Recently I had the gift of attending a workshop about Cultural Humility. It was in another work role, not specific to content creation, but I am always looking at ways one part of my life flows over and influences other aspects. So I want to bring a few pieces from that training here. Bear with me…
How many of you have heard of Cultural Humility? Or think you may know what it means? If you have worked in education, healthcare, or social services, perhaps you have heard of Cultural Competence? CH came out of CC. The originators of the model and several of their colleagues discuss it beautifully here: Cultural Humility Documentary Part 1 with Dr. Melanie Tervalon and Dr. Jann Murray-García.
Its four main tenets are: lifelong process of critical self-reflection and self-critique, redressing power imbalances in relationships, developing mutually beneficial partnerships with communities and individuals, and advocating for and maintaining institutional accountability.
These things sound a little heady? Maybe too intellectual for a weekend afternoon? Perhaps. But the practice of the principles can be simple and everyday. The way I interpret the framework, I approach all of my interactions by considering who I am and who the other person is. Then I think about ways our identities play into the interaction; is race, class, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, immigrant status, language use, ability, skin tone, etc., impacting the amount of power or privilege I or the other person has? What do I think I know about this person? What might be invisible that I am not seeing? By asking myself these questions, I can start to pick apart my own assumptions and biases, particularly as they relate to oppression… which makes me more present to what is actually happening. It means I am curious rather than certain. This can be a vulnerable position to take, but I believe it is worth it as it leads to a rich authenticity and can move us closer to justice.
When it comes to partnering with brands and businesses, I can ask questions about their practices, but also about who they are. I can advocate for social responsibility and encourage my readers/friends to do the same. I can be transparent about my journey, rather than pretending to be an expert. I can focus on process more than on product (though product is sometimes the result of process).
I believe having a lens like Cultural Humility allows us to empower ourselves and then to use our power in positive ways, whether we are providing healthcare services or writing a conscious lifestyle blog.
What do you think?
Shout out to https://motherwoman.org/ for sending me to the training!