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27
Apr

Cultural Competency and Being An Affirming Practitioner

you’re barely alive: How do you know if your client is lying?

This reminded me of my foundation year.  After undergrad (I was a history major) I was trying to figure out what career to pursue.  I was passionate about social justice and human rights so I wanted a career that allowed me to focus on those issues.  What sealed the deal with social work was that wonderfully written preamble to the NASW code of ethics.  So later on I was dismayed when I would hear some of my fellow MSW students expressing heterosexist and ethnocentric sentiments. For example, our Diversity professor was a GLBT activist who was the founder/executive director of a very successful organization that provided services and advocacy for the local GLBT community.  During a class presentation a student casually used the term “Dyke” to describe a co-worker of hers.  She then got mad at the professor for taking her to task for this.  Another student was upset because the same professor took issue with her final paper in which she tried to justify her reasons for objecting to same sex-marriage based on her religious beliefs. BTW, she told us she was not homophobic because her best friend was gay.  She just felt that her friend (and our professor) should not be allowed to marry because according to her religion marriage was between one man and one women.  I’m not sure what happened to the first student because she transferred, but the second student graduated.  As far as I know she is out there right now practicing social work.

There was a day during my final semester in graduate school where this question was asked twice, in two different classes.Both times it was a part of a joke but the context and result were incredibly different. I like to tell this story because I think it illustrates just how vastly different…

Posted by Rachel L. West

In addition to being the founder of The Political Social Worker blog, I am a consultant. My consulting practice offers advocacy and community outreach solutions to nonprofits, social good organizations, and private practitioners. Additionally, I offer career coaching to macro social work students and professionals.

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