“Wait a minute…why are we concerned with the looking at ‘differences’ among people? Aren’t we past that? I mean, we did elect a black President.”“By focusing on those differences, don’t we do more harm than good?”
Becoming Culturally Competent An introduction to cultural differences and the impact of unconscious bias in communicating
Goals for Today’s Seminar Look at what culture is and the assumptions made by different cultures about “others” Examine unconscious bias and potential impact in academic environments when it comes to: Students Faculty, staff, and administrators Begin to examine how to improve cultural misunderstanding by becoming culturally competent
Culture, Values, and Assumptions I note the obvious differences between each sort and type, but we are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike. Maya Angelou
What’s “Cultural Competence”—and Why We Need It Cultural competence emphasizes learning effective ways to operate in different cultural contexts Becoming culturally competent also: Helps educators more effectively deliver learning to students Helps recruit and retain a more diverse student and faculty population Helps workplace colleagues foster better cooperation and productivity in the workplace Helps prevent or minimize unintended consequences that result from the interactions we have every day
“As American as Apple Pie” Break into small groups Write down 3-4 words or catch phrases that seem to embody what it means to be American Be ready to share your group’s responses with the audience You have 3 minutes to complete this exercise One person’s view of what it means to be American: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-BZcRAWHeQ
“To Some, Winner Is Not American Enough” “An uncommon sports dispute erupted online, fraught with racial and nationalistic components: Should Keflezighi’s triumph count as an American victory? He was widely celebrated as the first American to win the New York race since 1982. Having immigrated to the United States at age 12, he is an American citizen and a product of American distance running programs at the youth, college and professional levels. But, some said, because he was born in Eritrea, he is not really an American runner.” Nov. 3, 2009 N.Y. Times article by Gina Kolata; photo by Henry Ray Abrams, AP
Snapshots on How Other Cultures May View Americans…. Sudanese refugees and their view of Americans http://www.edupass.org/culture/stereotypes.phtml What American organizations working to acculturate college students into the U.S. say http://www.edupass.org/culture/stereotypes.phtml
Changing Times and Their Impact on American Culture American Dominance in the 20th Century Impact of Globalization in the 21st Century World dominance in business after WWII Predominant cultural norms Workplace Family Religion Gender roles Demographics Race Ethnicity Who dominates in business today? What are the predominant cultural norms? Workplace Family Religion Gender roles Changing demographics Race Ethnicity
Other Aspects of the Current Cultural Landscape. . . . Age and generational differences Gender and gender orientation differences Sexual orientation Regional differences “Red states” versus “blue states” South versus North versus West versus Midwest versus Northeast
Let’s Check Your Cultural Competence…. What’s the difference between the words “Hispanic” and “Latino”? Is one more offensive than another? Touching a child on the top of his head is a non-threatening sign of affection from an adult. Establishing direct eye contact when talking with someone shows trustworthiness. What does it mean when a person from the Appalachian region of Kentucky tells you “I don’t care to” do something?
Miscommunications and Missed Signals Due to Cultural Variances We each come into an environment with our own framework for determining what’s “normative” in terms of culture Where do we learn what’s culturally normative? When our cultural norms differ from those of other people, problems can arise with communication, leading to: Anger Hurt feelings Missed opportunities
Is There an Underlying Cause to Cultural Misfires and Problems?
Cultural Differences, Communication and Unconscious Bias as the Source Source of Culture Clash Psychologists once believed that only bigoted people used stereotypes. Now the study of unconscious bias is revealing the unsettling truth: We all use stereotypes, all the time, without knowing it. We have met the enemy of equality, and the enemy is us. Article from Psychology Today
Cultural Norms and Stereotyping “In the practical sense a culture norm is a society's propensity towards certain ideals; their aversion from others; and their standard, ritualistic practices. Essentially what the 'norm' is a summation of typical activities and beliefs of group of people. ‘Culture norm’ is essentially a gentle stereotype. . . .” But why do we stereotype? From Economic Expert.com, defining cultural norm
Cognitive Psychology, Affective Reactions and Unconscious Bias Empirical research done in the social sciences: Tests given to participants in various settings. Pervasive Implicit Bias: “Socially dominant groups have implicit bias against subordinate groups (White over non-White, for example). . . Almost a hundred studies have documented people’s tendency to automatically associate positive characteristics with their ingroups more easily than with outgroups. . . as well as their tendency to associate negative characteristics with outgroups more easily than ingroups.” (article by Jerry Kang) This implicit/unconscious preferencing occurred even when people consciously tried to limit group preferencing
Examples of Unconscious Bias Studies “Group readings” study and results “Immediate hostile reaction” study and results Implicit Association Test at Harvard (https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit) Tests developed to identify hidden bias in terms of race, gender, age, sexual orientation
Stereotyping and Unconscious Bias We all stereotype people Are we hard wired to stereotype? The need for “blink” decisions by prehistoric man The problem with taking fight/flight responses into a modern-day setting
But How Accurate Are Our “Blink” Impressions? How much can you tell from a face?
A Post-Racial Generation/America? The extreme case Here’s what we typically think of when we think about the negative impact of stereotyping and bias http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/02/26/hate.groups.report/index.html#cnnSTCVideo
Bias Today Usually Isn’t That Extreme, Yet It Still Has Impact. What most of us normally see or experience doesn’t rise to the most extreme levels Unconscious bias impacts how we view the world and those around us.
Focus with Unconscious Bias in Academia Current work mainly looks at faculty and primarily addresses sex, race and gender issues What those works indicate: Unconscious bias and stereotyping are particularly problematic when it comes to three constituencies: Students Administration Other faculty
Displays of Unconscious Bias that Affect Faculty, Administrators Students– Complaints to administration, excessively negative evaluations, challenges to authority and classroom management Stereotyping of women, people of color Challenges by majority students about credentials, appearance, authority, evaluative methods used with students Colleagues and administration– Overburdening faculty with “academic housekeeping” Stereotyping Undermining comments to students and other faculty Belief people from “outside” groups are hypersensitive or have illegitimate concerns about stereotyping and bias Unconscious desire for people to assimilate in order to be retained
Unconscious Bias and Its Extension Outside Academia At work every day In other settings For co-workers For the actor or actors involved For the work environment In international business transactions With health care professionals and health care delivery to patients New Jersey enacted a law in 2005 to integrate cultural competency training into the training physicians receive, including CME courses
Instances of Unconscious Bias… With students? With your colleagues? With friends? Break into small groups and share experiences where you may have seen or experienced unconscious bias concerning gender or age/generational differences. What was your reaction to the situation?
Breaking the Cycle “Promising evidence in social cognitive psychology indicates that with sufficient motivation, cognitive resources, and effort, people are able to focus on the unique qualities of individuals, rather than on the groups they belong to, in forming impressions and behaving toward others.” From Reducing Racial Bias Among Health Care Providers: Lessons from Social-Cognitive Psychology
The Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Step… What we’ve done today is take some first steps toward becoming culturally competent by: Gaining an understanding that what we consider appropriate is based on cultural norms we grew up with—and that other people may not have those same values Realizing we all stereotype people based on those cultural norms Understanding stereotyping can result in bias that can negative impact those around us, even when we don’t intend for that to happen or want the best outcomes
Quick Ideas to Implement Now to Improve Cultural Competence Educate yourself about what you value and what others value, differences in behaviors, etc. Learn to listen more than talk Go online to learn about the cultural norms of those you may encounter at work or in the classroom Become curious about the world around you Go beyond The Golden Rule Use “the Mark Twain rule” Special considerations for managers Becoming culturally competent is a process. You didn’t become who you are overnight, and you won’t change overnight. Be patient, and know “an old dog” can learn new tricks!
Is this Your Internal Monologue?. “There are too many different cultures to learn about—how am I supposed to know what could offend a person from a particular ethnic or racial background?” “This is a bunch of PC crap. I’m not going to change who I am!” “People get too sensitive about these things. They just need to grow up!” The “Roots” theory of cultural assimilation
Additional Resources Web resources Video http://academic.udayton.edu/health/03access/racial.htm (race and its impact on healthcare; you’ll also find similar work related to other disciplines) http://www.med.umich.edu/multicultural/ccp/index.htm (free resources on multiculturalism for health care professionals) YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJGyAPqqVm8&feature=related (fun, slightly bawdy “tongue in cheek” that shows how cultural misunderstandings can create unanticipated consequences) Movies “Crash” “Gran Torino”