Cultural reflection: Critically reflect on how one’s own culture, life experiences and world view as well as dominant cultural paradigms, influence perceptions of and interactions with Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
This module is about REFLECTION of your cultural self and healthcare, racism and white privilege. You will continue your lifelong journey towards cultural capability by examining and reflecting on how one’s own culture and dominant cultural paradigm, influences perceptions of and interaction with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Within the Cultural Reflection capability module you will cover the following:
- Descriptor 1: Cultural Self and Healthcare;
- Descriptor 2: Racism;
- Descriptor 3: White Privilege
- Descriptor 4: Self-reflexivity
Descriptor 1: Cultural Self and Healthcare
This topic develops students’ ability to recognise and describe their own cultural and professional identity and how this influences professional practice.
Upon the completion of this topic you should be able to explore the limitations of one's own perspective and identify the implications this may have on delivering culturally safe health care service to Australia’s First Peoples.
On our journey to be culturally safe, we must become self-reflexive practitioners. In order to do this we must first understand our cultural self, our cultural self in health care, how to practice reflection and more importantly, how to practise critical reflection.
Cultural Self in Healthcare
Not everyone shares the same views about health and what it means to be healthy. Yet – our individual practice is influenced by our philosophy, our worldview, our framework – about how we think about health.
'Our healthcare systems often privileges a certain way of thinking and doing at the expense of others’ ways of thinking and doing, and therefore, their health and wellbeing (Taylor & Guerin, 2014). First People may view health differently and have a worldview that is largely different to the biomedical model of health that forms the basis of Australia’s healthcare system today. Understanding of this difference is fundamental to providing culturally safe healthcare for First Peoples.
A crucial part of being culturally capable, is being able to define our own culture to know how our own cultural identity influences and shapes our worldview (Smith, 2016).
Worldview: The paradigms that guide and determine the ways in which people see the world. Worldviews influence how people make sense of the world through systems of knowledge (Best & Fredericks, 2014).
What influences your worldview? Think about your beliefs, values and attitudes – where do these come from?
Descriptor 2: Racism
This descriptor introduces students to stereotypes and different forms of racism, and how these impact Australia’s First Peoples. The topic develops students’ ability to reflect critically on how racism and stereotypes impact health outcomes.
Read the following essay White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack (excerpt from Working Paper 189. "White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account
of Coming To See Correspondences through Work in Women's Studies" (1988) McIntosh).
Upon the completion of this topic you should be able to identify different forms of racism and prevailing stereotypes about Australia’s First Peoples and observe how they impact equitable health services access and health outcomes.
What is racism?
- Racism is the inequitable distribution of opportunity, benefit or resources across ethnic/racial groups;
- Racism is expressed through attitudes, beliefs, behaviours, norms and practices and may be either intentional or unintentional; and
- Racism is about power.
Racism can be both individual and institutionalised. Institutionalised or systemic racism describes the systemic disadvantage of racial minorities through systems and institutions (Taylor & Guerin, 2014).
Racism reflects, and is perpetuated by deeply rooted historical, social, cultural and power inequities in society. Racism is oppressive because it involves the systematic use of power or authority to treat others unjustly (Australian Psychological Society definition of racism, as cited in Ranzijn et al., 2009).
Most non-indigenous Australians are completely unaware of the persistent everyday racism experienced by First Peoples. Watch this short video from Beyond Blue about the ‘everyday’ racism experienced by First Peoples.
Descriptor 3: White Privilege
This topic introduces students to the concept of white privilege and how this impacts health outcomes and health care for First Peoples.
Upon the completion of this topic you should be able to define the concept of White Privilege and other social privileges and observe how this affects health care and health outcomes for Australia’s First Peoples.
What is White Privilege?
The concept of ‘whiteness’ examines how people with fair skin are dominant in society and have privileges that are unacknowledged (Taylor & Guerin, 2014). Although Australia has a culturally diverse population, non-Indigenous ‘white’ populations are the majority. This predominantly white ‘Western’ worldview has informed healthcare services and institutions and as a social norm is the basis of power (McDonald, 2007).
Watch this short video which demonstrates the concept of white privilege:
The purpose of examining the concept of ‘whiteness’ is to make the history and practices of white superiority in institutions and social life visible (McDonald, 2007). It is a way to confront cultural norms and expectations and that encourages health professionals to practise with multiple worldviews (Martin-McDonald & McCarthy, 2008).
A pivotal essay about White Privilege, was written in 1988, by Academic and Feminist, Peggy McIntosh (McIntosh, 1988), who identified some of the daily effects of privilege in her life, as a white person living in the United States.
Read her essay:
Implicit Association Test (IAT)
Project Implicit is a non-profit organisation and international collaboration between researchers who are interested in implicit social cognition - thoughts and feelings outside of conscious awareness and control. The goal of the organisation is to educate the public about hidden biases and to provide a “virtual laboratory” for collecting data on the Internet.
The Implicit Association Test (IAT) for social attitudes has been developed as a tool for exploring the unconscious roots of thinking and feeling, and allows individuals to gain greater awareness about their own unconscious preferences and beliefs.
It is not part of the assessment but you are encouraged to complete the IAT test on race hosted on the Harvard University website using the following link:
Health care services that make up the healthcare system in Australia are dominated by tertiary hospitals that largely treat patients at the end stages of disease using principles of Western medicine. What may be the implications of treating patients who share different views of health than the dominant biomedical model?
Taylor K, Guerin P. (2014) Health care and Indigenous Australians: cultural safety in practice
Best, O. Fredericks, BL. (2014) Yatdjuligin: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nursing and Midwifery Care
Moreton Robinson, A. (2009) Talkin’ up to the White Woman
Durey A. (2015) Antonio Gramsci and Pierre Bourdieu: ‘Whiteness’ and Indigenous Healthcare
Martin-McDonald K. McCarthy A. (2008) ‘Marking’ the white terrain in indigenous health research: literature review
Dudgeon P et al, (2014) Effective strategies to strengthen the mental health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People https://www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/6d50a4d2-d4da-4c53-8aeb-9ec22b856dc5/ctgc-ip12-4nov2014.pdf.aspx?inline=true
McIntosh P. (1988) WHITE PRIVILEGE AND MALE PRIVILEGE: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences Through Work in Women's Studies.