Competency 4: Engage diversity and difference in practice.
Social workers understand how diversity characterizes and shapes the human experience and is critical to the formation of identity. The dimensions of diversity are understood as the intersectionality of multiple factors including age, class, color, culture, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, immigration status, political ideology, race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation. Social workers appreciate that, as a consequence of difference, a person’s life experiences may include oppression, poverty, marginalization, and alienation as well as privilege, power, and acclaim. Social workers
• recognize the extent to which a culture’s structures and values may oppress, marginalize, alienate, or create or enhance privilege and power;
• gain sufficient self-awareness to eliminate the influence of personal biases and values in working with diverse groups;
• recognize and communicate their understanding of the importance of difference in shaping life experiences; and
• view themselves as learners and engage those with whom they work as informants.
How I demonstrated my competency learning:
I demonstrated and accomplished learning each practice behavior in this competency by following the tasks I had set up for myself. I was able to go out to different communities and get a feel for what really was going on in Chicago. I wanted to see what some of my patients were experiencing while on the streets of downtown Chicago. I witnessed homelessness and helped serve meals for the homeless men and women by volunteering at Fourth Presbyterian Church. I was able to communicate with many homeless individuals at this church which was helpful for them to have someone listen to their story. Every face has a story behind it and every smile had shed tears of hurt and joy. I visited communities in Chicago and in the suburbs; I attended poverty presentations and allowed myself to be out in the community learning about different environments that may have shaped some of my patient’s current situations today. I learned how to reflect on my own personal biases, values, fears, and concerns by stepping out of my comfort zone and seeing the word with a different pair of eyes.