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2001 Jordan Institute
for Families

Vol. 6, No. 2
May 2001

Self-Assessment For Those Who Work With African Americans And Other Minorities

The following self-assessment, excerpted from the article Cultural Competence in Child Welfare by Anna R. McPhatter, is one way of evaluating where you are as a practitioner and a person when it comes to spending time with those who are different from yourself.

    1. How much personal/social time do I spend with people who are culturally similar to or different from me?
    2. When I am with culturally different people, do I reflect my own cultural preferences or do I spend time openly learning about the unique aspects of another person's culture?
    3. How comfortable am I in [being immersed in a different culture], especially when I am in the numerical minority? What feelings and behaviors do I experience or exhibit in this situation?
    4. How much time do I spend engaged in cross-cultural professional exchanges? Is this time spent in superficial, cordial activity, or do I undertake the risk of engaging in serious discourse that may divulge my fears and lack of knowledge?
    5. How much work have I actually done to increase my knowledge and understanding of culturally and ethnically distinct groups? Does this work include only an occasional workshop in which I am required to participate? What are my deficiencies and gaps in knowledge about important cultural issues?
    6. What is my commitment to becoming culturally competent? What personal and professional sacrifices am I willing to make in the short term for the long-term benefit of all children and families?
    7. To what extent have I nondefensively extended myself in approaching professional colleagues with the goal of bridging cultural differences?
    8. Am I willing to discontinue representing myself as knowledgeable and as having expertise in areas of cultural diversity that I have not actually achieved?
    9. If I am unwilling to commit to a path leading to cultural competence, will I take the moral and ethical high ground and discontinue providing services to people I am unwilling learning about?

Source: McPhatter, A. R. (1997). Cultural competence in child welfare: What is it? How do we achieve it? What happens without it? Child Welfare, 76(1), 255-278.