Working in the Community Sector Cultural Diversity


Cultural diversity, what is it?
We will start by defining culture.
Culture refers to the knowledge; ways of thinking, feeling and behaving that gives each society its coherence and its distinctive way of life. Culture is demonstrated by the beliefs, customs and values people generate and use them as they interpret meaning from their world and solve present and future problems. In other words it is the way we lead our life.
Cultural diversity is therefore a concept that acknowledges all of the different cultural groups that exist. It goes beyond ethnicity and includes: language, religion, beliefs, customs, kinship & family structures, family relationships, cultural norms& values, sexuality, disability, age, special needs, gender and gender relationships. We all belong to one cultural or sub cultural group. As community workers we need to value and respect each other’s cultural backgrounds as well as those of our clients.
Stereotyping is what happens when we assume that people from particular cultural groups are all the same, when in fact there is diversity within each culture. Some common stereotyping include :people from overseas are less skilled, disability is a punishment, non-Christian families are inferior ,Muslims are violent, there is so many examples that l could give. Stereotypes should not influence your working relationships. Working in the community services you will work alongside clients and colleagues who are from all these ranges of cultural diversity. It is your responsibility to ensure that all needs of your clients are being met. This means you must have an understanding of their cultural diversity and how you can meet their needs with regard to this. It may mean preparing their food a certain way, assisting them to wear a scarf etc. If we acknowledge that people are different, and their needs are different, we must include culture in this.
Communication also requires an awareness...