Culturally Competent and Diversity-Sensitive Practice and Cultural Humility 53 is seen as artificial, but rather on the way that it defines power relationships and contributes to the privileged status of some and the marginalization of others. Competency 2: Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice • Apply and communicate understanding of the importance of diversity and difference in shaping life experiences in practice at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels. • Present themselves as learners and engage clients and constituencies as experts of their own experiences. 3. Understanding One’s Own Cultural Identity A second aspect of cultural competence requires social workers to become aware of their identities and the social positions that they occupy, as well as the assumptions, stereotypes, and biases that they may hold about others. Research clearly indicates that social workers are not immune to adopting the majority view of “others,” which underscores the need for students to become self-aware and live in the world of is. They shouldn’t operate on the basis of preconceived assumptions about others, but they will and do. White Privilege We expand upon the concept of white privilege and explain our use of the term social privilege because it connotes the reality that positions of privi- lege and power are determined by more than just race. Social workers must understand the various identities and positions that they and their clients occupy and identify with, and how they advantage and/or disadvantage them. Social privilege may be earned, as in the case of being a professional social worker, but in many cases, a privileged status results from structural, social, and economic forces that protect people and afford them power at the expense of others. When acknowledging the existence of social privilege, students may expe- rience feelings of guilt (when they are members of a privileged group) or resentment (if they are members of a disenfranchised group). While these reactions are understandable, the goal is to help students understand the myriad ways that they and their clients are enfranchised or disenfranchised. A more helpful way to view one’s privileged status, particularly when it has
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