Lesson 4: On Cross Cultural Care

Welcome to Lesson 4, On Care. Like Gratitude, Humility and Empathy I see Care as something better thought of as a skill than otherwise. Too often in my community work (mostly in diverse, urban communities) I have seen people show up to help on their own terms without thinking about the needs or cultural differences in their community. The results can be at times disastrous. Thinking of caring as a skill affords us the opportunity to slow down, think, learn, reason, and adapt our care for others to be effective.

In other words… caring should be about the needs of cared for and not the needs of the one providing the care.

Intersectionality – the analysis of how race, class, and gender interact to create systems of disadvantage that are interdependent is the cultural identity topic for this lesson.

Let’s look closer at the definition of intersectionality… view this a short 3:03 video about the term.


Our sociological look at intersectionality is well captured by the Four I’s of Oppression. View the 3:23 video below:


Dr. Yamonte Cooper synthesizes these concepts effectively for career services professionals.
Read his excellent article.   

My hope is that the presentation of these complex ideas encourages your thinking that effective care is more than a feeling or desire to act, but in fact is a skill that takes knowledge and practice to perform.

How can one effectively care for others when cultural identities are so many, their intersection is so complex, and all of this occurs within interlocking systems of oppression?

Broaching is the primary technique I use in this regard. Day-Vines (2007) defines broaching in the following quote, “broaching is more than consideration or acknowledgement of racial and cultural factors; it refers to the counselor’s explicit efforts to both initiate and respond to the sociocultural and sociopolitical concerns during treatment.”

Using this one “meta-technique” is important to me for two reasons:

  1. A singular focus helps me from becoming overwhelmed by the complexities of cultural, intersectionality, and oppressions. This is not to avoid the complexity, but to help me remain consistent and engaged with my cross-cultural commitment.
  2. Broaching as a technique puts the responsibility on me, a person often with more power, to open the door to aspects of cultural identity while empowering the client to define the identities important to them, decide whether or not I am a safe person with which to discuss intersectional issues, and determine how to incorporate culture into their career development process.

Before we transition to the dialogue video, please read the brief report on broaching.   Please view the short dialogue, 13 minutes found below, where I will further discuss Broaching and the 3 D’s identified above.


Please spend some time before the next lesson sitting with this lesson. Do you know what you need to know and how to show effective cross-cultural caring?

Now that you have finished with Lesson 4, answer questions 10-12 on your worksheet.  Once you mark this lesson complete, you can go to Lesson 5, the final one of the course!