What does it mean to be culturally competent? This question is the foundation for your examination of issues related to diversity and social justice this week. Culture influences all people and the lenses through which they view the world. Because the world comprises many cultures, these different perspectives represent opportunities for individuals to learn from one another, but they may become sources of conflict as well. Diversity encompasses more than racial and ethnic identities—issues such as class and gender cannot be ignored in discussions of cultural competency.
As a social worker, you bring your own lens—that is, your own set of assumptions, biases, beliefs, and interpretations—into your interactions with clients and the human services professionals with whom you collaborate. Human services organizations have their own cultures that influence their organizational lenses. An organizational lens reflects key assumptions about the individuals to whom the organization provides services. These assumptions influence the organization’s policies and procedures which, in turn, impact service delivery. For example, an organization that focuses on understanding the perspectives of the clients it serves may allow clients to provide feedback about their client experience through membership on advisory boards or boards of directors. The clients may have the power to make recommendations and decisions about the organization’s policies and procedures.
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Understanding cultural lenses—your personal lens, as well as those of the organizations and other individuals with whom you work and interact—will enable you to better serve your clients.
Focus on the Paula Cortez case study for this Discussion. In this case study, four professionals present their perspectives on the Paula Cortez case. These workers could view Paula’s case through a variety of cultural lenses, including socioeconomic, gender, ethnicity, and mental health. For this Discussion, you take the role of the social worker on the case and interpret Paula’s case using two of these lenses.
Post how you, as a social worker, might interpret the needs of Paula Cortez, the client, through the two cultural lenses you selected. Then, explain how, in general, you would incorporate multiple perspectives of a variety of stakeholders and/or human services professionals as you treat clients.
Support your post with specific references to the resources. Be sure to provide full APA citations for your references.