Multicultural psychology is a field of study that looks into the different concepts of human conduct as it transpires in situations where individuals of different cultural origins integrate and do things together.
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It is a branch of psychology that tries to comprehend and represent the psychology of different people, groups and organizations adequately for the purpose of equal treatment due to the fact that there is a great diversity in the field of culture.
It does this by looking into different aspects associated with different people, for instance, stereotyping, prejudice, racism, and means of communication, different perceptions and opinions, discrimination, cultural identity, multicultural competence among others with the main aim of understanding the outcome of interaction of individuals with different cultural backgrounds.
This paper discusses emerging issues in multicultural psychology with much emphasis given to cultural identity development and racism.
Impacts of Cultural Identity Development and Racism on Society
Although multicultural psychology is a relatively new field of psychology that supplements the other branches of psychology like behaviorism, humanistic psychology and psychodynamics, there are various emerging issues in the field, for example, racism and cultural identity development.
Racism is an aspect which entails discrimination on the basis of racial differences where an individual from one race despises a person from another race or views people from a different race other than his or hers to be inferior or not measuring to his or her standards, for instance, the view of the black as being inferior to the whites.
It leads to different treatment of different people based on their race. Racism is so much evident in different cultures and to some extent it covers aspects like nationality and language other than just dwelling on physical distribution of people.
It has become a major problem due to developments in the world today, for instance, globalization and industrialization processes have brought people from different cultures and races together as they search for employment opportunities, education chances among other things that bring people together and they have to interact for things to work out well.
Individuals who face racism in the society end up hating themselves, becoming hopeless, blaming themselves for their situations and generally become psychologically disturbed because in most cases, they do not have control over the situation other than accepting it.
It, therefore, hinders people from attaining their dreams and reaching to points they would have wished to. In some instances, it may probe the urge to revenge on the victims especially through criminal activities as a means to hide their embarrassments and disappointments in life (Mio, Lori, and Tumambing, 2005).
Cultural Identity Development
Cultural identity is the feeling acquired by an individual or a group of people as a result of being attached or belonging to a certain culture or group of people with their unique way of doing things. It is a way through which people distinguish themselves from others and in a way, it acts as a determinant of how they unite with others.
It may be based on aspects like food, religious practices, and traditional dances, among others that distinctively identify an individual or a group of persons. Nowadays, there has been crisis in the aspect of cultural identity as people find themselves in the midst of different cultures. Coming together of individuals from different cultural backgrounds necessitates the exchange and fusion of the difference cultural attributes from the different cultures in one way or the other.
There is, therefore, a high likelihood of alterations or changes in the original cultures due to assimilation of the new cultural attributes to ones culture, although the individuals still remain distinct.
Cultural identity development crisis has both positive and negative impacts on society since it may result in harmonious integration and cooperation of different cultures or lead to original culture confusion and distortion through fusion of cultural attributes (Mio, Lori, and Tumambing, 2005).
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How Cultural Identity Development and Racism Will Affect the Interaction among Culturally Diverse Groups
Racism affects interaction among culturally diverse individuals and groups negatively as the discrimination on racial grounds make people not to value others as they consider themselves to be superior to the rest and they may even find themselves treating them unfairly. This will result to avoidance of one another hence hindering positive interaction.
Cultural identity, on the other hand, may either enhance or hinder interaction among culturally diverse individuals and groups. When people want to stick by their cultural identity, it may make it impossible for positive interaction with culturally different people while when there is fusion of the positive cultural aspects from other cultures, there will be good interaction among cultures as people come to understand each other well appreciating the diversity in cultures.
In conclusion, different people and communities have different cultural values and beliefs in regard to daily life. It is usually a hard task to understand and accept different cultures and people find themselves perceiving their own cultures as the best compared to the other cultures and in most cases tend to treat communities with different cultures negatively.
Although this is inevitable, it is usually good to learn and appreciate others by developing an inclusive identity and perception and taking the diversity in cultures as an advantage where many values can be compared and the good ones adopted while the rest are discarded.
Mio, S.J, Lori, B., and Tumambing, J. (2005). Multicultural Psychology: Understanding Our Diverse Communities. New York: McGraw-Hill