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Michigan State University

DEI Resources: Culture & Cultural Compentency


Culture: the customs, beliefs, behaviors and/or achievements of a particular time and/or people; behavior within a particular group.

Cultural appropriation: Theft of cultural elements for one’s own use, commodification, or profit — including symbols, art, language, customs, etc. — often without understanding, acknowledgement, or respect for its value in the original culture. Results from the assumption of a dominant (i.e. white) culture’s right to take other cultural elements.

Cultural competence: an ability to interact effectively with people of different cultures, particularly in human resources, non-profit organizations, and government agencies whose employees work with persons from different cultural/ethnic backgrounds. Cultural competence has four components:

  1. Awareness of one's own cultural worldview
  2. Attitude towards cultural differences
  3. Knowledge of different cultural practices and world-views
  4. Cross-cultural skills (developing cultural competence results in an ability to understand, communicate with and effectively interact with people across cultures.

Colors of Resistance. Definitions for the Revolution.

Ontario Human Rights Commission. Glossary of human rights terms.


Cultural Competency

Michigan State University