I had a conversation yesterday with a colleague from a different school about the difference between cultural competence and cultural humility. When I think about cultural humility, I am reminded to consider others first, particularly in terms of what others consider most important about their own identity and experiences. It also helps me remember to be humble with regard to what I value about my own identity and experiences. This is particularly important when I think about relationships with students, with faculty, staff, and community, and with friends and others whose identities are targeted. The beginning of Black History Month today is an important reminder for me to practice cultural humility and an important time to research, name, and honor the contributions of African Americans to our history and culture.
Cultural humility requires that I
- Engage in a lifelong commitment to self-reflection, evaluation, and critique,
- Desire and work actively to fix power imbalances where none ought to exist, and
- Develop partnerships with people and groups who advocate for others.
This is rigorous and significant work, and I am grateful that I have colleagues, allies, friends, and accomplices with whom to do it. Many of these people are a part of our Crossroads Community. This is necessary because cultural humility goes beyond individual identities and experiences and must be practiced by institutions and communities as well.
I recognize and value the diversity at Crossroads, and I acknowledge that I must continue to learn, reflect, and grow as a person and as a leader if I am to maintain a culturally humble relationship, teaching, and leading practice. Black History Month is an important mirror for our African American students and an important window for the rest of us as well. As a faculty, staff, and community, we will continue to work on making sure our curricula and faculty reflect our student population more accurately, learning, all the while, about what our students value most about their identities and experiences and therefore cultivating a more culturally humble community.
With great expectations,