Posted in theology

Critical Race Theory’s next step: “Cultural Humility”

By Elizabeth Prata


Are you culturally humble? If not, and you’re an employee of the city of Atlanta, you soon will be.

I am headed to the G3 Conference in Atlanta in a few days, so I was googling around to see what the Atlanta ordinances were regarding COVID, and also just researching the city. While Googling, I found this headline from September 21, 2021, which intrigued me in all the bad ways.

Atlanta City Council to require LGBTQ humility training for all city employees

You must be culturally humble. Or else.
EPrata photo

“Cultural Humility” is an odd term, and I began to look into it. I fell down a rabbit hole trying to get to the bottom of this secular term, one rife with sin and perversity, it turns out. Here is an excerpt from news of the Atlanta cultural humility homosexuality initiative linked above-

The Atlanta City Council has taken a step to offer better support to the LGBTQ community. Monday, the council unanimously voted to pass an ordinance that will require “LGBTQ cultural humility training” to all elected officials and employees of the City of Atlanta -- full-time, part-time, and contract workers. The online training will be required on an annual basis, managed by the city’s human resources department. “As a gay man I want to be able to bring my full and authentic self to work,” said Malik Brown. “Having this training where people can understand me and the cultural sensitivities and norms is really important.” Brown is the Director of LGBTQ affairs in The Mayor’s Office. He helped initiate the effort as part of Mayor Bottoms’ One Atlanta platform. The ordinance was sponsored by Councilwoman Carla Smith.

It is a required training. It will be annual training. It will be for all elected and municipally employed people of the city of Atlanta. This includes thousands of teachers, paraprofessionals, social workers, firemen, police, health industry workers… Thousands of people you interact with (if you live in the metropolitan area), that your children interact with. What is this new thing, “cultural humility”? How does it relate to Critical Race Theory (CRT)?

Voddie Baucham defined CRT as "this idea that we think about race and racism in terms of structures. And there are people who are arguing that when you think about race and racism in terms of the individual, you have a problem because you’re not addressing those structures. And when you think about others who say when you think about race and racism in terms of structures, you have a problem because you don’t address the individual. But, the new definition of racism, right, racism equals prejudice plus power." (Source)

Remember the CRT emphasis on power.

The philosophy of cultural humility originates from a seminal study published in 1998 by Melanie Tervalon and Jann Murray-Garcia titled, Cultural humility versus cultural competence: a critical distinction in defining physician training outcomes in multicultural education in the Journal Health Care Poor Underserved. 1998;9(2):117–125. The study was initially aimed at addressing health care industry workers’ power differentials in approaches to serving marginalized patient groups, but the philosophy has gravitated to other industries. The philosophy is now used for social advocacy via equity programs, as we notice in the city of Atlanta.

Cultural humility training is the next iteration of the Marxist philosophy Critical Race Theory and the perceived systemic racism against the ever-increasing segments of different marginalized groups that proponents insist are everywhere. The goal of cultural humility training is to “readdress power dynamics”.

Cultural humility training involves "A personal lifelong commitment to self-evaluation and self-critique; Recognition of power dynamics and imbalances, a desire to fix those power imbalances and to develop partnerships with people and groups who advocate for others; and Institutional accountability," (Tervalon & Murray-Garcia, 1998).

Power again. And because it is never-ending, (‘lifelong’) this is why the training reoccurs each year. You can never learn enough about these various oppressed people groups, such as the homosexual. you’re never done. It must be continual.

The authors of the original journal article, Tervalon and Garcia wrote, “This power imbalance dynamic is often compromised by various sociocultural mismatches between patients and providers, including providers’ lack of knowledge regarding their patients’ health beliefs and life experiences, and providers’ unintentional and intentional processes of racism, classism, homophobia, and sexism“. [Underline mine].

You can be ‘unintentionally’ sexist or classist or racist and not know it. Don’t worry, there are plenty of people around who will point it out, direct you to a training, and insist you continue to learn about your mistake. Forever.

Authors Tervalon and Garcia said that the training of medical professionals in prior years included training in “cultural competence”, but ‘we are now going beyond that’ and cultural humility training is the next iteration. Or as this University student’s thesis states, “Whereas cultural competence addresses individual viewpoints, cultural humility is focused on individual and systemic forms of racism.”

There’s that word systemic again, just as Voddie said. By the way, the thesis linked above is titled Fight the Powers That Be: Challenging White Supremacy Through the Cultivation of Cultural Humility Amongst Preservice and Practicing Educators, written by a Global Honors Student at the University of Washington/Tacoma.

Systemic again. We can never satisfy proponents of the aggrieved oppressed because we can never identify just who is doing the oppressing, and thus can only blame “the system”.

The agenda of CRT and its child of “cultural humility”, is to fundamentally foment change at all levels of society, infiltrating individual people’s thoughts as well as change how organizations think and operate.

Thus the advance of CRT and its growing spokes of the equity wheel, which now includes “cultural humility training,” is to achieve cultural transformation. See the following quote-

"The diversity and inclusion concept of cultural humility is a current instrument being employed by institutions and organizations that seek to achieve cultural transformation," said Juliana Mosley, Ph.D., Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Specialist for Salus University in Philadelphia, in her TEDx talk.

The old term, cultural competence, focused on self reflection and awareness, which is an individual, passive act. That’s now passé. Cultural humility goes beyond competence because it demands action. For example, the city of Decatur, GA is training their educators in cultural humility.

“Cultural humility turns our gaze inward on developing our self humility and a genuine interest in others,” Banks said. “In order to practice cultural humility, a person must also be aware of and sensitive to historic realities, like legacies of violence against certain groups of people, and be knowledgeable about key concepts related to racial equity, like anti-racism, implicit bias and systemic racism.” (Source). [Underline mine]

We know the “certain groups” include homosexuals, again as we learn of Atlanta’s training initiative.

Words used to have a certain meaning, commonly understood. Now these same words are culturally loaded and their meaning has shifted, yet many people find themselves unaware of this fact, or unable to defend their stances against CRT and equity training, because who doesn’t want to be “culturally sensitive?” “Humble”? Who wants to oppose “equity”? Even the word “diverse” is suspect now, as we see from the University of North Carolina’s equity training module #8 and #16, where diverse means homosexuals, particularly youth, from their own definition:

"We have chosen to use the term “Diverse Youth” here because we believe that this framework can be used to think about library services not only for BIYOC (Black, Indigenous, Youth of Color) but also for other marginalized user groups such as LGBTQ+". (Source UNC module 16) 

The Georgia city of Decatur is instituting this cultural humility training as part of its equity framework. The first step in the framework is to “normalize. Normalizing includes normalizing homosexuality, again, as noted from the City of Atlanta training initiative, the UNC training modules, and others I’ve researched.

Blacks, Indingenous, LGBTQ, BIYOC, female, disabled, etc, so many separate identities! We are shattering as a people into a thousand shards of separate identities, all of which have a bone to pick with the systemic whatever that is allegedly oppressing them.

This increasingly slivering of each person’s identity and background will continue until we are 8 billion individual slices of separate people existing in a wounded bubble of pity parties.

The only way to overcome cultural differences and be sensitive to others’ backgrounds and lives is outside of ourselves, by being joined through Christ. When we are in Christ, our background matters and doesn’t matter. The Lord says that in heaven there will be every tribe, tongue, and nation (Revelation 5:9), so He cares that we do have unique cultural backgrounds. He created us that way and this will carry through to the eternal state. Yet ultimately, our backgrounds do not matter as much as our identity in Christ does, for in Him there is no Greek or Jew, male or female, slave nor free, we are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28).

I wanted you to be aware of this latest shift in CRT. Just because your school, university, college, employer, or organization has so far refrained from instituting Critical Race Theory, elements of it are almost alive and organically shifting into ever-worse iterations that eventually, if the Lord tarries, WILL infiltrate your spheres of societal engagement, and maybe even your church. We need to be prepared to understand this fact, to resist these doctrines of man, and to be ready with personal decisions should worst come to worst.

See to it that there is no one who takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception in accordance with human tradition, in accordance with the elementary principles of the world, rather than in accordance with Christ. (Colossians 2:8)

Above all, Jesus must be glorified. His wrath upon our nation and other nations is obvious. And yet we have this hope, this knowledge, this surety-

For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over every ruler and authority; and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision performed without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. (Colossians 2:9-12)


Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.