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Cultural Competency


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Powerpoint accompanying workshop session from the Homeless and Housing Coalition of Kentucky's 2013 conference. Presented by Isela Arras, Kentucky Domestic Violence Association
Social Service providers are charged with the ethical responsibility to be culturally competent. This workshop
applies the three presumptions about the dominant culture – innocence, worthiness, and competence – to the
roles of social service providers in a practical manner, allowing participants to have clear examples illustrating the
importance of cultural competent practice, social service provision, interactions and policies. This workshop is
hands-on and participant-driven, creating a framework for participants to utilize these presumptions when striving
for culturally competent practice.

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Cultural Competency

  1. 1. 1Cultural CompetencyIsela Arras, Kentucky Domestic Violence AssociationIarras@kdva.org502-209-5382
  2. 2. 2NASW Definition:Cultural Competency Refers to the process by which individuals and systemsrespond respectfully and effectively to people of allcultures, languages, classes, races, ethnic backgrounds,religions, and other diversity factors in a manner thatrecognizes, affirms, and values the worth of individuals,families, and communities and protects and preserves thedignity of each.
  3. 3. 3Cultural CompetencyWhat is cultural competency?How do we define cultural competency?Any definition of cultural competency should focuson US, not THEM
  4. 4. 4What patient would you rather have?___A is kind and appreciative. She cannot talk too much, but isotherwise communicative. She is friendly, fearless, andinquisitive. She looks good and is relatively self-sufficient. Sheasks about the nurses well-being and sleeps through the night.___B is self-centered. He cries, and can’t walk or talk. He isincontinent and cant feed himself. He is bald, and cranky. Hewakes up at all hours of the night.___C is grouchy, and something of a hypochondriac. He is scraggly-looking. He needs help walking, but can take care of himselfwhen he reaches his destination. He sleeps, but not a lot.
  5. 5. 5A B C
  6. 6. 6Three Presumptions1.Innocence2.Worthiness3.Competence Handout: Vision, Privilege, and the Limits ofTolerance
  7. 7. 7Presumption of InnocenceI know that I have dominant culture privilegebecause I get the presumption of innocence.When something goes wrong around me, peopledo not look to me first, or even second, as aprobable cause of the problem.
  8. 8. 8Presumption of Worthiness The presumption that I am worthy, deserving and good enough to receiveattention, services, respect, and the benefit of the doubt. This presumption can operate in many different contexts. As a white, uppermiddle class, heterosexual who does not have a visible disability, I will betaken at face value as a good candidate for a bank loan, a desiredapplicant for a job, a sought-after buyer of a house, and a customer whoshould be served as soon as possible. This presumption is strengthened if I am with my partner, who is a similarlyprivileged white man.
  9. 9. 9Presumption of Competence The last presumption given to members of the dominant culture is thepresumption of competence. In all of the jobs I have ever had, I was always treated as if I wascompetent, and then given the autonomy, encouragement, andfeedback to prove it. In nearly all of the experiences I ever had or continue to have as astudent, I walk in and I am given the presumption of competence.
  10. 10. 1010
  11. 11. 11Example: Anita GreenRead case example in groupsHow can we afford Anita Green:InnocenceWorthinessCompetence
  12. 12. 12Implications for… Practice Policies Procedures
  13. 13. 13Contact InformationIsela Arras,Kentucky Domestic Violence AssociationDirector of Training502-209-5382859-388-0844