Culture Matters

Culture Matters


What is culture? Culture is the blended patterns of human behavior that include languages, thoughts, communications, actions, customs, beliefs and values. Culture is important because it determines how we see and interpret the world. It plays a part in how we make decisions and impacts how we act and interact with others. Culture also influences the development of our individual cultural identity. Cultural identity is the feeling of belonging to a group. It is part of a person’s self concept and self perception and is related to nationality, ethnicity, religion, social, class, generation, locality, or any kind of social group that has its own distinct culture. In the multicultural workplace, knowledge about culture can bridge divides, build interpersonal connections, and smooth interpersonal processes between employees and with members of the public. Cultural competency is the ability of the Judicial Branch and its employees to communicate, cooperate, and serve people from all cultural identities with respect, professionalism, integrity, and fairness in a manner that recognizes the individual dignity of each person. My belief is that it’s especially important that the Judicial Branch be a culturally competent institution because we have seven million people coming through our doors every year who come from different cultures and backgrounds. It’s especially important for the Judicial Branch to be culturally competent because we are one of the three major branches of government, and when people access the Judicial Branch they want to know they’re being treated fairly. It’s essential for us to be able to provide access to the people that come through our doors and also to make sure that they have public trust and confidence in the institution. We have to have a total understanding of people and we have to accept people for who they are and what they are. Being culturally responsive means having interactions where the receiver feels their cultural identity is acknowledged, respected, and valued. In order to ensure that the Judicial Branch is culturally competent, what we’ve found is that training is essential. And training is the thing that gets us to look at ourselves, look inside and deep inside, and see whether we have any biases. But the bottom line for all of this is to treat people with dignity and respect.

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

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