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Your biases

Look at your cultural biases

Everyone has cultural biases. This does not mean that you are racist or that you discriminate against people based on their culture. It means that what you think and feel about a certain culture which is learnt through your own experience, the media, your upbringing, peers and colleagues, may not be true.

Reflecting on your biases requires you to be open to possibilities, to learn new things about people and their culture and to be ready to acknowledge that some things you have learnt are wrong. It is important to reflect on your own cultural bias and to think carefully about the ideas and beliefs that you hold about other cultural groups.

Ask yourself:

  • What do I think I know about this cultural group?
  • What are my assumptions about the gender roles and norms of this culture?
  • What are my assumptions about the use of violence in this culture?
  • What are my assumptions about men in this culture?
  • What are my assumptions about women in this culture?
  • How are children perceived?
  • What do I know about the cultural groups that live near my Child Safety Service Centre?
  • Where did I gain this knowledge?
  • Am I making assumptions or do I have real experiences of working alongside and learning from people from this culture?
  • How is this cultural group portrayed in the media and popular culture?
  • If they are portrayed negatively, what may be the reason for that?
  • How does this portrayal influence my ideas about this cultural group?
  • Are there aspects of this culture that I don’t understand or find difficult to relate to?
  • Who can I seek out who may help me see things differently?
  • How can I expand my knowledge and understanding about this cultural group?
  • Can I ask a trusted colleague to help me understand more about their culture?
  • What are my blind spots?
  • Can I ask a trusted colleague to notice and talk to me about those blind spots?
  • What do I know about the importance of religion for this cultural group?

It is not possible to become an expert on every cultural group. But it is possible to become a culturally competent worker and networker in order to keep children safe.

Being culturally sensitive and reflective in your practice is not to be confused with blaming a person’s cultural background for their violence. Religion and culture are not justifications for violence against mothers and children.

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