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Senior Moments from H.O.M.E.

Practicing cultural humility this Black History Month

Posted by Tricia Mullin on Feb 5, 2018 2:00:00 PM

A new month…another celebration…a new lens

As we embark on a new month, we also embark on an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans that began in the mid-70s. Since then, February has been designated as Black History month, providing an opportunity to pause, reflect and recognize the pivotal role of African Americans in U.S. history.

difficult-dialogues-a-cultural-humility-approach-to-broaching-cultural-issues-aamft-2016-12-638.jpgYet we have to ask ourselves, what happens after February? How can we continue to extend the spirit of this celebration into our everyday lives and encounters? One way is through cultural humility.

Say what?

Many of us have probably heard the term cultural competency used often in work place trainings. Have you ever really stopped to think about what that actually implies?

Whether you have gone through one or one hundred cultural competency classes, would you be able to comfortably say that you are culturally competent with a particular ethnic group or race, in this case, African Americans? 

A person of another race or ethnic group can be open to learning about another group of individuals but for them to be competent with that group’s experience is unrealistic.

Levi (2009) states that “cultural humility goes beyond the concept of cultural competence…[and] that it is impossible to be adequately knowledgeable about cultures” that are not your own.

Cultural humility is not an end-all and be-all way of learning. It lends to looking inside oneself, acknowledging limitations to one’s ability to understand, not because of ability, but because of not living the experience of a specific race or ethnic group and a willingness to learn with and from others different from ourselves.

humility.1.jpgThe focus becomes one of self-humility, acknowledging that “yes there is no way I can ever know what or how you experience things as a black person (old way of thinking/cultural competency), but I would like to learn from and with you (cultural humility)”. For example, the African American person is the expert about their life and their experiences.

There is not an end point or goal to be reached when looking through the lens of cultural humility.

Learning of different races and ethnic groups, by way of a cultural humility framework, becomes a life-long endeavor for us all to strive towards.

In honor of Black History month, think about how you can introduce cultural humility into your personal and professional worlds to better understand your biases and stereotypes.

Whether older or younger, the concept of cultural humility can be implemented by all.

H.O.M.E.’s intergenerational housing is looking to introduce an “Around the World” program that will help seniors, younger adults, and families who live together learn and develop greater appreciation for each person’s experiences.

Learn more about our Intergenerational Housing program: 

Learn more about Intergenerational Housing

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Topics: community, diverse elders