56 Culturally Competent and Diversity-Sensitive Practice and Cultural Humility other based upon their perceived similarities stood in the way of her clients’ ability to engage with her. Instructors can then ask students to think about the ways in which they may appear to be similar to their clients, but also about underlying differences that may exist. 3. When discussing specific concepts like microaggressions, critical race theory, intersectionality, and privilege, instructors can begin with brief lectures to introduce them and explain their significance and implications for social work practice. We have been able to elicit from students their personal expe- riences with microaggressions, which powerfully conveys to all how insidious and hurtful these experiences are. If students are reluctant to acknowledge or do not have any such experiences, instructors can share their own encounters, as we did in this chapter. When we discuss intersectionality, we usually can elicit from students the multiple groups with which they identify. We also will use our own experiences if needed. Unlike microaggressions, however, students are usually able and willing to discuss their personal experiences of intersectionality. Understanding One’s Social Identity and Position Instructors are likely to have begun this conversation when discussing the var- ious identities and positions that individuals occupy. Students will inevitably begin to recognize the various social groupings with which they identify and positions that they hold as we present content on clients’ social reality. 1. Instructors can facilitate this discussion by asking students to think about the lengthy quotes that we include from Michael Spencer’s insightful article in Social Work. We believe that his honesty and ability to be self-critical and -reflective powerfully models for students what it means to be culturally com- petent and sensitive to diversity. 2. Instructors can ask students to identity the ways in which the privilege that is associated with being professional social workers is manifested in their work. This point may be lost on students because they have yet to appreciate the power that comes with their role as social workers. 3. You can encourage students to consider ways in which their social posi- tions privilege them and elicit their reactions to this. Referring to Spencer’s discussion of humility, the instructor should make the point that we emphasize: We do not want our students to feel guilty about any privilege that they enjoy. We simply want them to understand that their privilege has not been earned, just as the marginalized status of others has not been earned. Students also can be asked to identify the doors that have been opened for and opportunities that have been made available to them because of their privileged positions.
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