Tag Archives: law school

Cultural Competency

13 Aug

So law school orientation for your’s truly started this week. So far I have been doing very little learning about the law and a lot of learning about how hard it is to learn about the law. Mostly a fair bit of backhanded intimidation mixed with cleverly disguised assurances of hardship. I suppose that I did sign up for it.

Today I oriented myself to something which I found particularly difficult to conceptualize. I thought I might share it with you. Apparently, there is a popular movement in soft-skill circles called “cultural competency”. Here and here are examples and explanations. I don’t necessarily have problems with the ideas presented, but the title does baffle me. Cultural competency? How could you possibly become competent in culture? Doesn’t one gain competence at a particular skill or trade or ability? Culture surely isn’t something you can be competent in. Surely pseudo-bloggers know not to end their sentences with prepositions!

Am I so arrogant to think that I could learn to be “competent” in all of “culture” (including those things therin enclosed, contained, and encapsulated) in a two-hour period? Assuming that I am that arrogant (I am), what could becoming culturally competent possibly entail?

Well, to sum up the presentation from the wonderful PhD presenters from Kennesaw State University (who have achieved cultural competence): cultural competency is the realization that everybody is different, but that those differences do not mean we should treat each other differently. But (!) it is of utmost important that you do not deny those cultural differences. However, it is of equal importance that everybody is considered equally important. So everybody is different, but everybody should be treated the same.

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Maybe our cultured (and undoubtedly culturally competent) Intern Derrick can enlighten us to the ways of competence which I sorely lack and fail to understand.

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