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UW SMART Center Culturally Competent Communication


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Part 1 and 2: Cross Cultural Communication
Humans communicate on many levels: spoken language, tone, body language, style and personality. The fact that we have complex cultural identities and a host of differing past experiences increases the probability of cross-cultural miscommunications. This workshop presents major cross-cultural communication theories, ways that cultural values, power, privilege and differences affect the way we communicate, tools for questioning assumptions, and ways to improve cross-cultural communications skills.
Part 3: Navigating Microaggressions
How do you navigate microaggressions - those words and actions that offend or hurt, even though they may be unintended? Learn some of the obstacles of authentic conversations, as well as practical strategies for what to do or say when you are the target of, witness to, and agents of microaggressions.

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UW SMART Center Culturally Competent Communication

  1. 1. UW SMART Center Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee Seattle Girls’ School Culturally Competent Communication Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  2. 2. About Seattle Girls’ School Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  3. 3. Agenda  Cultural Competency  Cross Cultural Communication  Navigating Microaggressions Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  4. 4. Culture [consists] primarily of the symbolic, ideational, and intangible aspects of human societies… It is the values, symbols, interpretations, and perspectives that distinguish one people from another. James A. Banks What is Culture? Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  5. 5. Race Religion Class Gender Sexual Orientation Ability Age Ethnicity Geographic Location Language Educational Attainment Appearance Seniority Position or Title Status Relationship To Power Players InternalExternal Institutional Dimensions of Identity and Culture Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  6. 6. Cultural Competency: Many Models Cultural competence is a set of congruent behaviors, attitudes and policies that come together in a system, institution or individual and enable that system, institution or individual to work effectively in cross- cultural situations. Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee ( Terry Cross
  7. 7. Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee ( The Jones Model of Cultural Competence Cultural Self- Awareness Cultural Intelligence Cross-Cultural Effectiveness Skills Countering Oppression through Inclusion
  8. 8.  What is it?  How is it Different from Intercultural Communication?  CCC Theories – Face-Negotiation Theory – Conversational Constraints Theory – Expectancy Violation Theory – Anxiety/Uncertainty Management Theory – Communication Accommodation Theory Cross Cultural Communication Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  9. 9. Individual - Collectivistic Low Context - High Context Task - Relationship Low Uncertainty - High Uncertainty Vertical - Horizontal Dimensions of Variability Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  10. 10.  Personality Orientation  Individual Values - Allocentric - Idiocentric  Self Construal - Independent - Interdependent  Individual Socialization  Cultural Norms and Rules Factors that Influence Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  11. 11. Discussion: My Style In hearing about communication differences, what would you describe as your cultural communication style? Have you noticed stark differences compared to others? Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  12. 12. Cultural Values Norms, and Rules  Values  Value Priorities  Norms of Behavior  Non-Verbal Communication Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  13. 13. CulturalValueDifferences RELATIONAL Individualism self-reliance, independence (selfish) Collectivism group interdependence (mindless follower) Informality directness, give and take discussion (rude and abrupt) Formality indirectness, protect "face" (stiff and impersonal) Competition individual achievement (egotistical, show-off) Cooperation group achievement (avoiding doing work or taking responsibility) AUTHORITY Egalitarianism fairness, belief in equal opportunity (being picky, on a soapbox) Hierarchy privilege of status or rank (power hungry or avoiding accountability) TEMPORAL Use of Time "Time is money" (doesn’t get the important things in life) Passage of Time "Time is for life" (lazy and irresponsible) Change/Future Adaptability ensures survival (muckraker, stirs up trouble) Tradition/Past Stability ensures survival (old-school, afraid of change) ACTIVITY Action orientation "Make things happen" (rushes without thinking) "Being" orientation "Let things happen" (indecisive and slow) Practicality Efficiency is always best (impersonal and unscrupulous) Idealism Always maintain principles (naïve and impractical) Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  14. 14. Break Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  15. 15. Identifiers, Power, and Communication Internalized Oppression/Dominance Stereotype Threat Accumulated Impact/ Microaggressions Code/Mode Switching Fish Seeing the Water “Normal” versus “Good” “Intent” versus “Impact” Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  16. 16. Discussion: Dynamics of Power How is your communication affected by your identity and power? What dynamics cause most conflict or misunderstanding in your professional or personal life? Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  17. 17. So What? Now What? Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  18. 18. Assumptions and Interpretations • Mental Models • Ladder of Inference Belief Conclusions Selective Data Observable Data • Tools of Action Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  19. 19. 1. What did you see/hear (raw data)? 2. What are your personal filters (cultural values, norms, and identifiers)? 3. What was your interpretation of what you saw/heard (inference)? 4. How did you feel as a result? 5. What do you want? Checking Assumptions and Interpretations: Steps to Analyze Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  20. 20. Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS) Schematic Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  21. 21. “To be culturally effective doesn’t mean you are an authority in the values and beliefs of every culture. What it means is that you hold a deep respect for cultural differences and are eager to learn, and willing to accept, that there are many ways of viewing the world” Okokon O. Udo Cultural Effectiveness Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  22. 22. Break Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  23. 23. Navigating Microaggressions Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  24. 24. Debunking Some Myths Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (  All or None  Mistakes  Apologies  “Tonsils” Theory  Vulnerability
  25. 25. Growing Through Mistakes William Taylor’s Reflective Competence Model Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  26. 26. What Are Microaggressions? Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee ( Accumulated Impact Regular, Frequent, and Pervasive Based on Stereotype Often Unintended
  27. 27. Speaking From the Heart Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  28. 28. What We’re Thinking and Feeling When Receiving the Microaggression Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee ( Did that really happen? Do they realize? I want to trust, but I’ve had this happen so many times before. I am so stressed, confused, hurt….
  29. 29. What We End Up Saying When Receiving the Microaggression Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee ( That was so offensive! I can’t believe you did that!
  30. 30. Be A DEAR…. Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  31. 31. Self Advocacy Through Microaggressions  Affirm the person or relationship  Describe the behavior without judgment  Explain the emotion/impact and your filters  Assume positive intent  Request or suggest different behavior *** Key Points: timing, I statements, actions not adjectives, inside feelings not outside feelings*** Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  32. 32. Self Advocacy Through Microaggressions: An Example I appreciate having you as a colleague. We work together well, and I respect the contributions you make to the team. Earlier today, when someone corrected you on using the correct gender pronouns for me, I heard you say, “They know what I meant,” and later, you said, “Well it’s so difficult, and they should know others are going to mess up a lot.” I was hurt when I heard these things. My gender is something that I have had to defend and affirm since I was a kid. Every day, every space, I have to come out, reaffirm, and defend. It’s frustrating and saddening that I have to do the same with someone I see every day and work side by side with. I imagine you didn’t mean for me to feel that way. Can I ask that you make bigger efforts to get my pronouns right, and take it seriously when you make a mistake and someone corrects you? Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  33. 33. Being A Witness Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  34. 34. What We’re Thinking and Feeling When Witnessing Microaggressions Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee ( I can’t believe this is happening. That’s SO not right. Should I say something? Am I butting in? Would it help? I am so upset!
  35. 35. What We End Up Saying When Witnessing Microaggressions Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  36. 36. What Others Hear When We Say Nothing Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee ( See? They agree with me! I am so right about this. No one sees or understands. I am alone.
  37. 37. They were born innocent… Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  38. 38. NCBI Effective Interventions Model  Reduce Defensiveness – Tone – Body Language – Respect  Keep the Conversation Going – Hear Them Out – Ask Open-Ended Questions – Set Aside Your Feeling for the Moment – Dialogue  Build the Relationship  Stop the Behavior  Win an Ally Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  39. 39. Intervening in Microaggressions: Examples  Ask open ended questions – “He looked suspicious” – “How did he look? How was he acting? Why was that suspicious?”  Find out the experience motivating the comment – “Why can’t they just speak English around here?” – “It must be hard not to understand what people are saying around you.” – “I’m sick of my taxes paying for freeloaders” – “Tell me more about about that.”  Use exaggerated humor to highlight what’s going on (use sparingly) – “You’re gay - what do gay people think about this issue?” – “I’m not sure – I’ll go ask. It may take me a while, since there are so many of us.”  Join the person and do not make yourself superior – “She got that award because she’s Black and female.” – “You know, I hear that a lot. I’ve been trying to figure out why we seem to think when a Black woman gets recognized it must be because of ‘diversity’ or ‘affirmative action’ reasons rather than that she earned it.” Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  40. 40. Listening to the Real Message Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  41. 41. What Was Said During the Intervention Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee ( Those words or actions are hurtful to me. Please stop.
  42. 42. What We Hear During the Intervention Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee ( You are a bad, bad person, and I hate you!
  43. 43. What We Should Hear During the Intervention Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee ( You are basically a good and decent person. As with all of us, you’ve made a mistake, and you may not know how that mistake is impacting others. I am going to give you the gift of perspective and information so that your intentions and impacts match up.
  44. 44. It’s a gift… Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  45. 45. When You’re Told About Microaggressive Impact You Created  Listen with full attention  Don’t try to defend or respond right away – Take deep breaths – Acknowledge your feelings  Your mistakes don’t define you – Be worthy of their trust and gift  Prioritize the Impact over Intent – Apologize for real *** Moving through these moments with grace is called shame resilience. It’s a vital skill*** Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  46. 46. When You’re Told About Microaggressive Impact You Created: Examples Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (  “I really appreciate your telling me this.”  “I’m so embarrassed that I did that.”  “I’m so sorry my words and actions made you feel that way. No matter what I intended, it hurt you.”  “I’m pretty overwhelmed right now, and I don’t want to respond in a way I’d regret. Do you think you can help me come up with a better way to handle that situation after I take a few minutes?”  “I wanted to go back to a moment I don’t think I handled very well… Can we talk?”
  47. 47. Process Break What is interesting, surprising, or thought provoking about what you have learned so far? How might you use this learning in your everyday interactions? Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  48. 48. Final Words of Advice: Recognize Your Triggers Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  49. 49. Find Your Bucket People Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  50. 50. Practice Makes Less Freeze-Ups Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  51. 51. If You Messed Up and You Know It, Don’t Wait for the Intervention – Just Apologize Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  52. 52. If You’re Really Sorry, Work to Improve Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  53. 53. Build Authentic Relationships Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  54. 54. Inclusive Communities Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  55. 55. Presenter Information Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee 6th Faculty and Professional Outreach Seattle Girls’ School 2706 S Jackson Street Seattle WA 98144 (206) 805-6562 Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  56. 56. Communication Resources • “Stereotype Threat” by Joshua Aronson • Brenda J. Allen, Difference Matters: Communicating Social Identity • William Gudykunst, Cross-Cultural and Intercultural Comunication • Milton Bennett, PhD, Intercultural Communication Institute • “Non-Verbal Communication Across Cultures” by Erica Hagen, Intercultural Communication Resources • • Thrive! Team Dynamics • history.htm Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  57. 57. Miscellaneous Resources • Karen Bradberry and Johnnie Foreman, “Privilege and Power,” Summer Diversity Institute, National Association of Independent Schools, 2009 • Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, Nurture Shock • Kevin Jennings, GLSEN (Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network) • Allan G. Johnson, Privilege, Power, and Difference • Johnnie McKinley, “Leveling the Playing Field and Raising African American Students’ Achievement in Twenty-nine Urban Classrooms,” New Horizons for Learning, mckinley.htm Michael J Nakkula and Eric Toshalis, Understanding Youth. Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (