Cultural (Incompetence), Justice, and Expectations of Care: An Illustration


The health care industry seems prima facie obligated to respond to the demands and expectations of those multicultural communities that make up its stakeholder base. However, as prima facie, this obligation fails to justify “cultural competence” amongst health care professionals or the health care industry. Without some justification, one can only assume that cultural competence is a bilateral process requiring multicultural communities themselves to assume the responsibility for their own care. Relying on a Rawlsian conception of justice, I argue against the view that cultural competence is a bilateral process in this case, and that health care professionals in particular and the health care industry in general have an obligation to attain to cultural competence in order to satisfy a fundamental principle of justice, what Rawls calls the “difference principle.

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