Critical cultural consciousness


Building critical cultural consciousness

Critical cultural consciousness is characterized by the continuous critical refinement and fostering of a particular type of thinking and knowing – a critical consciousness – of self, others, and the world. It builds upon the elements of cultural competence to develop compassionate insight into the emotional, experiential, and cultural richness and depth that characterize social identities. It is an essential element for engaging in culturally safe practices.

Definition of privilege

  • Unearned entitlements extended to a certain group to the exclusion of others
  • Conferred dominance, which gives one group power over another

Skills and characteristics of critical cultural consciousness

  • Respect
  • Willingness to share, risk change and explore
  • Openness to each other’s differences
  • Commitment to understanding the power of actions and words
  • Openness to recognizing learning opportunities
  • Ability to employ critical self-awareness
  • Commitment to and responsibility for educating oneself about issues facing equity-seeking populations
  • Awareness of power and privilege
  • Willingness to create culturally safe places in learning and working environments
  • Commitment to working alongside equity-seeking groups to make a change in the world