness and understanding, we may inadvertently
assume that everyone shares our world view. When this happens, we
may become guilty of cultural oppression, imposing values on our
culturally diverse clients.
culturally BECOMING CULTURALLY
2. Having all of us acquire knowledge and
understanding of the worldview of culturally
diverse groups and individuals.
– What biases, values and assumptions about human
behavior do these groups hold?
– Is there such a thing as an African American, Asian
American, Latino(a)/Hispanic American or American
Indian worldview? Do other culturally different groups
(women, the physically challenged, gays/lesbians, etc.)
also have different world views?
also BECOMING CULTURALLY
3. Having each of us begin the process of
developing appropriate and effective helping,
teaching, communication and intervention
strategies in working with culturally diverse
groups and individuals.
– This means prevention as well as remediation approaches,
and systems intervention as well as traditional one-to-one
– Equally important is the ability to make use of existing
indigenous-helping/healing approaches and structures
which may already exist in the minority community.
which BECOMING CULTURALLY
4. Understanding how organizational and
institutional forces may either enhance or
negate the development of multicultural
– It does little good for any of us to be culturally competent when the
very organization that employs us are filled with monocultural policies
– In many cases, organizational customs do not value or allow the use of
cultural knowledge or skills. Some organizations may even actively
discourage, negate, or punish multicultural expressions. Thus, it is
imperative to view multicultural competence for organizations as well.
– Developing new rules, regulations, policies, practices, and structures
within organizations which enhance multiculturalism are important.
within Implications for Social Work
Implications Realize that you are a product of cultural conditioning and that
you are not immune from inheriting biases associated with
culturally diverse groups in our society
culturally Be aware that persons of color, gays/lesbians, women, and
other groups may perceive mental illness/health and the
healing process differently than do Euro-Americans
healing Be aware that Euro-American healing standards originate from
a cultural context and represent only one form of helping that
exists on an equal plane with others
exists Realize that the concept of cultural competence is more
inclusive and superordinate than is the traditional definition of
“clinical competence”. Strategies of Cultural Competency
Strategies of Cultural Competency Use actions, as well as attitudes, that seek to facilitate empowerment.
Facilitate the involvement of diverse cultural groups and communities.
Be committed to inclusion and building relationships. Be committed to community outreach.
Recognize the need for legitimacy, acceptance and credibility within all cultural groups and communities. Strategies of Cultural Competency
Strategies of Cultural Competency Identify one's own norms, attitudes, values, practices, knowledge, understanding, and beliefs regarding one's culture of origin and all diverse cultural groups in the community. Be committed to learning about other cultural groups and communities. Questions to Solicit Information
Concerning How does the culture/client define problems?
What are the culture’s/client’s ideas about roles, norms,
What are the culture’s/client’s child-rearing practices?
What is the culture’s/client’s family structure like?
How does the culture/client get help? From whom?
How does the culture/client view help-seeking behavior? Cultural Competency Issues
Cultural Competency Issues How much personal/social time do I spend with people who are culturally similar and dissimilar from me?
When I am with culturally different people, do I reflect my own cultural preferences or do I spend the time openly learning about the unique aspects of another person’s culture?
How comfortable am I in immersion experiences, especially when I am in a numerical minority? What feelings and behaviors do I experience or exhibit in this situation? Cultural Competency Issues (cont.)
Cultural Competency Issues (cont.) To what extent have I nondefensively extended myself in approaching professional colleagues with the goal of bridging cultural differences?
Am I willing to discontinue representing myself as knowledgeable and as having expertise in area of cultural diversity that I have not actually achieved?
If I am unwilling to commit to a path leading to cultural competence, will I take the moral and ethical high ground and discontinue providing services to people I am unwilling to learn about? Cultural Competency Issues
Cultural Competency Issues How much time do I spend engaged in crosscultural professional exchanges? Is this time spent in superficial, cordial activity or do I undertake the risk of engaging in serious discourses that might divulge my fears and lack of knowledge?
How much work have I actually done to increase my knowledge and understanding of culturally and ethnically different groups? What are my competencies and deficiencies regarding cultural issues?
What is my commitment to becoming culturally competent? What are Microaggressions?
What Microaggressions are “brief, everyday exchanges that
send denigrating messages” to a target group like
people of color, women and Gays
These microaggressions are often subtle in nature and
can be manifested in the verbal, nonverbal, visual, or
behavioral realm and are often enacted automatically
and unconsciously (Solorzano, Ceja, & Yosso, 2000)
and Overt vs. Covert Oppression
Overt Racism, Sexism, and Heterosexism
Covert Racism, Sexism, and Heterosexism
Microassault Blatant verbal, nonverbal or environmental
Blatant attack intended to convey discriminatory and
biased sentiments (e.g. epithets like “spic” or
Microinsult Unintentional behaviors or verbal comments
Unintentional that convey rudeness, insensitivity or demean a
person’s racial heritage/identity, gender
identity, or sexual orientation identity (e.g.
Arnold Schwartzenegger calling Democrats,
Microinvalidation Verbal comments or behaviors that exclude,
Verbal negate, or dismiss the psychological thoughts,
feelings, or experiential reality of the target
group (e.g. “the most qualified person should
get the job”)
get Categories and Relationship of Racial Microaggressions Racial Microaggressions
Commonplace verbal or behavioral indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile,
derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults. Microinsult (Often Unconscious) Behavioral/verbal remarks or comments that convey rudeness, insensitivity and demean a person’s racial heritage or identity. Microassault (Often Conscious) Explicit racial derogations characterized primarily by a violent verbal or nonverbal attack meant to hurt the intended victim through namecalling, avoidant behavior or purposeful discriminatory actions Microinvalidation
(Often Unconscious) Verbal comments or behaviors that exclude, negate, or nullify the psychological thoughts, feelings, or experiential reality of a person of color. Environmental Microaggressions Ascription of Intelligence
Assigning a degree of intelligence to a person of
color based on their race. Second Class Citizen
Treated as a lesser person or group. Pathologizing cultural
Notion that the values and communication styles
of people of color are abnormal Assumption of Criminal status
Presumed to be a criminal, dangerous, or
deviant based on race. (Macrolevel) Racial assaults, insults and invalidations which are manifested on systemic and environmental levels. Alien in Own Land Belief that visible racial/ethnic minority
citizens are foreigners. Color Blindness Denial or pretense that a White person does
not see color or race. Myth of Meritocracy Statements which assert that race plays a
minor role in life success. Denial of Individual Racism Denial of personal racism or one’s role in its
perpetuation. Implications of Microaggressions
Implications Clients of color tend to terminate prematurely
Clients or are purposefully difficult
or Microaggresions my lie at the core of the
problem Social worker must be credible Effective practice is likely to occur when there
is a strong working alliance
is WHAT IS RACIAL/CULTURAL
Importance 1. Understanding Within Group Differences 2. Influence of Racism and Oppression on Identity
Formation 3. Assessment Tool 4. Intervention Implications RACIAL IDENTITY ASSUMPTIONS
RACIAL 1. Racism is a basic and integral part of U.S. life and
permeates all aspects of our culture and institutions. 2. Persons of color are socialized into U.S. society and,
therefore, are exposed to the biases, stereotypes, and racist
attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors of the society.
attitudes, 3. The level of racial identity development consciousness
affects the process and outcome of interracial interactions. RACIAL IDENTITY ASSUMPTIONS
RACIAL 4. How people of color perceive themselves as racial beings seems to be
strongly correlated with how they perceive and respond to racial stimuli.
Consequently, race-related reality represent major differences in how they
view the world. 5. It seems to follow an identifiable sequence. There is an assumption that
people of color who are born and raised in the United States, may move
through levels of consciousness regarding their own identity as racial
beings. 6. The most desirable development is a multicultural identity that does not
deny or negate one’s integrity.
deny Five Levels of Consciousness
Five 1. Conformity 2. Dissonance 3. Resistance and Immersion 4. Introspection 5. Integrative Awareness Self/Other Perceptions
1. Attitude and Beliefs toward Self.
2. Attitudes and Beliefs toward Members of the Same Minority.
3. Attitudes and Beliefs toward Members of Different
4. Attitude and Beliefs toward Members of the Dominant Group. PHASE 1 - CONFORMITY
PHASE Marked by desire to assimilate and acculturate – buys in to the
melting pot analogy.
melting Accepts belief in White superiority and minority inferiority. Unconscious and conscious desire to escape one’s own racial
heritage. Validation comes from a White perspective. Role models, lifestyles, and value systems all follow the
CONFORMITY Physical and cultural characteristics identified with one ’s own
racial/cultural group are perceived negatively, something to be avoided,
denied, or changed. Physical characteristics (black skin color, “slant-shaped eyes” of Asians),
traditional modes of dress and appearance, and behavioral characteristics
associated with the minority group are a source of shame. There may be attempts to mimic what is perceived as “White
mannerisms”, speech patterns, dress, and goals. Low internal self-esteem is characteristic of the person.
CONFORMITY These individuals may have internalized the majority
of White stereotypes about their group. In the case of
Hispanics, for example, the person may believe that
members of his or her own group have high rates of
unemployment because “they are lazy, uneducated,
and unintelligent.” The denial mechanism most commonly used is “I’m
not like them; I’ve made it on my own; I’m the
CONFORMITY Belief that White cultural, social, institutional standards are superior.
Members of the dominant group are admired, respected, and emulated.
White people are believed to possess superior intelligence. Some individuals may go to great lengths to appear White. In the
Autobiography of Malcolm X, the main character would straighten his hair
and primarily date White women.
and Reports that Asian women have undergone surgery to reshape their eyes to
conform to White female standards of beauty may (but not in all cases)
typify this dynamic.
typify PHASE 2 - DISSONANCE
PHASE Breakdown of denial system. Encounters information discordant with previous beliefs in the
conformity Dominant-held views of minority strengths and weaknesses
begin to be questioned.
begin Begins to realize that attempts to assimilate or acculturate may
not be fully allowed by larger society.
DISSONANCE There is now a growing sense of personal
There awareness that racism does exist, that not all
aspects of the minority or majority culture are
good or bad, and that one cannot escape one’s
cultural heritage. Feelings of shame and pride are mixed in the
Feelings individual and a sense of conflict develops. PHASE 3 – RESISTANCE AND
IMMERSION “Why should I feel ashamed of who and what I am?” Begins to understand social-psychological forces associated
with prejudice and discrimination.
with Extreme anger at perceived cultural oppression. May be an active rejection of the dominant society and
culture. Members of the dominant group viewed with suspicion. RESISTANCE AND IMMERSION
RESISTANCE The minority individual at this stage is oriented toward self-discovery of
one’s own history and culture. There is an active seeking out of
information and artifacts that enhance that person’s sense of identity and
worth. Cultural and racial characteristics that once elicited feelings of shame and
disgust become symbols of pride and honor. The individual moves into this
stage primarily because he or she asks the question, “Why should I be
ashamed of who and what I am?” Phrases such as “Black is beautiful,” represent a symbolic relabeling of
identity for many Blacks. Racial self-hatred becomes something actively
rejected in favor of the other extreme, which is unbridled racial pride.
rejected RESISTANCE AND IMMERSION
RESISTANCE There is a feeling of connectedness with other members of the
racial and cultural group and a strengthening of new identity
begins to occur. Members of one’s group are admired,
respected, and often viewed now as the new reference group
or ideal. Cultural values of the minority group are accepted
without question. As indicated, the pendulum swings drastically from original
identification with White ways to identification in an
unquestioning manner with the minority-group’s ways.
Persons in this stage, are likely to restrict their interactions as
much as possible to members of their own group.
much RESISTANCE AND IMMERSION
RESISTANCE There is also considerable anger and hostility directed toward
White society. There is a feeling of distrust and dislike for all
members of the dominant group in an almost global antimembers
White demonstration and feeling.
White White people, for example, are not to be trusted for they are
the oppressors or enemies. In extreme form, members may
advocate complete destruction of the institutions and
structures that have been characteristic of White society.
structures PHASE 4 - INTROSPECTION
PHASE Increased discomfort with rigidly help group views (i.e., all
Whites are bad).
Whites Too much energies directed at White society and diverted
from more positive exploration of identity questions.
from Conflict ensures between notions of responsibility and
allegiance to one’s minority group, and notions of personal
autonomy. Attempts to understand one’s cultural heritage and to develop
an integrated identity.
INTROSPECTION The conflict now becomes quite great in terms of
responsibility and allegiance to one’s own minority
group versus notions of personal independence and
autonomy. The person begins to spend greater and greater time
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- Fall '11
- The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Cultural Competency, dominant group, cultural competency issues