Social Justice denotes the creation of conditions suitable for members in a community to have equitable access to services, resources, and opportunities. For there to be Social Justice in our diverse societies today, cultural education must be conducted. Diversity is part of human nature. Human beings are made strong through their similarities but more so through their differences. That is what allows for a diversity in ideas, in opinions and thought. A lot of the ideas that are prominent in the world today including Democracy are a result of human diversity. In light of this, people working for social awareness should portray cultural awareness. Keep reading to understand what this means.
Cultural Awareness Implies Being Self Aware
To properly serve the ends of social justice, a social justice worker must portray self-awareness. As a requirement of cultural awareness, this requirement demands that such a worker be deliberately aware of their culture, its world view, its biases, and prejudices. A deliberate understanding of one’s culture may bring to the open certain truths that one should be aware of as they seek social justice. For instance, if one is introspective enough they may realize that some of the issues facing our communities include an inherent sense of superiority and privilege in some members of the community. This understanding may also reveal that many in the community have to deal with the consequences of being deemed inferior to others. By understanding this truth a social justice worker will be able to be more inclusive and effective.
As mentioned before cultural awareness for social justice implies an understanding that there is beauty and strength in diversity. A good social worker should be able to understand the intricacies of how different cultures within their community think and their world view. So to speak they should be able to put themselves in different culture’s shoes. They must understand that because diversity is a natural human characteristic, sometimes there is not always one way of doing things or one way of thought. More so, they must realize that many communities are unable to express their diversity and this has an effect on their access to social justice. In so doing, the social worker’s impact will be deeper in their communities
Acknowledging the Presence of Inequity
A social worker should not be blind to the many intentional and unintentional inequities within he/she’s community. Doing so also implies having an understanding of the historical circumstances that lead to these inequities. Such an understanding also allows the social worker to understand the role of access to power in resolving some societal inequities. Where equity implies access to equal opportunity, service, and resources, inequity implies unequal access, such that some communities are left more impoverished than others as a direct result of this. Acknowledging the presence of inequalities will help the social worker to understand their role as advocates of social justice within their communities.
Embracing other Cultural Identities
Cultural awareness for social justice also implies being able to embrace and include as many cultures as possible within the sharing of resources, access to services and access to opportunities.
In conclusion, cultural awareness for social justice means the creation of conditions suitable for all members within a diverse community to have equitable access to services, resources, and opportunities. This awareness can only happen with the exercise of certain skills listed above. For there to be Social Justice in our diverse societies today, cultural education must be conducted to make social workers aware of these skills. This is because diversity is part of human nature such that human beings are made strong through their similarities but more importantly through their differences. To that end, a lot of the ideas that are prominent in the world today are a result of human diversity. The skills required in the promotion of social justice through cultural awareness include self-awareness whereby the social worker understands their culture’s world outlook, biases, and prejudices, valuing diversity, where the social worker embraces diversity, acknowledging the existence of inequities in order to resolve them, and embracing other cultural identities. It is only in so doing that true social justice can be achieved in our diverse communities.