"Cultural competence refers to the process by which individuals and systems respond respectfully and effectively to people of all cultures, languages, classes, races, ethnic backgrounds, religions, and other diversity factors in a manner that recognizes, affirms, and values the worth of individuals, families, and communities and protects and preserves the dignity of each."
--Indicators for Cultural Competence in Social Work Practice. National Association of Social Workers. 2007 p. 12-13.
Cultural competency is "the capacity to function effectively in cultural settings other than one's own. This will usually involve a recognition of the diversity both between and within cultures, a capacity for cultural self-assessment, and a willingness to adapt personal behaviors and practices."
--APA Dictionary of Psychology. American Psychological Association. REF BF31 .A63 2007 p. 249.
Cultural competency goes beyond diversity, enabling us to communicate our appreciation and respect for our differences in order to teach, assist, care for, and work with one another.
Adapted, with permission, from the Diversity Information Plus Guide by Teresa Ashley, Faculty Librarian, Austin Community College, Austin, TX.