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Dismantling Racism

What Is?” series (developed by the General Commission on Religion and
Race).
What Is Cultural Humility?

Definition:
We are active participants in culture, which shapes our worldviews. Therefore, how we
engage with cultural differences impacts how we develop relationships with others.
Cultural humility is a way of being when we relate to cultural differences that consider
one’s culture not superior to others. A definition of cultural humility is “the keen
awareness of how culture shapes all individuals’ experiences and perspectives,
including the impact of power, privilege, and oppression.”* In other words, cultural
humility is moving us away from understanding the experiences and perspectives of
others as an outcome but rather as a process.
*Fisher-Borne, Marcie, Jessie Montana Cain, and Suzanne L. Martin. “From mastery to
accountability: Cultural humility as an alternative to cultural competence.” Social Work
Education 34.2 (2015): 165-181.
Example(s) of Cultural Humility:
The shift from cultural competence to humility is not simply one of semantics but rather
emphasis. Competence assumes a destination, that a person or a community can reach
a level of mastery as it relates to human differences. In contrast, humility suggests a
process, a lifelong journey toward awareness that allows us to better see and meet
people where they are. 
Imagine yourself at a new local restaurant serving food different from your culture of
origin. When you order what you thought was a dish you are familiar with, the dish
comes out with a different flavor profile or texture; how do you navigate your emotional
experience? 
Cultural humility would invite you to consider your unspoken expectations and would
invite you to be curious rather than judgmental about the dish in question. Cultural
humility suggests that while you hold your particular convictions about an event or an
idea, you do so lightly, with a willingness to be changed or educated by each and every
cultural experience. 
Biblical/Spiritual/Theological Framing or References:

In his letter to the Colossians, the apostle Paul reminds their community that since they
are new spiritual creations in Jesus, part of what it means to be rooted in Christ is to
develop “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience (Colossians 3:12,
NIV).” Humility is at the root of what it means to be a disciple, to walk in the ways of
Jesus. When we think of cultural humility, we are invited to take a posture like Jesus: of
immense curiosity, openness to experience, and a growing willingness to be
transformed by the experience of another.
Reflection Questions:
 Where can I be more intentionally curious about the experience of another this
week without assuming I understand their experience?
 How can I better acknowledge the framework of another individual or community
and allow it to inform my decision making?