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Emerging Issues Within Multicultural Psychology

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Emerging Issues within Multicultural Psychology: The Cultural Identity Crisis and Racism Elizabeth H. Dixon


April 28, 2011

Mary A. Cejka, M.S., Ph.D.

Emerging Issues within Multicultural Psychology: Culture Identity Crisis and Racism

As today's society becomes more globally oriented, there is interaction between people of different backgrounds and culture. Multiculturalism has become heightened by the reality that people from varying cultures are interacting daily, which is an emerging issue in the multicultural psychology field. In this paper the subject to discuss is the impact of two emerging issues on society-culture identity crisis and racism. Other points to discuss are an explanation of the affect that each issue has on the interaction among culturally diverse groups.

Culture Identity Crisis and Its Societal Impact

Cultural identity is a term used to describe cultural aspects that make individuals unique. Closely held values and norms are the core of diversity among groups of people, and as multiple groups of people from varying cultural backgrounds meet, an assimilation process usually begins. People try to practice assimilation while maintaining their cultural identity. In the midst of trying to maintain cultural identity, people are often rejected. "It is very difficult to get people to become productive members of society if that society is regularly rejecting them and their culture on a generational basis" (Cheruiyot, 2010, p.2). The fear of rejection and an inability to become productive members of society causes despair among groups of people. Ultimately they are in crisis as they have to choose between their own culture identity and acceptance by others. This can create adverse situations and affects interaction among culturally diverse groups of people.

Culture Identity Crisis and Its Affect on Culturally Diverse Groups

Culture identity crisis impacts interaction between culturally diverse groups because it exerts powerful forces on lives, influencing where a person lives, what he or she eats, and even what they wear (Ruderman, Mason, & Weber, 2007). A person who is trying to identify with others is usually a person in an ethical dilemma. The person may have to make choices that they may feel they should not. They must choose between the expectations of their own culture and finding ways to avoid mistreatment and racism from the other culture.

Racism and Its Impact on Society

There is an impact on society if a person does not have the opportunity to be fairly accepted by others and is placed at a disadvantage by doing so. Racism blooms in full colors and becomes an acceptable excuse for the person's so-called "lack of" when "racism is an attitude toward individual members of a racial group or toward the racial group as whole" (Gracia, 2010, Racism). A racist mind is built on manifestations of ignorant thoughts of others based on their physical characteristics and the color of their skin. Because these are the most obvious attributes of a person, comments and verbally violent remarks in the form of racial slurs and obscene gestures are often made by the racist person. These types of outward actions strain interaction among diverse cultures and strengthen the impact that racism has on culturally


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