Please watch the 2 videos and read the articles below before completing quiz.
Implicit Bias, Stereotype Threat and Higher Ed | Russell McClain | TEDxUniversityofMarylandBaltimore
Did you judge me? Transform stereotype, racism, and your world | Zamina Mithani | TEDxStanleyParkThe following is a compilation of two articles from Let’s Empower, Advocate, and DO, Inc. (LEAD). LEAD is an industry leader in mental health education, committed to providing training and curriculum to strengthen mental health literacy, promote lifelong well-being, and build community resilience.
The Ultimate Guide to Being a Culturally Competent Camp Professional
The U.S. is becoming increasingly racially and ethnically diverse, making the ability to effectively navigate interactions with people of different cultures and backgrounds – a skill known as cultural competency – more important than ever.
Camp, in particular, is a place where kids and staff from all different backgrounds come together and learn from new perspectives. In camp settings, campers and staff are united under the identity of their bunk or age group, causing differences between them, oftentimes unknowingly, to be swept under the rug in order to appear more bonded as a group.
What is culture?
While most people tend to think of just race, ethnicity, and sexuality when it comes to culture, there’s so much more! Here are just a few examples of culture:
– Socioeconomic Status
– Music Taste
– Food Habits
– Family Structure
In short, culture is all the people, practices, and factors that influence one’s life. Even being a camper or working at camps is its own form of culture!
Let’s talk about the distinction between little “c” culture and big “C” Culture
– Big “C” Culture refers to the noticeable aspects of culture such as movies, flags, literature, artists, musicians, and sports.
– Little “c” culture refers to implicit aspects of culture such as communication, politeness norms, values, and views
It’s the little “c” culture that is most often the cause of miscommunication, prejudices, and misconceptions, as these aspects are the hardest to recognize and most important to be aware of. As camp professionals, there’s a responsibility to both open kids’ minds up to different cultures while also making everyone feel validated in their own experiences. This is no easy job, but certainly an important one.
What is cultural competency?
Cultural competency refers to the ability to understand, communicate, and interact with other cultures effectively. It is often thought of in terms of four main components:
1. Awareness of your own culture and belief systems
2. Attitude towards other cultures and cultural differences
3. Knowledge of other cultures which allows you to interact more effectively
4. Skills of cross-cultural interaction and navigating cultural differences
Because cultural competency is oftentimes interpreted to be a one-time skill that serves as a means to reach an end goal, the term cultural humility was introduced. Cultural humility, unlike cultural competency, suggests a lifelong process of learning and self-reflection.
Coming from a place of humility when interacting with people from different cultures is the best way to make sure you’re being respectful of others and responsive to their needs, wants, and concerns.
What should camp staff do to be culturally-competent?
The first step camp staff can do is be aware. Be aware of your own biases and those of the people around you, staff, and campers alike. Put yourself in other people’s shoes. Ask yourself, was that an appropriate thing to say? Do others think it was an appropriate thing to say? Camp staff should constantly be checking themselves on how their language and actions make others feel.
The second step camp staff can do is speak up against all forms of racism. If you hear or see something that is offensive to a minority group, it is your job to speak up. It’s critical to remember that in camp and in life, it’s never a minority group member’s job to educate others on things like racism. If you hear something that’s not right, call it out and use it as a learning opportunity!
Creating a culturally-competent camp takes commitment to change from every staff member, on every level.
Challenge Report: How Racism Impacts Campers’ Experiences At Camp
2020 has been a year characterized by the ongoing fight for racial justice. The events of this year have led many to realize that the war against racism and discrimination in America is far from over. Each one of us has a responsibility and duty to actively stand up against all forms of racism.
This year has solidified that, those with privilege, whether based around race, gender, or socioeconomic status, have the responsibility to actively create a more inclusive society.
Conversations about anti-racism aren’t always the most comfortable to have and it may seem like there’s no room to talk about serious issues when kids are having fun, but it’s critical to remember that the effects of racism are systemic and always present. Being aware of systemic racism and how it makes marginalized campers feel is the first step to creating a culturally competent environment where all campers can feel comfortable.
Think about the format of activities for a typical camp: fishing, swimming, camping, sports, etc. While the purpose may be to encourage fun and group bonding, it’s important to recognize the historical significance behind these activities and why some minority campers may experience them differently than their white campmates.
In the pre-civil war South, survival skills were paramount to escaped slaves when fleeing North towards freedom; It was a matter of life or death. As such, what might be a fun outdoor adventure for a white camper, might carry a lot more trauma for a Black camper; They might be considering the struggles of their ancestors and wondering why they would want to do these same things for fun.
In 2017, the American Camp Association (ACA) found that:
– 27% of all campers belong to racial or ethnic minorities
– Over 70% of all campers are white
– 92% of camp directors are white
When these statistics are taken together, it becomes clear why minority campers might feel intimidated or even unwelcome when first arriving at camp.
The 3 main ways that racism shows up in everyday camp life:
– Implicit Bias
Stereotypes are “fixed, overgeneralized beliefs about a particular group of people or person; it can be gender, ethnicity, or cultural-based.” Stereotypes can be extremely harmful to both campers and staff if they feel they are being forced into a mold that they don’t fit into. Oftentimes, stereotypes prevent us from seeing people as unique individuals but instead as monolithic members of a larger group.
Since campers come from all different backgrounds and their adolescent brains haven’t fully developed, the use of stereotypes can be a major issue at camps. Harmful stereotypes at camp show up in many ways, such as:
– A camper assumes that their black campmate can’t swim
– A camper assumes that their Chinese campmate is really good at math
– A camper assumes that their Native American campmate lives in a teepee
Even when campers don’t mean harm by having these stereotypes, they can be extremely damaging and traumatic to minority campers.
Implicit biases are “attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions unconsciously.” In other words, implicit bias is when our unconscious thought processes affect the wats we view the outside world and make decisions. Implicit bias is directly shaped by the different ways people are socialized throughout their lives. As such, implicit bias tenders to favor those most like us. For example, your unconscious bias may lead you to befriend people of the same race, socioeconomic status, educational background, etc.
Implicit bias at camp shows up in many ways, such as:
– A counselor always pick white campers first for group activities
– A camper only befriends other campers of the same race
– A camp only advertises in higher soci0-economic neighborhoods
While implicit biases are unconscious, they have real and damaging consequences by establishing in-groups and out-groups at camps and must always be monitored.
Part of the beauty of camp is getting to know kids that don’t go to the same school or live in the same neighborhood. When implicit biases are not addressed and campers are unknowingly separated into groups based on race or background, both campers and staff miss out on valuable opportunities for cultural exchange. Research shows that kids who interact with members of another race at a young age grow up to be more accepting and tolerant adults.
Microaggressions are “subtle verbal or nonverbal insults or denigrating messages communicated towards a marginalized person, based on their cultural differences, often by someone who may be well-intentioned but unaware of their impact”. While individual microaggressions might not seem like a big deal, their cumulative effects over time can be large and devastating to marginalized communities.
Microaggressions at camp show up in many ways, such as:
– “No, where are you really from?”
– “Can I touch your hair?”
– “You speak good English.”
– “When I look at you, I don’t see color.”
– “I’m not racist. My Black friend said it was okay.”
Campers should never be made to feel that they are inferior due to their race or ethnicity.
Rivin, M. E., & Brennan, S. (2020, December 16). The ultimate guide to being a culturally-competent camp professional. Retrieved from https://leadnowdotorg.wordpress.com/2020/12/16/the-ultimate-guide-to-being-a-culturally-competent-camp-professional/
Rivin, M. E., & Brannan, S. (2021, January 03). Challenge report: How racism impacts campers’ experiences at camp. Retrieved from https://leadnowdotorg.wordpress.com/2020/12/16/challenge-report-how-racism-impacts-campers-experiences-at-camp/