Community cultural wealth assets.
In this week’s podcast, Dr. Hayley Haywood discusses the concept of community cultural wealth. Community cultural wealth is a call to action to complicate and expand how we think about capital in our society. It challenges us to value and celebrate the various gifts and attributes that communities of color can bring into our education and workplaces.
6 Aspects of Capital
Dr. Hayley explains that community cultural wealth has six different types of capital –
- Aspirational capital – the ability to envision what could be, even when there is no clear model or path for us.
- Linguistic capital – the ability to speak multiple languages. This gift is often devalued and penalized in school and work environments.
- Resistant capital – the ability to show up authentically and embrace one’s true self and voice.
- Navigational capital – the ability to navigate spaces that are not created with us in mind.
- Familial capital – the knowledge and support families can provide, even if they have not attended college or worked in corporate spaces.
- Social capital – the ability to build relationships that can gain us access to power and financial capital.
Dr. Hayley gives examples of how each type of capital can be an asset. For instance, aspirational capital allows communities of color to envision and create new paths for themselves rather than relying on existing models. Linguistic capital allows people to communicate with a wider range of individuals, expanding the communities they can outreach to. Resistant capital allows people to show up authentically and embrace their true selves, even in spaces where they may face discrimination. Navigational capital allows people to navigate spaces that were not designed with them in mind, opening up new opportunities. Familial capital provides knowledge and support that can be invaluable, even if dominant narratives do not recognize it. And social capital allows people to build relationships that can gain them access to power and financial capital.
Value linguistic and cultural capital.
Our discussion on linguistic and cultural capital highlights the importance of recognizing and valuing the assets that communities of color bring to workplaces and communities. We emphasized that it is not that these communities lack capital but rather that their forms of capital are often undervalued and erased by dominant narratives. By reframing our understanding of what constitutes capital, we can create more inclusive environments that allow everyone to thrive.
One example of the importance of linguistic capital was when a client was missing out on customers because no one on the team was bilingual. This created a barrier for community members who felt they could not access the provided services. By having bilingual staff members who understand the community’s cultural nuances, organizations can better connect with and serve their target audience. This, in turn, can positively impact the bottom line.
We also discussed the concept of cultural appropriation, which occurs when organizations exploit the cultural nuances of communities of color for their own gain. This is a harmful and exploitative practice that erases the value of the cultural capital that these communities bring. It is important for organizations to recognize the harm that is caused by cultural appropriation and to value instead and uplift the cultural capital of these communities.
Dr. Hayley also touched on the idea of aspirational capital, which refers to the importance of having representation in positions of power and influence. While progress is being made in terms of representation, there is still a long way to go. Nurturing aspirational capital by redesigning systems and creating more equitable workplaces and communities is important.
Valuing community cultural wealth assets is crucial for creating more equitable workplaces and communities. By recognizing and celebrating the gifts and attributes of communities of color, we can create more inclusive environments that allow everyone to thrive. It is important to challenge dominant narratives and expand how we think about capital to value and uplift all forms of wealth and knowledge truly.
Redesign systems for equity progress.
The journey towards equity progress requires a holistic approach that goes beyond a few resume workshops or mentorship programs. It involves redesigning systems that historically perpetuate inequities and create new ones that value and uplift all forms of wealth and knowledge.
This episode emphasizes the importance of nurturing individuals from a young age and providing them with experiences that allow them to see what is possible. This means creating representative and culturally resonant spaces where individuals can show up as their full selves and feel valued. It also means providing individuals with the literacy to know what pathways are available to them. For example, the podcast highlights how one individual only got into higher education because they participated in a pre-orientation program and saw firsthand how powerful equity work could be.
The 6 P’s of Equity Progress
Redesigning systems for equity progress requires a multi-layered analysis examining ideology, policies, practices, people, programs, and power. Dr. Hayley introduces the six P’s of equity progress, which include perspectives, policies, practices, people, programs, and power. By examining each of these areas, organizations can identify where inequities exist and work to address them.
- The first P, people, emphasizes the importance of centering equity in all aspects of an organization’s workforce. This includes diversifying leadership, creating equitable hiring practices, and providing opportunities for professional development for all employees.
- The second P, practices, examines the cultural norms and structures that may perpetuate organizational inequity.
- The third P, perspectives, highlights the need for diverse voices and perspectives at the table. Organizations must actively seek out and listen to those who are traditionally marginalized or excluded.
- The fourth P, programs, emphasizes the importance of creating cultural spaces, affinity spaces, access programs, and mentorship programs that center equity.
- The fifth P, infrastructure, emphasizes the need for a supportive infrastructure that centers equity in all aspects of the organization. This includes policies, procedures, and resources designed to meet all employees’ diverse needs.
- Finally, the sixth P, progress, emphasizes the importance of taking a critical look at progress and assessing whether or not activities are truly leading to impact.
For example, when examining policies, organizations must be mindful that one size does not fit all. Policies that center business needs over people’s needs can perpetuate inequities. The podcast shares a story of an individual who was not eligible for paid maternity leave because she had not worked at her new job long enough. This policy does not consider the individual’s circumstances and needs and is not designed from an equity standpoint.
Equity requires a holistic approach.
Similarly, organizations must consider who and how they hire when examining practices. Referral systems can systemically advantage predominantly white communities, as their networks also comprise predominantly white leaders. To address this, organizations must create relationships with community-based organizations for referrals and tap into talent pipelines.
Dr. Hayley notes that organizations often fall short in their efforts toward equity. They rely too heavily on programs and policies that are not tailored to their employees’ needs. Instead, organizations must be willing to examine their cultures holistically and be open to new possibilities. This is especially important in the post-pandemic workplace, where employees’ needs have shifted, and health and wellness have become top priorities.
Creating equitable systems requires a comprehensive approach that examines all aspects of an organization. By valuing and uplifting all forms of wealth and knowledge, organizations can create more inclusive environments that allow everyone to thrive. It is crucial that organizations take a holistic approach to equity in order to create lasting change and progress toward a more just and equitable future.
Cultural wealth unleashes potential.
Cultural wealth refers to the knowledge, skills, and experiences that individuals from diverse backgrounds bring to the workplace. When organizations recognize and value this cultural wealth, they can tap into potential that may have been previously untapped.
Understanding and valuing cultural wealth is essential to creating an inclusive work environment. It allows individuals to feel seen and heard and promotes a sense of belonging. Employees who are valued are more likely to be engaged and productive. This, in turn, benefits the organization as a whole.
The Value of Knowledge
One way to tap into cultural wealth is to provide opportunities for employees to share their experiences and knowledge. This can be done through employee resource groups, diversity and inclusion training, and mentorship programs. Organizations can foster a sense of community by creating a space for individuals to share their cultural wealth.
Another way to tap into cultural wealth is to recognize and value different forms of knowledge. Traditional forms of knowledge, such as academic degrees, are important but not the only valuable forms of knowledge. Skills learned through life experiences, such as language proficiency or cultural competency, are important knowledge forms that should be recognized and valued.
In conclusion, cultural wealth is a valuable resource that organizations should tap into. Organizations can create a more inclusive and productive work environment by recognizing and valuing diverse knowledge, skills, and experiences. This, in turn, benefits both the employees and the organization as a whole. By investing in equity and valuing cultural wealth, organizations can create a more successful and sustainable future.
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