An Experiential Model for Cultivating Cultural Humility and Embodying Antiracist Action in and Outside the Social Work Classroom


  • Kerri Fisher Baylor University



White Supremacy Culture, cultural humility, DEI curriculum evaluation, Anti oppressive practice


Social Workers in academia may enjoy seemingly endless discussions and debates on ever-evolving “diversity concepts” including privilege, oppression, microaggressions, and white supremacy culture, but students and would-be allies are often stymied, if not altogether lost by the enormity of overcoming injustice. The 7E model for Cultural Humility and Antioppressive Practice provides specific and creative opportunities for personal and systemic change offering fledgling antiracists both structure and freedom on their unique paths to activism and allyship in keeping with their own individual, intersectional identities and bio-psycho-social development. The seven experiences discussed in the model (exposure, engaging, examining, evaluating enacting, educating, and evolving) are defined and explained. Teaching tools are provided.


Abrams, M. (2009). Critical race theory and the cultural competence dilemma in social work education. Journal of Social Work Education, 45(2), 245-261.

Crenshaw, K. W. (1989). "Demarginalizing the Intersection of race and sex: A Black feminist critique of antidiscrimination doctrine, feminist theory and antiracist politics. University of Chicago Legal Forum, 1989(1), 139-167.

Cunningham, M. (2004). Teaching social workers about trauma: Reducing the risks of vicarious traumatization in the classroom. Journal of Social Work Education, 40(2), 305-317.

Daftary, A. M. H. (2018). Critical race theory: An effective framework for social work research. Journal of Ethnic & Cultural Diversity in Social Work, 29(9), 439-454.

Fisher-Borne, M., Caine, J. M., & Martin, S. L. (2015). From mastery to accountability: cultural humility as an alternative to cultural competence. Social Work Education, 34(2), 165-181.

Ganote, C., Souza, T., & Cheung, F. (n.d.). Microresistance and ally development: Powerful antidotes to microaggressions.

Gottlieb, M. (2020). The case for a cultural humility framework in social work practice. Journal of Ethnic & Cultural Diversity in Social Work, online first, 1-19.

Hart, D. G. I. (2016). Trouble I’ve seen: Changing the way the church views racism. Herald Press.

Hutchison, E. (2016). Dimensions of human behavior: Person and environment (6th ed.). Sage Publications.

Jani, O., Osteen, P., & Shipe, S. (2016). Cultural competence and social work education: Moving toward assessment of practice behaviors. Journal of Social Work Education, 52(3), 311-324.

Lusk, T. (2017). Critical cultural competence in social work supervision. Human Service Organizations, Management, Leadership & Governance, 41(5), 464-476.

Mclaren, B. (2004). A Generous Orthodoxy. Zondervan.

National Association of Social Work [NASW]. (2015). Standards and indicators for competence in social work practice. NASW.

Okun, T. (2010). The emperor has no clothes: Teaching about race and racism to people who don’t want to know. IAP Information Gap Publishing.

Ortega, R. M., & Faller, K. C. (2011). Training child welfare workers from an intersectional cultural humility perspective. A paradigm shift. Child Welfare, 90(5), 27-49.

Paris, D., & Alim, S. (2014). Pedagogy beyond the white gaze. The Blog of Harvard Education Publishing.

Pharr, S. (1988). Homophobia: A weapon of sexism. Chardon Press.

Robinson, C. (2016). Teaching note-teaching intersectionality: Transforming cultural competence content in social work education. Journal of Social Work Education, 52(4), 509-517.

Ross, L. (2010). Notes from the field: Learning cultural humility through critical incidents and central challenges in community-based participatory research. Journal of Community Practice, 18, 315-335.

Saad, L. (2020). Me and white supremacy. Sourcebooks.

Sue, D. W., Capodilupo, C. M., Torino, G. C., Bucceri, J. M., Holder, A. M. B., Nadal, K. L., & Esquilin, M. (2007). Racial microaggressions in everyday life: Implications for clinical practice. American Psychologist, 62(4), 271-286.

Sue, D. W., Rasheed, M. N., & Rasheed, J. M. (2016). Multicultural social work practice: A competency-based approach to diversity and social justice (2nd ed.). Jossey-Bass.

Tervalon, M., & Murray-García, J. (1998). Cultural humility versus cultural competence: A critical distinction in defining physician training outcomes in multicultural education. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 9(2), 117-125.