52 Culturally Competent and Diversity-Sensitive Practice and Cultural Humility Age, Illness, and Disability While individuals are living longer, ageism continues to exist and is reflected in negative stereotypes and the marginalization and discrimination of aged indi- viduals. Individuals living with physical and mental illness and physical and developmental disabilities also face negative stereotypes, stigmatization, and being marginalized and discriminated against. As a result, these individuals may internalize the stigma, adopting views of themselves that reinforce feelings of powerlessness and incompetence. Microagressions Becoming culturally competent requires social workers to look beyond clients’— and their own—identities to the complex ways in which these identities are rewarded or denigrated and lead to or undermine social privilege. Microaggres- sions, which can take the form of microinsults and microinvalidations, represent the subtle and often unintentional ways that individuals from minority groups are disparaged. Microaggressions are usually seen as forms of racism and racial discrimination, but we argue that other marginalized groups also are subjected to them. Because of their subtle nature, individuals who experience microag- gressions may question themselves, wondering if they are being overly sensitive. Intersectionality The notion of intersectionality expands students’ cultural competence by explor- ing the multiple identities that many individuals occupy. Some may exacerbate powerlessness and stigmatization, such as self-identifying as black and being a member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) community, while others may place an individual in a contradictory position as both privileged (a professional social worker) and marginalized (a Latina woman living with a physical disability). Understanding this concept lessens the likelihood that students will “lump together” everyone who appears to share a particular identity or trait it also enhances students’ ability to appre- ciate the unique lens through which their clients view their world. Critical Race Theory This perspective addresses the ways in which racial groups of color are sys- tematically disenfranchised. The focus is not on the biology of race, which
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