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Anti Racist Multicultural Competencies

Report of the AAPC Racial Justice/Multicultural Competence Task Force

June 2010


Presis: The Racial Justice/Multicultural Competence Task Force recommends to the Board of Directors of AAPC that these Anti-Racist Multicultural Competencies be adopted as guiding principles of AAPC. In doing so, the members of the Task Force hope that AAPC will become an anti-racist and multiculturally competent organization in its governance structure, policy implementation, public documents and programs (website, publications, conferences, etc.), training, and practice of pastoral counseling.


Anti-Racist Multicultural Competencies

For the American Association of Pastoral Counselors


Working Definitions


Definitions of terms are always working definitions. Definitions evolve and language must continuously be updated. AAPC offers the following working definitions of key terms.


Culture is "the configuration of learned behavior and results of behavior whose components and elements are shared and transmitted by the members of a particular society" (R. Linton. (Ed.). (1945). The science of man in the world crisis. New York: Columbia University Press, p. 7). Race is a social construct by which the society classifies and divides people according to physical characteristics such as skin pigmentation and facial features. Scientifically, there is only the human race. Ethnicity refers to common cultural or ancestral origin shared by a group of peoples. Racism is a system of oppression. It is both individual and institutional. Institutional racism refers to social structural arrangements that endow unearned privileges to members of one group, while they bestow undeserved disadvantages to members of other groups. Today, racism exists, though it is mostly covert, often denied, and thus rendered invisible. Definitions of racism usually include the dynamics of color prejudice and institutional power. Everyone has prejudices, but not all prejudices have institutional power to enforce their feelings. Those who live at the pointed end of racial oppression know very well its devastating effects.


Monoculturalism unjustly advocates superiority of one culture over other cultures while other cultures are unjustly regarded as inferior. Monoculturalism views diversity of cultures as a barrier to human communication and in human relationships.  Monoculturalism propagates a master narrative by which minority narratives are subdued. Multiculturalism celebrates the contributions of cultures without idealizing any culture. Multiculturalism is not value free in that it advocates for social justice and democratic idealism, and affirms the equal worth of all human beings. Multiculturalism values the diverse perspectives of peoples of different backgrounds.



Statements on Anti-Racist Multicultural Competencies

To be anti-racist multiculturally competent, AAPC must commit itself for deep care for the governance, policy, and clinical training and practice that is intentionally inclusive and through which members are willing to hear the pains of those who have been historically, intentionally, and systemically excluded and disadvantaged.


The process of becoming anti-racist multiculturally competent AAPC includes AAPC members' commitment to: a) examine racial and cultural identity formation of pastoral counselors and its implications in personal life and clinical practice; b) analyze critically how AAPC's training, certification, and accreditation standards may reflect racism and monoculturalism, c) engage in contextual and multicultural analysis of all governance, policy, and practices, and d) express explicitly concern for managing differences and justice.


Furthermore, members of the AAPC commit themselves to become anti-racist multiculturally competent pastoral counselors by embodying the following values:


Anti-racist multiculturally competent pastoral counselors are committed to pursuing social justice and democratic ideals in which all persons are regarded as having equal worth regardless of identity markers, including but not limited to race, gender, age, sexual orientation, difference in ability, religion, language, and cultural or national origins.


Anti-racist multiculturally competent pastoral counselors appreciate human diversity as a gift, not a barrier, and engage in training and the practice of pastoral counseling in order to serve peoples from diverse backgrounds by acquiring the attitudes, knowledge, and skills needed for competent clinical practice.


Anti-racist multiculturally competent pastoral counselors acknowledge that the pastoral counseling movement in the United States has been significantly formed by White Anglo-Saxon Protestants and that AAPC's organizational structure, culture, governance, and public programs and documents have contributed to systemic exclusion of racial and cultural minorities.


Anti-racist multiculturally competent pastoral counselors are committed to bringing about individual, organizational, and societal changes to undo the devastating effects of ever-evolving forms of racism and prejudice and are always alert for and responsive to persons and groups experiencing new or newly recognized forms of exclusion.


Anti-racist multiculturally competent pastoral counselors engage in critical self-reflection about ourselves as well as the communities and societies to which we belong. Especially when we belong to dominant groups, multiculturally competent pastoral counselors acknowledge the privileges accorded to us by virtue of our identity and seek to distribute power equitably among all communities.


Anti-racist multiculturally competent pastoral counselors are committed to creating a safe space where all persons can work through the painful realities and conflicts that arise out of the history of domination and subjugation and out of the differences we bring from our traditions.


Anti-racist multiculturally competent pastoral counselors are committed to seeking justice "now" because they see the urgency of the individual, organizational and societal changes that must take place, and thus ask, "If not now, when?"


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