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The following five elements of cultural competence are considered by some to be the basic concepts of what it means to move toward becoming culturally competent:
1. Awareness and acceptance of difference
2. An awareness of one's own cultural values
3. Understanding the dynamics of difference
4. Development of cultural knowledge
5. Ability to adapt practice skills to fit the cultural context of the client's value system
The cultural competency process begins with a personal awareness of and acceptance of difference. Knowing and analyzing our own cultural values helps us to understand the dynamics of difference and the need to develop cultural knowledge. We can then adapt practice skills to fit the cultural context of the client's value system.
Cultural incapacity is the lack of capacity to respond effectively to the needs, and preferences of diverse groups. Characteristics include bias; discrimination in hiring and promotion; disproportionate allocation of resources; subtle messages that some cultural groups are neither valued nor welcomed; and lower expectations of some cultural, ethnic, or racial groups.
If you are interested in brushing-up your competency in this area, see the popular, 4 credit course, Multiculturalism and Cultural Competence.
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