Mudcat Café message #2806198 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #126198   Message #2806198
Posted By: M.Ted
07-Jan-10 - 08:36 PM
Thread Name: BS: Multicultural Competence
Subject: RE: BS: Multicultural Competence
I live in a county that has a large multicultural population--meaning simply that a significant number of our neighbors have come from different places. "Multicultural Competence" isn't a buzz word or an obfuscation here, it is a survival skill--

For teachers and school administrators, it means understanding how to manage the fact that the kids at the local middle school speak any one of 71 different languages at home, for police and public safety officials, it means dealing with rural villagers who don't realize that they can't walk down the middle of a road like they did in Central America, for store managers, it means knowing that the Pakistanis who have signed up to work on Christmas Eve have to be taught to say, "Merry Christmas" to the customers. For realtors, it's figuring out what floor plans will work for an Ethiopian extended family with 11 adults.

It isn't just the home-growns who need to develop the competence, either--yesterday, I was in a sandwich shop with three Latina order takers, one of whom began speaking to the Vietnamese-American woman ahead of me in Spanish.

It is really is the skill of recognizing situations where someone isn't familiar with what what is going on, and developing a strategy for bridging the gap.