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What Is Cultural Competency?

What Is Cultural Competency?

Author: Julie Tietz
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At the end of this tutorial, the learner will understand the concept of cultural competency

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Hi, I'm Julie Tietz, and welcome to Conflict Resolution, putting the pieces together. Today, we're going to discuss cultural competency. In order for us to be fluent or have fluency in another culture, it requires us to have years of immersion in that particular culture. And so having cultural fluency means we are able to function in that culture as if we were a member of that culture, and in order to obtain that cultural fluency, we have to have cultural immersion where we have long-term, almost constant contact with the rules and norms and worldviews of that specific culture.

And ways in which we can gain cultural fluency could be through marrying somebody from a different culture, and so you're going to have a lot more opportunities to be involved and immersed in our spouse's culture. We also may gain cultural fluency through living abroad or traveling and really being a part of that culture and witnessing it every day on their norms and rules and worldviews. In talking about cultural competency. we are stating that a person will recognize that cultural issues may, but not be the only part in a conflict. So at times when there is conflict, cultural issues may be the reason why, and if we are culturally competent, we recognize this and have the ability to raise the role of culture in a way that addresses and helps to overcome the problem at hand.

Let's talk about cultural worldview for a second here. So a cultural worldview is the way we interpret and make decisions about our world, and this includes our assumptions and beliefs. When we talk about cultural worldviews, we need to know that we are making broad and general tendencies about members of the culture, but these cultural worldviews don't necessarily apply to every single member of that specific culture. And worldviews are not directly taught to members of the culture, but rather through other ways of expressing their worldviews, such as proverbs, implicit rules, art, and other ways as well. And so when we are trying to obtain or we have cultural competency, we don't have to be necessarily familiar with all of these specific worldviews or communication styles, but we have to have the ability to recognize when these styles of communication and worldviews may be causing the conflict.

In raising cultural issues, we want to be sure that we are doing it in a way that is not stereotyping. And stereotyping is where we form a belief that those certain general trends or traits of a specific culture apply equally to every single member of that group. So if you recall from earlier in talking about worldviews, we know that we're talking about worldviews in a broad and general sense, but not every single member of that culture ascribes or believes or takes on those general worldviews.

When we realize or avoid stereotyping, we then can facilitate respectful dialogue. And respectful dialogue can really build bridges and open doors to greater mutual understanding between the parties. And we're going to have to approach it in a way where we are going to avoid blaming, shaming, and justification. So we're not going to blame or make the other party feel ashamed of their culture, their behavior, and their norms, or asking them to justify and give us reasons why they acted or behaved in a certain way based upon their cultural norms and worldviews.

What's the key points here before we go on cultural competency? We know that being culturally fluent requires cultural immersion, so we're going to have to interact and have constant contact over a long period of time in order to really understand and see the world views and norms and rules of a different culture. Having cultural competency means that we realize that culture or cultural worldview may be playing a part in conflict or miscommunication, and it also means that we have the ability to raise the role of culture in a way that helps to overcome the problem that we're having.

Also, we need to know that not everyone in a culture takes on the same worldview. When we're talking about world views, we're talking about it broadly and generally. So it may not apply to every single person within that specific culture. And when we are going to raise cultural issues within miscommunication and conflict, we want to be sure that we are avoiding stereotyping the other party. So we want to be sure that we're not making general assumptions about that person and their specific culture.

Here are your key terms before we go. Feel free to pause and look at them a little bit closer. I am going to move on to another slide. Thank you so much for taking the time out. I hope that you've learn something, and I can't wait to catch you again next time.

Terms to Know
Cultural Competency

The ability to recognize when culture may be playing a part in a conflict or communication difficulty and the ability to raise the role of culture in a way that helps overcome the problem.

Cultural Fluency

The ability to function within a given culture as if one were native to that culture.

Cultural Immersion

Long-term nearly constant contact with the rules, norms, and worldviews of a different culture.

Stereotyping

Forming a belief that certain general trends or traits of a group (culture) apply equally strongly to all individual members of that group; perceiving people as simplistic representatives of abstract cultural traits rather than as individuals.

Worldview

The way a person interprets and makes decisions about his or her environment (world), including beliefs or assumptions about what is considered right or normal.