Multicultural Competency is a concept whose time has come! Individuals in our culture today, whether they work in companies that employ several ethnic groups, a church that offers services to people from various cultures, or schools that have students from foreign countries and English is their second language, the United States must make an all-out effort to educate White citizens to understand and welcome people from other ethnic and cultural groups.
Research shows that by the year 2045, the United States will be over the cusp of having more citizens who are multicultural than White. In many areas of our country, we have already attained this demographic.
What we have done to prepare our White citizens to become welcoming of multicultural citizens and residents to our country has clearly been inadequate. Referring to your organization's 'Diversity Program' is simply not enough. From what we are seeing in our country at this time, we are not doing well at achieving multicultural competency. We are not expected to become experts on every culture, but we must have an understanding of geography, the journey immigrants have made to come to the United States, and the struggles these new residents and citizens have experienced throughout their immigration to the United States.
The term "white privilege" is a divisive term and is not used in the academic literature. It is simply not there, and yet it is bantered about as if it describes the perception White citizens have in relation to multicultural residents and citizens or to describe the perception multicultural citizens or residents have of what White people hold over them.
It is time - in fact, it is clearly past time - to address this issue. We MUST become multiculturally competent and we must do it now. Time is of the essence, as we can clearly see.
This topic was the focus of my Dissertation for my Doctorate in Educational Leadership. I have created a day-long training for companies, schools, and churches to teach the importance of multicultural competency and to help participants to begin to address this issue.
Please contact me for more information regarding this day of training.
email@example.com; 651-208-9829, Find me on LinkedIn.
January 11, 2021 - Becoming Multiculturally Competent
Multicultural competency is important because we are not expected to become experts on all of the cultures that have come to the United States in the past 50 years – and they have come to the USA from all over the world! They have brought their culture, their religious practices, their child-rearing and educational practices, their language, and their values. The United States has not become the “melting pot” that it did in the 1850s, when there was another great immigration to the United States from primarily countries of Europe. Today, the cultures that have immigrated to America represent countries all over the world, from nearly every continent, and these immigrants want to keep the above-mentioned aspects of their previous culture and also become American citizens.
What must we do to become multiculturally competent? We could begin by looking at a world map and locating the countries of just the immigrants we have met in the past six months. What if we each began with that task? Few could find out where they came from and ask them about their immigration process. We could also ask them about how they learned English, one of the most difficult languages to learn. Taking time to be educated is a key factor in becoming multiculturally competent.
January 14, 2021: Develop an Open Mind Mentality
Choosing to engage in a difficult dialogue (Toporek & Worthington, 2014) is so much more positive than simply making an assumption and deciding to “go with it.” When we do that, we diminish the possibility of real understanding. We are invited in the United States, and in our world at this time, to create an openness for all to be heard. It is time. When we continue to place people who have a different skin color, different cultural mores, or religious beliefs that challenge our own, we tacitly agree to maintain a divided world. However, when we make the effort to understand their point of view or their perspective on life, it is a beginning. We will not resolve all of the world’s problems when we smile at someone who is not expecting our friendliness, because all they were expecting was more judgment, but it is a beginning. Take time and challenge yourself today on your assumptions and beliefs. If you can, enter into a difficult dialogue with someone who is different in some way than you, or with someone who is like you. And when you do, try to remain open and receptive to what you hear or perceive. Approach the situation with an open mind and receive what happens.
January 15, 2021 Be a trustworthy person today
Do all you can today to bring peace to your world. Be a trustworthy person to everyone you meet – let them see they can trust you to remain calm and quiet during this time of unrest and potential danger. As the inauguration approaches, be a person of peace. Bring compassion and kindness to everyone in your path today and act with integrity in all you say, all you write. In every message you convey or pass on, choose peace today.
January 16, 2021 - Developing CQ
Becoming a culturally intelligent person will not happen in a box nor will it happen overnight. We do not naturally develop cultural intelligence. Rather, we must intentionally place ourselves in situations that challenge our perspective and worldview as we experience potential discomfort. We move through that discomfort and understand our bias, which is not something we are born with, but rather we acquired, which means we can challenge it and change it.
Becoming a culturally intelligent person is much like lifting weights: you don’t start with the 30- pound dumbbells. You begin with the five-pound weights and let your muscles grow. However, if you never go to a gym, your muscles will never develop and become stronger. As it is with cultural intelligence: you have to place yourself in situations that allow you to grow culturally. What can you do today to challenge your cultural worldview?
January 17, 2021 Increasing Social Capital by Lifting Everyone Up
One of the key aspects of a person who lives a good and righteous life if that they lift everyone up. They do not hold some people down so that they can feel better about themselves or more secure. Do you remember the popular kids in junior high or middle school? Their popularity usually depended on everyone liking them, which meant they often had to compromise their values and become what other people expected them to be. They gave up authenticity to gain popularity. They often also maintained their popularity by excluding those kids who were authentic and true to who they were because they felt threatened. In many ways, that is happening in our culture at this time.
In order for someone to feel good and secure about themselves and their life, they must help lift everyone up. They must provide social capital, or according to an online dictionary, they must create networks of relationships among people who live and work in a particular society, enabling that society will function effectively. Everyone must function effectively or society will not function effectively. Some people don’t get to “win” at the expense of others “losing.” Social capital provides winning for everyone. Be a person who increases the social capital for everyone today. Let’s all make this effort to change society.
Monday, January 18, 2021 MLK Day
Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and it is day we must all recognize as a day to change our attitudes for a lifetime. This is politically incorrect, but White people are called to multicultural competency in all of our relationships – with people who are Black, Latino, Native American, and all immigrants to the United States.
WE are all descendants from immigrants – even Native Americans, whose ancestors walked across the land bridge from Asia to Alaska. We must make room – physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and academically – for everyone to flourish and thrive.
We do not thrive as a country unless everyone thrives. We must work to support and encourage all people to be the best of themselves and we can do that by seeing others and encouraging them. Work on becoming multiculturally competent today. Do one small thing to increase your awareness, your sensitivity, your responsiveness, and your humility to make everyone feel welcome.
January 19, 2021 Multicultural Competency and Self-Evaluation
It is vital that we each enter into a process of self-evaluation and the messages we have been taught about one another and whether they are true or not. We may also ask what purpose creating animosity between people could possibly serve! If creating animosity serves suspicion, negativity, and division, why would we ever continue to support such a message? Let each one of us become independent thinkers today. Question what you have been taught and use self-evaluation and decide for yourself what you believe is right. Do not simply take another person’s message. Be discerning. Be open. Be a better person in every way today.
January 20, 2021 Multicultural Competency and Creating a World of Peace
H. Smith (as cited in Hays, 2008) states that to be a humble person is “to regard oneself in the company of others as one, but not more than one” (p. 21). Isn’t this an interesting concept: we are one person but we do not occupy more space, whether intellectually, emotionally, physically or metaphysically, or spiritually than one person. We do not have the freedom to diminish another person’s personhood. And why would we have ever believed that occupying more space than was rightfully ours would create a peaceful world?!
I think we must all ask ourselves if we want a peaceful world. And if we respond yes, then we must do all we can to help create that world. It will not evolve on its own – it is created by our efforts and our deep desire for peace.
Thursday, January 21, 2021 Judgments and Multicultural Competency
Judgment is such a common human experience and is what we do to categorize people. It is the reasoning we use to screen out people who we feel or believe threaten us or our views or beliefs. Rather than willingly entering into a discussion with people whose reasoning is different from ours, we make judgments about them and diminish their voice so that we are free to return to our own way of thinking and believing. Toporek and Worthington (2014) challenge us to have the courage to enter into difficult dialogues with people who are different from us in some way. Doing so requires that we suspend our judgments and any reactions we have to the people of difference and sit down with them. Or perhaps we sit down with someone who is like us and we talk about the difficulties we have about something and remain calm and open-minded. We are often so afraid of offending someone, or being offended, that we remain in our little, private, safe world and remain content with the judgments we assess toward others. What can you do today to challenge yourself and your judgments?
Friday, January 22, 2021 Develop Your Cultural Intelligence (CQ) Today
Ang and Van Dyne (2015) state “those with high CQ will have more effective performance and adjustment in multicultural work groups, study abroad programs, and expatriate assignments” (p. 10). Developing a higher CQ will not happen without our concerted efforts to close the gap between the many cultures that exist in the United States and across the globe. We are a world that is highly connected and influenced by events that happen on a daily basis. We must do all we can to become as culturally literate as we are able, so that we develop mutual respect for one another. This task is assigned to each one of us and we must all do something each day to increase our CQ.
What is one small thing you could do today to become more culturally literate?
Saturday, January 23, 2021 Multicultural Competency and Seeing Beyond Differences
As human beings, we identify differences to help keep ourselves safe, and safety is all the brain is interested in. In fact, our brain is wired to worry, because it is worry, or being cautious, not carefree, that will keep us alive in dangerous situations. However, the brain can also misread situations as dangerous when there is no danger.
This often happens in the case of difference. When we see someone who is different from us, our brain sends a message to be cautious. (And actually, it is our body that starts that process. I am a therapist and this process is called the Polyvagal Theory.) Nevertheless, our body sends a message to our brain that there may be danger ahead and we need to be careful. This message then causes our body and brain to react and we experience fear. Remembering to breathe and talk back to this fear-inducing message will help us see beyond our differences. And if there is danger, our brain is now more alert to respond appropriately, whether we need to be cautious or more open and responsive to the situation.
Sunday, January 24, 2021 Multicultural Competency and Immersion Experiences
Immersion experiences (Barden, Shannonhouse, & Mobley (2015) are essential to help us understand our brothers and sisters who have any kind of quality that is different from our own. That may be skin color, ethnicity, or culture – we must willingly experience this difference and these individual in their own environment so we may develop an appreciation for who they are, as well as their story. It is the story of their life that will ideally impress itself upon us and elicit compassion and caring. So today, in some way, see how you can place yourself in an environment that may be unfamiliar, and perhaps uncomfortable. Tap into your curiosity and inquisitiveness. Be open to the journey of others and you will find yourself becoming more familiar with your own story. It is through our shared humanity that we will enter into immersion experiences with others and will prove to be most important.
January 25, 2021 Multicultural Competency and Non-verbal cultural messages
According to Hall, (as cited in Van Dyne, Ang, and Koh, 2015), “non-verbal behaviors are especially critical because they function as a ‘silent language’ that conveys meaning in subtle and covert ways” (p. 17). Are we aware of the silent language we use each day when we see a person who is different from us in some way? Do we develop a scowl? Do we look away? Do we in some way express to the person, or persons, our disapproval of them or their lifestyle because we are uncomfortable?
Take time today to think about your cultural awareness and sensitivity and whether you have a difficult time accepting the differences in others. We all have the opportunity to make the world a better, more loving environment for all.
Think about your ‘silent language’ and whether you would want to be on the receiving end of the messages you are sending to others. Think about the times others have sent silent messages of disapproval to you and how that felt. Without question, those messages are intended to tell us the person disapproves of us, our lifestyle, our approach to life, or some other unknown bias or prejudice of which we are unaware. We only know the sting of condemnation and the lasting effect it can impose on our approach to life.
January 26, 2021 Multicultural Competency and High Behavioral CQ
Individuals with high Behavioral CQ (Cultural Intelligence) “are flexible and can adjust their behaviors to the specifics of each cultural interaction” (Ang & Van Dyne, 2015, p. 7). The key to developing high Behavioral CQ is learning to think in situations that might otherwise cause us to question what is happening, which may elicit a response of stepping back rather than stepping forward. When we are uncertain or afraid, our body goes in to dissociation mode, which is fight, flight, or freeze. This response sends messages to our brain that something which may cause us harm is ahead. Rather than generating curiosity, such a response more typically enhances fear. This fear then impedes our ability to develop high Behavioral CQ because we stepped back, rather than forward.
Do something today to challenge your conceptions and step forward, managing any anxiety that might arise, due to uncertainty or fear.
January 27, 2021 Multicultural Competency and Creating a Shared Vision
Creating a Shared Vision for human flourishing for every human being in our country at this time, as well as our world, requires that we develop a new way of seeing ourselves and others. When we truly desire the good for everyone – ourselves and everyone else – our actions will look different than if we are ‘in this for ourselves.’ Living in peace with others, especially others who are different from us in some way, is one of the most challenging things we will ever do. Jesus’ vision of the Kingdom of God was that it was not only a future reality, but a present one, as well. This is called ‘Realized Eschatology,’ which simply means that the His Kingdom is in our midst at this time. What can you do today to bring the Kingdom to the Earth?
January 28, 2021 Multicultural Competency and Ethnorelativity
When we have had to face struggles in life, we have the opportunity to be more understanding and empathic when we hear about the struggles of others. We are able to move out of an ethnocentric worldview and enter into an ethnorelative worldview. This is profoundly important if we hope to address the gap that exists between cultures in the United States and around the world. If we can remember that we are part of the human race (as Ms. Bartell said: “There is only one race – the human race!!”), we can focus on our common humanity and not the differences that exist. There will always be differences – we must focus on the similarities. Choose to be a good human today. Choose ethnorelativity, rather than ethnocentricity, at least one time today.
January 30, 2021 Multicultural Competency and Understanding Geography
When was the last time you took a geography class? Do you know where the countries of the world are located on a world map from which our most recent immigrants to the United States have come? These countries would be Somalia, which is located in eastern Africa. Immigrants who are Hmong were originally from Laos and they assisted the CIA in the Secret War in North Vietnam during the Vietnam War of the 1960s and 1970s. They moved to Thailand into refugee camps to live temporarily until they were sponsored to come to the United States, often by churches. Hispanic people have come to the United States, mostly from Mexico and the seven countries of Central America and they would prefer to be referred to by their ethnicity, rather than Hispanic, which is an academic term. And Indian Asians have come to the United States from India, and are often very well-educated and prepared to take advantage of the many educational and economic opportunities found in America. Take a moment today and find a world map on your device and locate these countries, and when you meet an immigrant from one of these countries, you will be more informed.
January 30, 2021 Multicultural Competency and CQ Talk
CQ Talk is “an individual’s deliberate verbal and nonverbal behavior during an evolving intercultural interaction that allows the individual to find out what needs to be learned” (Rogers, 2015, p. 250). Cultural Intelligence (CQ) Talk encourages us to remain standing in the conversation when we feel uncomfortable or have the desire to step back and move away from the interaction. If we can allow ourselves to face the fact that intercultural interactions will likely make us feel uncomfortable, and that being uncomfortable is part of the process of developing Cultural Intelligence, we will develop the emotional muscle to handle the discomfort the CQ Talk facilitates within us. Be brave today. Step forward, rather than back, when you feel uncomfortable during interactions that may cause you discomfort. Believe in your ability to manage the anxiety that arises from these interactions and work to develop multicultural competency.
January 31, 2021 Multicultural Competency and Our Common Humanity
I was at the grocery store yesterday and trying to open one of those pesky, little plastic bags to put some brussels sprouts in it and there was another patron, a black man, struggling with a pesky bag, as well. I said to him, “Oh, these bags! It’s not making life easier for me!” He laughed and agreed. I said to him, “You know, we have focus on our common humanity, not on what separates us.” He looked at me so surprised (with his mask on, of course!) and said, “Yes!” and gave me a big ‘thumbs up.’ Obviously, we did not solve the world’s problems at a vegetable counter in a grocery store, but we both acknowledged that there is more we have in common as two human beings, one male and one female, one black and one white, one young and one old(er), than what divides us. Look today to find ways to bridge the gap of difference between yourself and others. Allow yourself to see and celebrate your common humanity.
February 1, 2021 Multicultural Competency and Mutual Salvation
When I was at the Seminary in the early 1990s, a newsletter was given to us and one of the quotes has touched me for these past near-30 years. I will paraphrase this quote, which stated: if you have come to help me, leave me be. If your salvation is tied up with mine, stay and we will find it together. Paulo Freire, Brazilian educator states “critical and liberating dialogue, which presupposes action, must be carried out with the oppressed at whatever the stage of their struggle for liberation” (p. 47). What are we doing to advocate for those in need? We must be willing to see the struggles and become aware of the needs of the oppressed, allowing our common humanity to be touched through becoming sensitive to the struggles they share, before we will be able to critically respond with compassion. In our response, we will find ourselves touched by the struggle, as well as humbled, entering into the struggle with them. It is a human struggle to find common ground and to advocate for freedom and respect for all persons, thereby moving forward together as a human family.
February 2, 2021 Multicultural Competency and Difference
Why is difference threatening? It may be because our brains were designed to keep us safe, and when it detects something that is different, rather than categorizing it as interesting, it categorizes it as cautionary. When we are cautious, the expression on our face changes, often registering dislike. It is this look that can activate another person’s cautionary brain mechanism and cause them to respond with caution, rather than curiosity, as well. This is referred to as ‘being triggered’ and it activates the gut-brain connection, setting off a body and brain response that causes us to step back rather than to step forward.
What if today, when your brain detects difference, you take a deep breath and give yourself a split of a second to process that difference, rather than to allow it to set off the normal gut-brain connection? In that brief split of a second, you will give yourself the opportunity to gauge whether there is an actual threat or not. Trust yourself that you will have time to get to safety if an actual threat exists. And if no threat is present, you have just given yourself a moment in time to make a decision that could welcome difference and change your life, as well as someone else’s.
February 3, 2021 Multicultural Competency and Adolescents
Adolescents who were born to immigrants to the United States in the past 50 years are caught between two worlds. They learned two languages from birth: their native tongue spoken at home and English spoken at school. Their families expect them to make the family proud by earning good grades, staying out of trouble, and attaining a level of success not often expected of their White counterparts. In other words, they face a great deal of pressure.
If you have contact with adolescents who have an ethnicity different than the White culture they are expected to fit into, and are expected to draw no attention to themselves that would reflect poorly on their family or their culture, be aware of the pressures they experience. Take time to talk with them and encourage them to talk about these pressures. The research shows that multicultural adolescents experience more violence in the school setting, leading to a higher risk of depression and suicidal ideation.
Reach out today to check on the multicultural adolescents in your world and offer them your support and encouragement. Be a positive factor for change in their world.
February 4, 2021 Multicultural Competency and Immigration
We are all descendants from immigrants to the United States and we all have an immigration story in our history, whether we know that story or not. For most immigrants to this country, that story involves challenge, heartache, and disappointment, as well as the hope of a fresh start and opportunity. No matter the immigration story we hold in our history or in our current state, this story always involves the task of relocating to a new country that often requires a very steep learning curve. Many, if not all, of our previous conceptions are brought into question and we must face a new way of doing things, to which we bring this prior knowledge, as well as our courage to handle the new experiences well.
Do something to help a person of a different ethnicity today and help them feel welcome in the United States. If it is a person whose ancestors have been in the United States for a few decades or a few centuries, let them know you see them and their pain of perhaps not belonging. There is an aching feeling if you believe you don’t belong because others may be threatened by your existence alongside them. Be a person of peace today.
February 5, 2021 Multicultural Competency and Immigration and Citizenship
Becoming a United States citizen requires a process of education and acceptance of the requirements our country presents to each immigrant. The process usually takes between six months to a year and requires that a person can speak and read English, as well as pass a test, demonstrating they understand the history of the United States and are a person of good moral character. Of course, during these turbulent times, this process has become much more lengthy and fear-producing for people who have green cards and are waiting for their citizenship review to begin. In addition, the cost of immigration is $725 for each person, which means that a family that has come to the United States must often work several jobs to pay for living expenses and save to pay this fee. Furthermore, it’s not uncommon to see these individuals participating in ESL (English as a Second Language) and citizenship classes, in addition to working and raising their families. And yet, those of us who had the privilege to be born in the United States often do not realize the struggle that legal immigration requires. You can find more information about citizenship at https://www.uscis.gov/citizenship/learn-about-citizenship/10-steps-to-naturalization.
February 8, 2021 Multicultural Competency and Social Capital
The idea of social capital for every person should seem like a simple, foregone conclusion of what we can expect from life – or at least SHOULD expect. But what if the included group believes it has the right to withhold social capital, which is defined as “the connections among individuals, the social networks and the norms of reciprocity and trustworthiness that arise from them” (Andriani, A., 2013; Claridge, T., 2017).
Have we created, and ARE we creating, social networks that provide reciprocity and trustworthiness for every individual, based on their personhood? And if we are not, could we ask ourselves why not? What if each individual was to live with idea that providing social capital for others would help us increase our own social capital? This is the essence of shalom: we only have shalom when we provide it for others and when we all have shalom.
The definition of shalom is not “no war,” but the provision of social capital for everyone. What if we each did something today, however small, to provide social capital for someone who has less that we have? Let’s create a world of peace today.
February 9, 2021 Multicultural Competency and Strength-Based Narratives
Strength-based narratives encourage individuals to identify stories in their life that provide evidence of success and happiness. Restorative narratives speak to an individual’s strengths and help them develop depth, sustainability, and meaning in life (Tenore, 2016). Encourage everyone in your life today to see moments of success. We all focus on moments of failure and shame – the times things did not work as planned. That is our brain doing what it does – focuses on the negative – to help us be cautious and keep us safe. We have to focus on and engage happiness and strength narratives because the brain does not send us those messages automatically. Do all you can today to encourage others to see moments of success in life and focus on those moments. Help them develop depth, sustainability, and find meaning in life.
February 10, 2021 Multicultural Competency and Taking Social Initiative
Social Initiative in our culture is defined as “a strategic plan of action born from beyond the call of duty, realized through passion, diligence, and a genuine concern for the enrichment of communities and the common good” (Quinn, as cited in Walsh-Soucheray, 2019). We must each ask ourselves if we are contributing to the social initiative of our culture through the actions we take – not through duty – but through passion, diligence, and genuine concern for the common good of our community.
If we will each do something today to contribute to the common good, by helping another human being to feel seen and appreciated, we will have participated in social initiative. Take a moment to ask an Asian person if they have an Asian name, as well as if it has a specific meaning. Smile at someone who may not expect it. Offer to help someone in need rather than walking past them.
Take a moment today to improve our world, one human interaction at a time.
February 11, 2021 Multicultural Competency and Prejudice
Prejudice is defined as “a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience” (New Oxford American Dictionary, 2017). When we are working to improve our multicultural competency, we are revealing our willingness to examine our preconceived opinions that we realize in some part of ourselves are not reasonable or based on actual experience. Children are typically not prejudiced, because they have not formed negative opinions of others who are different. They just want to play with someone, and no matter the other child’s skin color, cultural dress, or language spoken, they are just another child. Children don’t see difference. Adults see difference and judge that difference, oftentimes forming prejudices of those who are different. What can you do today to understand your preconceived opinions of others and challenge them?
February 12, 2021 Multicultural Competency and Becoming Agents of Change (APA, 2002)
Becoming an “agent of change” requires that we understand we each have responsibility to help make our world better and more amenable to everyone to live in peace. But what does that mean? It means that everyone should be respected for their humanity and not excluded for any reason. Those who exclude must look at themselves and ask why they need to exclude others to feel good about themselves. The answer they will likely receive, if they are honest, is that the person who is different makes them feel uncomfortable or insecure.
Let each one of us evaluate how we treat others and be open to what we see in ourselves. Do we exclude others because they make us feel uncomfortable? Do we exclude others because the difference is something we don’t want to address or deal with? If we want to be an “agent of change” in our world today, we must address our own discomfort and be open to growth.
February 14, 2021 Multicultural Competency and Critical Thinking
Critical Thinking, according to Pamela Hays is revealed through our willingness to develop our “ability to identify and challenge assumptions [one’s own as well as those of others], examine contextual influences [on one’s own thinking, too], and imagine and explore alternatives” (Brookfield, as cited in Hays, 2008, p. 29). How willing are we to challenge our thinking critically and to ask ourselves if the assumptions we have made about others are correct? To think critically is a sign of a mature adult. Think about your assumptions and challenge them in some way today.
February 15, 2021 Multicultural Competency and Mental Health Concerns
For many multicultural individuals living in the Unites States, mental health is a real concern. Due to “the rapidly changing United States culture, technology, the current political climate, as well as world-wide terrorism, has often affected the views Americans hold of citizens from certain areas of the world” (Friedersdorf, 2016, as cited in Walsh-Soucheray, 2019). What can you do today to offer a true helping hand to someone from a foreign county who might be struggling without anyone’s awareness? Can we be aware that we hold negative images of them, due to the factors mentioned above? Are we willing to see them in the most favorable way? Be a beacon of light for them today.
February 16, 2021 Multicultural Competence and the Personal Identity Model
Developing multicultural competency is not only important to develop, it is essential to engage and understand, particularly in our current societal and political environment. According to Sue, 2006, “cultural competence [is] difficult to measure and conceptualize” (p. 239). The beginning of understanding other cultures is to understand our own. Utilizing the Personal Identity Model, constructed by Sue, 2001, we will begin to construct a deeper understanding of our own personal identity and place in the world, thereby understanding the place of others in the world. In order to understand others better, we must begin with a deeper understanding of ourselves. You will find information regarding Sue’s Personal Identity Model at: http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.916.8083&rep=rep1&type=pdf.
February 17, 2021 Multicultural Competency and a Culture-Infused Perspective
A culture-infused perspective is essential if we hope to develop a country that focuses on the right order of relationship among ethnicities and cultures (Collins & Arthur, 2010). As we develop a culture-infused perspective, we will need to facilitate an ethical working alliance among groups, so that everyone feels respected and appreciated (Dawson, 2017).
What can you do today to help create an ethical working alliance with co-workers, students, clients, friends, neighbors, and even strangers? The saying to “think outside the box” indicates that we think outside of the box where we are most comfortable, as we learn to bridge the gap between where we are and where others are. Let yourself explore the creation of an ethical working alliance and help establish culture-infusion in your world and the world for others.
February 19, 2021 Multicultural Competency and Facilitating Awareness
It is essential in this day and age that our country develop an awareness of an individual’s own cultural heritage, an awareness of a multicultural individuals’ cultural heritage, as well as strategies to assist multicultural coworkers, friends, students, employees, neighbors, and others as they manage issues related to immigration and cultural acclimation (Arredondo et al., 1996). These comments were made 25 years ago and we are still not there – not even close!
Find a world map on your electronic device and locate the country of origin of the multicultural individual you are working with. Ask them questions about their childhood, their immigration, and their experience throughout that process. Be open and truly listen. Imagine yourself in their place and how you would feel if you had to navigate all the changes they have endured.
Ask them how you can be of assistance to them today. If they respond by saying just that you showed an interest in them is more than enough. Be grateful for the bridge you have begun to build, and then continue building that bridge each day through your willingness to see the needs of another.
February 19, 2021 Multicultural Competency and Praxis
Have you ever heard of the word praxis? Praxis, according to Freire (1993), is reflection upon action as it transforms the world. What action are we taking today to transform the world? What are we doing to make the world a better, more loving experience for everyone? An experience where everyone feels cared for and respected, cherished and valued? Sounds like utopia, doesn’t it? Take time today to reflect on your actions and discern whether what you are doing, or what you are not doing, is affecting the world in a positive, encouraging way. Be at peace today and help others be at peace, as well.
February 20, 2021 Multicultural Competency and Critical Incidents
For multicultural individuals, life is filled with critical incidents, which are “situations or events that hold significance for learning, both for the students and teachers. They are ‘unplanned, unanticipated and uncontrolled’” (Patahuddin & Lowrie, 2015, as cited in Walsh-Soucheray, 2019). Unfortunately, for many multicultural individuals, these critical incidents are traumatic, due to prejudice from others. The multicultural individuals who experience critical incidents are often taken off-guard by someone of a different ethnicity who judges them or diminishes their humanity in some way. What can you do today to increase your awareness of the judgment you have toward People of Color? What can you do to today to be more sensitive of the moments you extend a look of judgment or diminishment of them? How can you improve your responsiveness to a person who is ethnically different from you? How can you increase your cultural competency, through humility, today?
February 22, 2021 Multicultural Competency and Becoming a Learning Organization
Becoming a Learning Organization requires that we step outside of our preconceptions and allow ourselves to be impacted by information that may cause us to be uncomfortable. According to Arredondo and Arciniega (2001), becoming a learning organization is represented by “both a mindset change and a skill-development process, as the organization looks out to the environment to notice shifting patterns and trends” (Arredondo & Arciniega, 2001, p. 265, as cited in Walsh-Soucheray, 2019). The question for most of us is whether we are willing to experience the discomfort of moments that potentially cause us to feel uneasy, embarrassed, or awkward. When we are trying to become a multiculturally competent organization, we must challenge our mindset as we develop new skills that will help us become attuned to the shifting patterns and trends in our environment. How willing are you to enter into such a process of change and growth?
February 23, 2021 Multicultural Competency and Becoming a Learning Organization Part 2
If we hope to create a positive work environment, school experience, or welcoming attitude toward multicultural coworkers, students, or acquaintances, we must admit our own defensiveness and the defensive posture we allow, simply due to our lack of awareness (Toporek & Worthington, 2014). In order to do this, we must integrate the qualities of respect, humility, patience, courage, and perseverance into our encounters with individuals of an ethnicity different from our own (Toporek & Worthington, 2014, as cited in Walsh-Soucheray, 2019). We must maintain a posture of curiosity, which will “promote a sense of unity, trust, and cohesion” (Toporek & Worthington, 2014, p. 931, as cited in Walsh-Soucheray, 2019) for all involved.
What can you do today to embrace a posture of curiosity, rather than defensiveness? Look for an opportunity to create a positive experience for a multicultural person in your life today.
February 24, 2021 Multicultural Competency and Increasing Your CQ
Cultural Intelligence, or CQ, is defined as “a person’s capability to adapt effectively to new cultural contexts and therefore represents a form of situated intelligence where intelligently adapted behaviors are culturally bound to the values and beliefs of a given society or culture” (Earley & Ang, 2003, p. 26, as cited in Walsh-Soucheray, 2019). Have we taken time to understand the culture of others? Do we understand the cultural contexts that are unfamiliar to us? Do something today to increase your CQ: talk to someone of a different culture and ask them questions about their lifestyle; read a book or an article about individuals of a different culture and be open to something that challenges your mindset or worldview; listen to a podcast or music by artists or authors of a different culture and find what you appreciate. Do something today to increase your CQ.
February 25, 2021 Multicultural Competency and Social Justice
The concepts of multicultural competency and social justice have become important issues at this time in United States history, due to the dramatic shift in the demographics of the population, as a result of the tremendous influx of immigrants within the past 50 years (Ahmed et al., 2011; Dupree, Bhakta, & Patel, 2013; Frey, 2018; Kannan, 2015; & Kohn-Wood & Hooper, 2011, as cited in Walsh-Soucheray, 2019). As immigrants have brought concerns of acclimation to the United States culture, as well as within their own lives and the inequities that have been a result of their immigration status (Hays, 2014, as cited in Walsh-Soucheray, 2019), the emotional, psychological, and mental health needs multicultural clients face, have affected the changing demographics becoming a reality in the United States (Dupree et al., 2013; Hays, 2014, as cited in Walsh-Soucheray, 2019). What can you do today to facilitate a more just society?
February 28, 2021 Multicultural Competency and Cultural Humility
Cultural humility is a vital characteristic that must be evident in people who hope to convey to all others a sense of respect and that they are seen. This requires us to enter into a “being-in-becoming” mentality through demonstrating our willingness to engage difficult dialogues and allow ourselves to be uncomfortable with what we do not know. Stepping outside of our personal comfort zone allows us to see the other, as fully able as we are at that moment, and express our willingness to be changed by the relationship. Cultural humility expresses the awareness that there is no ‘right’ culture and that we are in this together, helping one another and being open to be helped by them (Ahmed et al., 2011; Cole et al., 2014; Freire, 1993; Ratts et al., 2016; Sue et al, 1992; Toporek & Worthington, 2014, as cited in Walsh-Soucheray, 2019).
March 2, 2021 Multicultural Competency and Becoming Agents of Change
We are all encouraged to become “agents of change” (APA, 2002), rather than “handmaidens of the status quo” or “transmitters of society’s values” (Sue et al.,1992), as we become multiculturally aware, sensitive, responsive, competent, and humble. We must develop an ethnorelative orientation, which embraces acceptance, adaptation, and integration “of the value of other cultures and experience their culture in the context of other cultures” (Barden et al., 2015, p. 120, as cited in Walsh-Soucheray, 2019). What are we doing today to become ethnorelative, rather than remaining ethnocentric?
March 4, 2021 Multicultural Competency and Our Changing Demographics
“The culture in which we are currently living is rapidly changing to become more culturally diverse, with an even greater increase in the anticipated number of multicultural citizens who will become part of our country in the coming decades” (Frey, 2018; Hays, 2008, as cited in Walsh-Soucheray, 2019). What have we done to address this changing demographic? Are we learning more about these cultures and acclimating ourselves to the needs of the vast number and needs of these citizens? Could you volunteer to teach English? Could you hire someone at your company? Could you befriend a family at church? What can you do today to acknowledge and address this changing demographic in your own world?
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