Respond by to at least two colleagues who identified strategies and/or challenges that differ from the ones you posted, and respond in at least one of the following ways:
Post at least two strategies social workers may use to become advocates for social change through cultural competence.
One strategy social workers may use to become advocates for social change through cultural competence is education. Clay (2010) discusses how learning is the first step to becoming culturally competent (Clay, 2010). Clay also provides areas of learning that need to take place including learning about your personal culture including morals, values, beliefs, and biases (Clay, 2010). Education also allows for learning to take place without stigmatization and exclusion. It is an equal foundation that can enhance and improve all different situations regardless of culture. Awareness and acknowledgment comes from learning and education. Another strategy social workers may use is teamwork. Teamwork allows for multiple perspectives to come together and function as a unit. Teamwork allows for voices to heard and a collaborative learning experience to happen amongst the team members. It also fosters cohesion amongst different groups of people. Chun-Chung Chow & Austin (2008) discuss how organizations need to create responses to cultural differences through programs, services, policies, and more (Chun-Chung Chow & Austin, 2008). This is where teamwork comes in to play. Collaboration and cohesion will be required between the different organizations that develop theses areas of knowledge and training for an organization. Working with vulnerable populations will require teamwork with other practices and professionals in addition to the cultural differences that come with clients.
In addition, identify at least two challenges administrators may face in developing cultural competency within their organizations.
One challenge administrators may face is opposition. For example, the agency I intern with for my field education experience is run and operated through a religious organization that has certain rules and restrictions that can impede on cultural differences. The beliefs and responses of the governing organization affects the clients we accept into the agency as well as the programs and services that are provided, service delivery, and funding. Another challenge administrators may face is lack of resources. Culture has always been apart of the human services profession however training and education on cultural competence is a fairly new concept that is hard to adapt and incorporate when there is limited resources and material to provide adequate training. For example, I am a resource coordinator at an apartment complex in an area of town that is not as diverse as some of our other sites across the country. I am constantly researching and trying to locate training and education materials to provide to my residents to increase their awareness of cultural differences and ways to become culturally competent. The state that we are located in has a certain mentality that has been projected and indoctrinated to its members that it is hard to change the wys and mindsets of the people. An administrator would need support and networks to increase resources and education within a community.
Chun-Chung Chow, J., & Austin, M. J. (2008). The culturally responsive social service agency: The application of an evolving definition to a case study. Administration in Social Work, 32(4), 39–64.
Clay. (2010). How do i become culturally competent? Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/gradpsych/2010/09/culturally-c…
Administration and Culturally Competent Advocacy
Two Strategies Advocates use Cultural Competence for Social Change
The first strategy social workers use to become advocates for social change through cultural competence is by diversifying the workforce. “The organization should recognize the impetus for the desire to hire multicultural staff and to clarify desired outcomes” (Chung et al., 2008). By diversifying the work-force it not only gives minorities equal opportunities, but it also fosters an environment of understanding, cooperation, friendship, and unity. For example, a church that is multicultural forces the members to interact, communicate and build the church together. If a church is all-white and they live in a community that is predominantly white, and everyone at work is also white, it places people in a bubble of ignorance, biased opinions, and has the danger of fostering racism, prejudice, and discrimination for people different than the majority.
When people grow up absent from interaction with individuals from other cultures, it is a recipe for cultural elitism and feelings of superiority over others. For instance, the majority of White America felt themselves above people of color, this was even more evident during the time of segregation. Diversity helps to foster unity and understanding, but I also acknowledge that in some cases diversity also creates hate and acts of racism. This is evident in places where Whites and Blacks live in the same community, but still there are modern day lynching and murder committed out of hate and racism. Diversity only works if both sides are willing to openly learn about each other and embrace one another. Another example of failed diversity is evident in many high schools across America. Many kids will segregate themselves according to certain criteria. When I was in high school, our lunch room cafeteria was segregated by choice, it is was a shame, but it was the truth.
The second strategy social workers use to become advocates for social change is through cultural immersion. “Beginning in the 1970s, concerted attention was given to helping agency staff members become more culturally aware, more culturally knowledgeable, and recently more culturally competent” (Chung et al., 2008). Through cultural immersion, it allows people to experience another culture not familiar to themselves. For example, when learning Korean it helps to also listen to Korean music and watch Korean movies. Furthermore, having some Korean friends to practice Korean with is quite helpful. Likewise, the same can be said of cultural immersion. When we sincerely immerse ourselves in another culture it helps us to understand people better. For instance, learning about Mexican culture through the food, history, music, and language can give someone an appreciation for Mexican culture. “In conclusion, it is clear that cultural responsiveness needs to occur at multiple levels inside and outside of the agency, where clients, staff members, organizations, and community members all play an important role in creating a culturally responsive service delivery system. The support of top management is crucial for both the deployment of a diverse workforce and the commitment to create organizational policies and procedures that facilitate organizational change” (Chung et al., 2008).
Two Challenges Administrators Face Developing Cultural Competency
The first challenge of developing cultural competency is everyone needs to be a willing participant. If an individual is unwilling to learn about another culture, then no matter what, cultural competence will never happen. For example, a racist individual will not be open to immersing themselves in a foreign culture. Their previous prejudice beliefs will stop them from being opened minded about someone else’s culture. “Fong & Gibbs (1995) found that the changes needed to create a culturally responsive organization can threaten the core culture of an agency, foster resistance, and compromise the effectiveness of an ethnically diverse workforce that must conform to preexisting services, rules, and procedures that may not be appropriate for serving diverse communities” (Chung et al, 2008). In order for cultural immersion to work the individuals involved need to have an open heart and an open mind. They need to be willing and wanting to sincerely learn and embrace a culture that is foreign to them. For example, even if you live in a community that is a melting pot of cultures, understanding and acceptance will never occur if no one is willing to immerse themselves in love and friendship. “Agencies today must demonstrate that they value diversity, understand and respect diverse cultures, and plan and provide culturally relevant and responsive programs and services. Agencies need to examine their management and program practices at all levels to determine to what extent they are culturally competent and what steps they can take toward becoming more culturally competent. They must assess what might be less overt and more subtle ways in which they fail to provide effective services and perhaps even offer inappropriate, ineffective, and potentially damaging services to multicultural client populations” (Chung et al., 2008).
Northouse, P. G. (2013). Leadership: Theory and practice (6th ed.). Los Angeles: Sage Publications
Chun-Chung Chow, J., & Austin, M. J. (2008). The culturally responsive social service agency: The application of an evolving definition to a case study. Administration in Social Work, 32(4), 39-64
Laureate Education (Producer). (2014a). Cortez case study [Multimedia]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu
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