Teaching Cultural Humility with Cultural Humility

July 12, 2022

As we at Bridge of Hope embark on the journey of learning about Cultural Humility and teaching its concepts to those around us, it’s important to remember that Cultural Humility cannot be taught without being one with its principles. What does this mean? This means that understanding Cultural Humility, its tenets, and how to incorporate them into your own life is crucial before and even while teaching others.

There are several things to know and understand about Cultural Humility aside from its tenets that I would like to share.

  1. We shift between various cultures throughout our daily routine: It’s important to take note of the combination of cultures we experience in our daily lives. For example, your home culture is likely different than your work culture. Are you aware of how? Have you ever reflected on the roles you play in different environments? We cannot truly understand the makeup and context of someone’s life without being aware of the roles we take on, what they mean to us and how they impact our lives.
  2. Cultural Humility requires Historical Awareness: Before teaching or practicing Cultural Humility, I encourage you to take a look at historic realities that have a significant impact on different groups of people, such as oppression and racial injustices. It’s not only important to be aware of our own realities, but to be aware and sensitive to what other groups of people have had to endure throughout history.
  3. Cultural Humility differs from Cultural Competency: Cultural Humility is a lifelong process that evolves as you learn, self-reflect and increase self-awareness. With Cultural Humility it’s okay to admit to what you don’t know, while being willing to lean into learning. Cultural Competency is the ability to understand and appreciate other cultures; but does not look at lifelong learning and self-reflection or mitigating power imbalances and institutional accountability like Cultural Humility does.
  4. Approach those you are introducing Cultural Humility to with Cultural Humility: There may be times when people are hesitant or resistant to learning about Cultural Humility and its concepts. It’s important to offer patience and understanding while bringing others along on this journey. What’s causing any discomfort? What are you learning as you navigate through this sensitive scenario? Has the person reflected on why there may be some resistance? What have you observed?

I hope with the information shared you feel empowered to continue this hard work. Understanding and practicing Cultural Humility takes time, graciousness and patience. It is a journey we are all on together!

By Rachelle Morgan, Director of Cultural Humility and Network Enrichment, Bridge of Hope National

Teaching Cultural Humility with Cultural Humility