Monday, March 8, 2010

"At least half of the exercise I get everyday comes from jumping to conclusions."

No, I’m not referring to Office Space (although that is one hell of a great movie). This quote was presented to me in a Cultural Competency training today, and it really stuck. We all have personal biases, and make stereotypes, assumptions, and generalizations about people different from us. The culturally competent worker recognizes this about him/herself and works to push those pieces of themselves to the side, and fully respect the person, accept their differences and learn more about them.

Cultural Competency is the new buzz word. It is so very important in today’s world, where globalization is bringing all walks of life together in personal and professional situations. It is of utmost importance that professionals working directly with people – health care providers, social service providers, etc. really grasp and apply this concept in order to be effective at their job.

The elements that we need to follow:

  1. Awareness of one’s own culture (and of other’s)
  2. Understanding the dynamics of differences
  3. Awareness and acceptance of differences
  4. Development of cultural knowledge
  5. Celebration of diversity

As we say in Social Work – START WHERE THE CLIENT IS. Ask questions! Don’t assume you know what is best for that client. What is best for you might be downright offensive and ridiculous to another. How would they solve a problem? How do they cope with life’s difficulties? What is their perspective of the problem?

It all starts with the person. And no one person is the same. So leave the generalizations at home. Be open and respect diversity. We need to realize that we are all human, but we all bring a great uniqueness to the table, which makes us all very interesting. Ignorance is where conflict arises. You don't have to agree with someone's way of life, but respecting and accepting that is how they live THEIR life, would make the world one hell of a better place.

No comments:

Post a Comment