Accommodating cultural differences and commonalities
The Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative in Roxbury, Massachusetts, is an example of a culturally-competent organization (The President's Initiative on Race, 1999).
Under the direction of a community-elected board that reflects the diversity of the community, the organization has been able to create an inclusive community that promotes equity and social justice for all its residents.
The neighborhood association, which was used to operating within a European cultural context, is struggling with engaging the new residents.
The association's board has put ads in the local newspaper about the association's activities, posted announcements about meeting times, and mailed out newsletters.
It's a system of rules that are the base of what we are and affect how we express ourselves as part of a group and as individuals. Our environment determines what we learn, how we learn it, and the rules for living with others.
These rules are transmitted from one generation to the next and are often adapted to the times and locale.
Each organization and its individual members should keep in mind that change is not easy for humans.
A culturally competent organization brings together knowledge about different groups of people -- and transforms it into standards, policies, and practices that make everything work.But when we learn to understand others we improve our chances of making things better in an increasingly multicultural world.There will be situations where people can be right on both sides of an issue or belief -- sometimes there may not be one right answer to a question.A group might share historical and geographical experiences, but individuals may share only physical appearance, language, or spiritual beliefs.Our cultural assumptions can lead us to wrong conclusions.
is non-threatening because it acknowledges and validates who people are.