Cultural Humility: It’s Not Just about the Hijab

  • Val Livingston Norfolk State University
Keywords: cultural humility, cultural competence, self-reflection and critique, mindfulness


As the project director of a workforce development program for individuals receiving SNAP benefits, I encountered students from diverse backgrounds and cultures. We served largely Black/African American, Caucasian, Asian, and Latino individuals, but also attracted a small population of Middle Eastern students. The participants ranged from 18 to 59 years of age, and all were seeking free job training in order to enhance their earning potential. As a social worker, I have provided training on cultural competence and prided myself on my skills and knowledge of culturally competent interactions. Despite my perceived proficiency, one of my Middle Eastern female students provided an opportunity for me to examine my cultural competency skills and an opportunity to learn and experience something more—cultural humility.