The Culturally Proficient Law Professor: Beginning the Journey
29 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2018
Date Written: February 13, 2018
Cultural proficiency is defined by Dr. Kikanza Nuri Robins and her colleagues as, “the policies and practices of an organization or the values and behaviors of an individual that enable that agency or person to interact effectively in a diverse environment.” Prior scholarship argued that the adoption of the cultural proficiency paradigm by legal educators could help catalyze a cultural shift in legal education from an environment that often marginalizes diverse law students to a more inclusive one. This Article and prior work argue that engaging in culturally proficient legal instruction offers three implications for legal education. First, the paradigm of cultural proficiency empowers legal educators with concrete tools to deconstruct a culture of marginalization and reconstruct a culture of inclusion. Second, adoption of culturally proficient legal instruction makes clear that all stakeholders in legal education must share the work of cultural inclusion that is often placed upon the shoulders of diverse law students, law faculty, and staff. Third, the paradigm creates an opportunity for legal educators to teach cultural proficiency across the curriculum.
There is much an individual law professor can do to leverage the paradigm of culturally proficient instruction. As such, this Article builds on prior work by examining threshold strategies individual law faculty members can implement to begin the journey of delivering culturally proficient instruction to law students and engaging in culturally proficient student interactions. This work examines three strategies for the individual law professor interested in culturally proficient legal instruction: (1) seek training on the paradigm of cultural proficiency, (2) mitigate unconscious behaviors such as implicit bias, racial anxiety, and stereotype threat, and (3) recognize and reduce microaggressions.
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