Multicultural Competency

The term “cultural competency” has become controversial within the racial equity field, because it has become understood as helping people (often white, middle/upper class people) provide effective services to other people (clients, new immigrants and refugees) who are from different racial/ethnic and class groups than the service provider. Some of the work done under the guise of cultural competency came to be associated with white dominant culture thinking.

Paul Kivel, who uses the term multicultural competency, notes that this is a lifelong process that “… should provide you with skills for promoting the leadership of those from the cultures in which you are competent. As we become more multiculturally competent, we increase our effectiveness in working with diverse populations, but we cannot substitute for people who are experts in their own culture.”


Beyond Diversity: The Role of Cultural Competence in an Effective Michigan Public Defense System
Cultural Competence and Public Defense, Michigan Workgroup
CSSP Staff Core Competencies for Working to Achieve Racial Equity
Center for the Study of Social Policy
Developing Culturally Responsive Approaches to Serving Diverse Populations: A Resource Guide for Community-Based Organizations
Michael López, Kerry Hofer, Erin Bumgarner, and Djaniele Taylor
National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families
National Best Practice Framework for Indigenous Cultural Competency in Australian Universities
Wendy Nolan et al.
Universities Australia
On the Road to Social Transformation: Utilizing Cultural and Community Strengths to End Domestic Violence
Elsa A. Rios
National Latino Alliance for the Elimination of Domestic Violence


Cultural Competence and Social Justice: A Partnership For Change
Jonathan Stacks, Andrés Meléndez Salgado, and Sara Holmes
Youth Empowerment Initiatives
Cultural Competency for Social Justice
Diane Goodman
Multicultural Competence
Paul Kivel
The Role of Self-Assessment in Achieving Cultural Competence
Tawara Goode
National Center for Cultural Competence (NCCC)

“Any attempt to change a situation either politically or otherwise should be based on the transformation of our own consciousness… You have to understand yourself to some extent, and to the people in the communities, to their deepest desires, their suffering. That kind of deep looking will bring about more understanding of self and of the community… You learn to look not with individual eyes, but with the community eyes. Because the collective insight is always deeper than individual insight.”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist monk


Reverse Racism – Aamer Rahman, Fear of a Brown Planet

Also in this section:
  • Addressing Trauma and Healing

  • Caucus and Affinity Groups

  • Community Organizing

  • Hate Crimes Prevention and Response

  • Organizational Change Process

  • Training and Popular Education

  • Advocacy

  • Community Building

  • Conflict Transformation and Restorative Justice

  • Leadership Development

  • Policy and Legislative Change

  • Youth Activism and Intergenerational Work

  • Arts and Culture

  • Community Engagement

  • Dialogue and Deliberation

  • Narrative Change

  • Racial Reconciliation