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Multicultural Self-Assessment

Multicultural Self-Assessment
By: James J. Messina, Ph.D.

This Multicultural Self-Assessment is intended to enable you to become as effective a person in a Multicultural Environment as possible. Each exercise will ask you to complete the specific self-exploration tasks and then record your responses to the exercise in your own personal journal. This process will hopefully help you identify arenas in which you will need to change and grow so as to be more effective in be a person in our nations multicultural environment.

1. Your Ethnic and Cultural Background 

Step 1: Community Genogram

Develop a visual representation of the community in which you were raised. 
1. Consider a full blank page in your journal as representing your broad culture and community. It is recommended that you select the community in which you primarily were raised, but any other community, past or present may be used. 
2. Place yourself in that community, either at the center or other appropriate place. Represent yourself by a circle, a star, or other significant symbol. 
3. Place your own family or families on the paper, again represented by the symbol which is most relevant for you. The family can be nuclear or extended or both. 
4. Place important and most influential groups on the community genogram, again representing them by circles or other visual symbols. School, family, neighborhood, and spiritual groups are most often selected. For teens, the peer group is often particularly important. For adults, work groups and other special groups tend to become more central. 
5. Connect the groups to the focus individual, perhaps drawing more heavy lines to indicate the most influential groups. 

Step 2: Now in your journal give at least three examples of the positive role models, mentors, organizations and community experiences in this community which contributed to you becoming the person you are today. 

Step 3:  Now in your joural describe what aspects/qualities of your ethnic/cultural background are prominent in your life (e.g., language, religion, character traits) and the childhood experiences that reinforced them

Step 4: Finally for this exercise, in your journal describe the childhood and adolescent experiences or relationships that shaped your view of people who are culturally different than you. What is your current view of people who are culturally different than you?

2. Your cultural values

Step 1: Identify what cultural values you currently hold (address time, activity, relational, basic human nature, religion).

Step 2: Identify which of these values will be different from common values of:
1. African Americans
2.
Hispanic American
3.
Asian Americans
4.
Arab/Muslim Americans
5.
Native Americans
6.
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgendered Americans
7.
Caucasian Americans

Step 3: Identify the stereotypes which you have learned over the years concerning the following cultures:
1. African Americans
2.
Hispanic American
3.
Asian Americans
4.
Arab/Muslim Americans
5.
Native Americans
6.
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgendered Americans
7.
Caucasian American

Step 4: Identify in your journal how you plan to manage values conflicts with people from cultures different from your own.

3a. Project Implicit Experience Part I

Go to Project Implicit Website at: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/  then click on DEMONSTRATION only. You will then see a series of Demonstration Tests. You will take 5 of these tests this week and then next week you will take five more.

In the next assessment you will take the following IAT tests:

  1. Race (Black and White)
  2. Asian
  3. Native American
  4. Arab Muslim
  5. Skin Tone

Background: Project Implicit blends basic research and educational outreach in a virtual laboratory at which visitors can examine their own hidden biases. Project Implicit is the product of research by three scientists whose work produced a new approach to understanding of attitudes, biases, and stereotypes. The Project Implicit site (implicit.harvard.edu) has been functioning as a hands-on science museum exhibit, allowing web visitors to experience the manner in which human minds display the effects of stereotypic and prejudicial associations acquired from their socio-cultural environment.

After you have completed the five IAT tests then answer the following questions in your journal:

  1. What implications are the results on this test for my future dealings with people of cultures different from mine?
  2. How aware was I before taking these IAT tests of my perceptions of people of different cultures from my own?
  3. What do I need to work on in myself to help me become as effective person with people of different cultures based on the results of this experience?

3b. Project Implicit Experience Part II


Go to Project Implicit Website at: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/  then click on DEMONSTRATION only.

In Part II you will take the following IAT tests:

  1. Religion
  2. Sexuality
  3. Weight
  4. Age
  5. Disability


After you have completed the five IAT tests then answer the following questions in your journal:

  1. What implications are the results on this test for my future dealings with people of cultures different from mine?
  2. How aware was I before taking these IAT tests of my perceptions of people of different cultures from my own?
  3. What do I need to work on in myself to help me become as effective a person with people of different cultures based on the results of this experience?

4. Your Racial/Cultural Identity Development 

Read the following description and insert on the Racial/Cultural Identity Model (RCID) before answering the questions for this exercise in your journal. Please if you are a counselor, include in your reading the inserts from Penny Harrison and Daniel Pol on the R/CID model to help you better understand how this model can impact counselors' roles in working with individuals whose culture/race differs from theirs.


Atkinson, Morten, and Sue (1979, 1989, 1998) proposed a five-stage Minority Identity Development model (MID) in an attempt to pull out common features that cut across various groups:

 

Conformity Stage

  • Minority individuals are distinguished by their unequivocal preference for dominant cultural values over their own
  • White Americans in the United States represent their reference group, and the identification set is quite strong
  • Lifestyles, value systems, and cultural/physical characteristics that most resemble White society are highly valued

 

Dissonance Stage

  • An individual will encounter information or experiences that are inconsistent with culturally held beliefs, attitudes, and values
  • An Asian American who believes that Asians are inhibited, passive, inarticulate, and poor in people relationships may encounter an Asian leader who seems to break all these stereotypes
  • An African American who believes that race problems are due to laziness, untrustworthiness, or personal inadequacies of his or her own group may suddenly encounter racism on a personal level.
  • Denial begins to break down, which leads to a questioning and challenging of the attitudes/beliefs of the conformity stage.

 

Resistance and Immersion Stage

  • The minority person tends to endorse minority-held views completely and to reject the dominant values of society and culture
  • The person seems dedicated to reacting against White society and rejects White social, cultural, and institutional standards as having no personal validity
  • Desire to eliminate oppression of the individual’s minority group becomes an important motivation of the individual’s behavior
  • During the resistance and immersion stage, the three most active types of affective feelings are guilt, shame, and anger

 

Introspection Stage

  • The individual begins to discover that this level of intensity of feelings (anger directed toward White society) is psychologically draining and does not permit one to really devote more crucial energies to understanding themselves or to their own racial-cultural group
  • The resistance and immersion stage tends to be a reaction against the dominant culture and is not proactive in allowing the individual to use all energies to discover who or what he or she is
  • Self-definition in the previous stage tends to be reactive (against White racism), and a need for positive self-definition in a proactive sense emerges.
  • The minority individual experiences feelings of discontent and discomfort with group views that may be quite rigid in the resistance and immersion stage--a Latino individual who may form a deep relationship with a White person may experience considerable pressure from his or her culturally similar peers to break off the relationship because that White person is the “enemy.” However, the personal experiences of the individual may, in fact, not support this group view

 

Integrative Awareness Stage

  • Minority persons in this stage have developed an inner sense of security and now can own and appreciate unique aspects of their culture as well as those in U.S. culture
  • Minority culture is not necessarily in conflict with White dominant cultural ways
  • Conflicts and discomforts experienced in the previous stage become resolved, allowing greater individual control and flexibility
  • The person has a strong commitment and desire to eliminate all forms of oppression


Step 1: Using the Racial/Cultural Identity Development Model (RCID) describe in your journal your process of racial/cultural identity development during the stages of:

1.    Conformity

2.    Dissonance

3.    Resistance and Immersion

4.    Introspection

5.    Integrative Awareness


Step 2: Answer the following questions in your journal:

1.    What stage are you currently experiencing? Give examples.

2.    What factors/experiences influenced your progression?

3.    How do you plan to further facilitate your racial identity development?

4.    What are the therapeutic implications of the RCID model for you as you become a counselor in a multicultural perspective?

Overview of Sue and Sue's Racial/Cultural Identity Model –

A Counselor's Perspective

By Penny Harrison, Graduate Student, Troy University Tampa Bay Site

 

The Racial/Cultural Identity Model (R/CID) was created to help define five different stages of beleaguered people who are struggling to define themselves in terms of their culture compared to the dominant culture, and the challenging differences between the two cultures. An understanding of the R/CID model is to help counselors become sensitive to the impact oppression has on minority individuals. It will assist counselors to recognize the differences in minority groups and what they perceive in their cultural identity and help counselors understand what awareness stage clients are in and to anticipate potential behaviors, attitudes, feelings and beliefs. The model consists of:  conformity, dissonance, resistance and immersion, introspection, and integrative awareness. According to Sue and Sue (2013), by using the R/CID model counselors may be able to understand clients better by evaluating in what stage of the minority development mode they are: attitude toward self; attitudes toward others of the same minority, attitude toward others of a different minority, and attitude toward the dominant group.

 

Stage 1, conformity, is based on the White Americans in the United States where the value is placed on their perspective, value systems, and lifestyles, as well as cultural and physical characteristics. The minority believes that they are inferior to the Whites, all while unconscious to the need to be a part of its own racial heritage, as well as seeking to gain validation from a White perspective. The minority follows the dominant White group’s value system, specific role models, lifestyles and physical attributes. According to Sue and Sue (2013) the inferior status of minorities is reinforced through the media and stereotyping:  “Blacks are superstitious, childlike, ignorant, fun loving, dangerous, and criminal; Hispanics are dirty sneaky, and criminal; Asians Americans are sneaky, sly, cunning, and passive.” As a result of comparing themselves to the White majority a sense of low self-esteem in addition to a denial mechanism is set in motion. Okeke (2014) tested the impact of a preventative intervention program celebrating the strengths of black youth (ages 7 and 10) on African American children’s self-esteem, racial identity and parental racial socialization messages. The group consisted of 10 in-person group sessions in which small groups of middle school students met with two trained group leaders.  It was shown that the treatment group had higher levels of self-esteem post intervention. Many of those who are not White strive to assimilate and go to great efforts to appear, dress, talk, and socialize to be accepted. An example of trying to conform is that of Malcom X who went to great lengths to date White women by straightening his hair, and dressing and speaking like the White majority. In the R/CID model, the conformity stage is most commonly characterized by the belief that White social, cultural, institutional standards are superior. Given that belief, clients of color most likely will prefer a White counselor verses a minority counselor. Clients in this stage who are seeing White counselors may have issues with being overly dependent and attempting to please, appease, and seek approval (Sue and Sue, 2013). In many cases, clients in this stage “prefer [a] task-oriented, problem-solving approach because an exploration of identity may eventually touch upon feelings of low self-esteem, dissatisfaction with personal appearance, vague anxieties, and racial self-hatred and may challenge the client’s self-deception that he or she is not like the other members of his or her race (Sue and Sue, 2013). Baker (2015) used survey data from a sample of white, black, and Hispanic incarcerated females (n=554) which looked at the relationship between procedural justice and the obligation to obey the law is substantiated among a sample of offenders and explored the impact that sharing the race/ethnicity of the defense attorney and prosecutor in their most recent conviction has on female inmates’ perceptions of court procedural justice and their perceived obligation to obey the law. Findings revealed that non-whites perceive the courts as more fair if they had a minority prosecutor regardless of whether the prosecutor was black or Hispanic.

 

Stage 2 is dissonance, wherein there is a clash between attitudes and beliefs of the conformity stage; as a result, dominant held views may be questioned. For many, it is the first time clients may ask themselves why they feel ashamed of who and what they are. Secondly, clients may reanalyze certain aspects of their culture that now may be appealing. Thirdly, clients may now have an awareness and focus on conflicts “toward the self, the same minority, and the dominant group” (Sue and Sue 2013).  Fourthly, the realization that racism does exist and that one cannot escape one’s cultural heritage and whether it is accepted. As a result, conflict emerges with potential feelings of pride and shame. An example is the paper by Yull, Blitz, Thompson and Murray (2014) which researched and confirmed negative educational outcomes for students of color. Specifically, the research presented findings from a series of focus groups with middle-class parents of color in a small city in the Northeast United States. They used critical race theory, which examined the parents' experiences in the community and with the schools. Findings regarding community included lack of cultural enrichment for families of color, isolation in the community, and experiences of colorblind racism and cultural ignorance. School-focused findings included lack of cultural competency in the schools, stereotyping, and racial disproportionality in school discipline. Discussions centered on the school district's strategic plan and the community-university partnership being used as a vehicle for responding to these critical concerns (Yull, Blitz, Thompson & Murray, 2014). In the R/CID model, dissonance is a clash between dominant-held views compared to the clients’ own group. Challenges with self, identity, and self-esteem are likely in this stage. Clients in this stage are more aware but are likely to still prefer a White counselor who may help to assist in self-exploration of identity conflicts.

 

Stage 3 is resistance and immersion wherein there is a shift to reject White social, cultural, and institutional standards which result in guilt, shame, and anger (Sue and Sue 2013).  This stage occurs due to a resolution and an understanding of racism, oppression, and discrimination as well as questioning “Why should I feel ashamed of who and what I am?” In the R/CID model’s resistance and immersion stage there is a marked distrust of White counselors; they are seen as the enemy because of being pigeon-holed in the dominant, oppressive group. According to Sue and Sue, (2013), in order to be an effective counselor to clients in this stage, it is important to realize that the counselor will be viewed as part of the oppressive society and that White guilt and defensiveness will only hinder the client. Sue and Sue (2013) suggests that if counselors become defensive and take it personally then their effectiveness will be lost. According to Sue and Sue, (2013) this is the most challenging stage for the counselor to deal with because of the need for counselors’ self-disclosure to establish credibility. Because of this particular stage of thinking, clients are mostly likely to prefer a counselor of their own race

 

Stage 4 is introspection, where clients may continue to choose like race counselors but may consider other race counselors as long as there is a worldview in common. The challenge for clients in this stage is the bifurcation between the internal conflict to have allegiance to their race and the need to exercise personal freedom. The goal is to help clients to integrate these two views. In the R/CID model, the introspection stage poses the challenge of appearing similar to the conformity stage when, in fact, they are different because of the need to try and conform to their minority group, but also the need to make their own choices in alliance with themselves. Those clients in introspection are in conflict with two thoughts: clients’ need to identify with their own minority verses need to have greater personal freedom. In addition this group wants to move away from their group on certain issues but has a positive perception of the group. According to Sue and Sue (2013), it is necessary to help clients with self-exploration approaches in order to integrate and incorporate a new sense of identity.

 

Stage 5 is integrative awareness in which clients have “developed an inner sense of security and now can own and appreciate unique aspects of their own culture as well as those in the United States culture” (Sue and Sue, 2013). These clients, unlike those in other stages, will have established their own self-identity. According to Sue and Sue, (2013), clients in this stage are more likely to respond to self-exploration approaches that help integrate and incorporate a new sense of identity. The client view would likely be more flexible, tolerant, and multicultural; the best counselor fit would be with one who has attitudes similar to the client’s. According to Sue and Sue, (2013), clients would respond positively to designing and implementing areas focused on communal and societal changes.

 

Discussion

The R/CID model is a force that is constantly changing in culturally diverse populations. According to Sue and Sue (2013), counselors willing to be successful would do well to stress the following: “it is important to gauge the client’s racial consciousness, attitudes, beliefs, and orientation of color… acknowledge that one should not stereotype when using this model… human development is very complex and it is not to be used as an absolute.”

 

References

Baker, T., Pickett, J. T., Amin, D. M., Golden, K., Dhungana, K., Gertz, M., & Bedard, L. (2015). Shared Race/Ethnicity, court procedural justice, and self-regulating beliefs:  A study of female offenders. Law & Society Review, 49(2), 433-465.

 

Okeke-Adeyanju, N., Taylor, L. C., Craig, A. B., Smith, R. E., Thomas, A., Boyle, A. E., & Derosier, M. E. (2014). Celebrating the strengths of black youth: Increasing self-esteem and implications for prevention. Journal of Primary Prevention, 35(5), 357-69.

 

Sue, D.W. & Sue, D. (2013). Counseling the culturally diverse: Theory and practice (Sixth Edition). Hoboken, N J: John Wiley & Sons Inc.

 

Yull, D., Blitz, L. V., Thompson, T., & Murray, C. (2014). Can we talk? Using community-based participatory action research to build family and school partnerships with families of color. School Community Journal, 24(2), 9-31.

 

 

Another Perspective on the R/CID Model and Implications for Counselors

By Daniel Pol, Graduate Student, Troy University Tampa Bay Site

 

The R/CID model helps the counselor to identify cultural identity based on attitudes and values held by clients in regards of their views on their own and dominant cultural group.  The model consist on 5 stages—not necessarily following an interval relationship or horizontal direction—which measures cultural identity development: Conformity, Dissonance, Resistance and Immersion, Introspection, and Integrative awareness.  The Conformity stage is the basic stage of cultural identity development; this stage is one of much preference for the dominant cultural views rather than the client’s own culture.  According to Sue and Sue (2013) there is a great level of denial—cultural identity denial—during this stage.  Much work is needed when the client is in this stage because this stage is full of global racial self-hatred. The Dissonance stage is one where the individual begins to question his or her held views about his or her own culture in comparison with the dominant culture.  The client’s views and attitudes begin to shift in this stage towards better understanding and assimilation or acceptance of others and their own ethnic values—here the Mental Health Counselor helps the client reach a higher level of his or her cultural views and global sympathy and understanding of others in matters of cultural values. The Resistance and Immersion stage is one of radicalism, the individual becomes well immersed in his or her own culture.  There is a clearer sense of reality in terms of racism and oppression—the individual comes to the realization that racism and oppression are real.  Blind endorsement of one’s group values and attitudes become main practice and therefore devaluing and rejecting those of the dominant group. The next stage is called Introspection, in this stage the individual finds a balance between accepting and rejecting the dominant culture’s identity.  Here the individual acknowledges cultural variations amongst all groups and portrays higher levels of internal peace—well culturally oriented and accepting of others cultures including the dominant group.  The introspection stage is also healthy, it demonstrates a higher level of understanding and self-worth and internal peace that is clearly defined by a well-balanced cultural identity. Finally, the R/CID model discusses an area of cultural identity development known as Integrative Awareness; it is this stage where the individual finds the need for positive self-definition as a member of a minority group.  He or she finds resolve in terms of conflict between responsibility and alliance to one’s minority group, personal independence and autonomy. 


Although Sue and Sue (2013) postulate that the R/CID model is mostly driven by the belief that whiteness is the enemy and that white people should feel ashamed and guilty for their so called pervasive views on minorities, others may disagree, including the client.  Oddly enough, recent research in racial cultural identity found that White Americans exhibits greater prejudice when identified as “American” than when identifying as “White Americans” (Dach-Gruschow & Hong, 2006).  Consequently, these findings are at odds with the R/CID model in other ways such as in the case of child development constructs salient to youth and families of color.  Social position variables (i.e., race, gender, social class, immigrant status) indirectly affect development through the mechanisms of racism, prejudice, and discrimination that result in residential, economic, social, and psychological segregation and differential access to quality institutions such as schools, neighborhoods, and the health care system views (Ortiz, 2000). 


There is no doubt that counselors will find themselves working with clients that have been affected or victimized by acts of racism or that have witnessed some sort of  racism that they need to deal with.  The R/CID model can be easily applied as part of the intake interview in order to better assess the client’s background and the negative influence or cultural views that might be affecting client’s state of mind.  However, just like any other approach, assessment tools and therapeutic models, the R/CID should be used with caution—the counselor should apply much sensitivity and empathy when addressing cultural identity issues.  Furthermore, it is important to remember that a person will not fit perfectly in any of these statuses but may have characteristics of multiple stages; again, careful measures should be taken when assessing the client’s cultural identity—as always, the client him or herself is the best source of information.


Reference

Dach-Gruschow, K., & Hong, Y. (2006). The racial divide in response to the aftermath

of Katrina: A boundary condition for common ingroup identity model. Analyses of Social Issues & Public Policy6(1), 125-141. doi:10.1111/j.1530-2415.2006.00110.x

 

Daniels, J. A. (2001). Conceptualizing a case of indirect racism using the white racial identity development model. Journal of Mental Health Counseling23(3), 256.

 

Ortiz, A. M. (2000). Expressing cultural identity in the learning community: Opportunities and challenges. New Directions for Teaching & Learning2000(82), 67.

 

Sue, D.W. & Sue, D. (2013). Counseling the culturally diverse: Theory and practice (Sixth Edition). Hoboken, N J: John Wiley & Sons Inc.

 

5. The Experience of a Culturally Diverse Person 

Interview a person from a different culture than your own and chose from any of the following groups: African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, Arab/Muslim American, Native Americans, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgendered Americans, or Caucasian American. Use the following interview outline and then record your interview in your journal.  

 

Step 1: In your report on this interview in your journal first identify the following characteristics of the Interviewee:
a.    
Cultural or Ethnic Background:
b.    
Age:
c.    
Gender:
d.    
Education:
e.    
Occupation:

 

Step 2: Next record in your journal  the interviewee’s responses to the following questions:
1. Please describe the most important values and beliefs of your culture.
2. Please describe important cultural events, celebrations, and practices in your culture.
3. What reading materials, films, or videos can help people from other cultures learn about your culture?
4. How do you think others outside your culture view your culture?
5. What are the fondest memories you have from your childhood?
6. Have you ever experienced prejudice or discrimination? Please elaborate.
7. How do people from your culture perceive people of my culture?
8. What issues or concerns do you think people from your culture would bring to relating to people of my culture?
9. When it comes to people of cultures getting along with one another, what approach or interventions do you think would help people from your cultural group the most in getting along with people from different cultures?
10. Is there anything else that you would like to add to help me understand your culture better?

6. My Cultural Perspective and its Impact on My Relating to Others from Different Races and Cultures

After you have completed an interview of a person from a different culture or race you are now to interview yourself and record your answers in your journal:

 

Step 1: Identify the following information for yourself:
a.   
Cultural or Ethnic Background:
b.   
Age:
c.   
Gender:
d.   
Education:
e.   
Occupation:

 

Step 2: Now answer the following questions about yourself:
1. Please describe the most important values and beliefs of your own culture.
2. Please describe important cultural events, celebrations, and practices in your own culture.
3. What reading materials, films, or videos can help people learn about your own culture?
4. How do you think others outside your culture view your culture?
5. What are the fondest memories you have from your own childhood?
6. Have you ever experienced prejudice or discrimination? Please elaborate.
7. How do people from your culture perceive people from other cultures?
8. What issues or concerns do you think people from your culture would bring to relating to people from different cultures than their own?
9. When it comes to relating to people of different cultures, what approach or interventions do you think would help people from your cultural group the most?
10. Is there anything else that you would like to add to help us understand your own culture better?


Step 3: Now compare your answers with those of your interviewee whom you reported on in the previous exercise and identify what issues you will need to address within yourself prior to working with or relating to a person from this culture or other cultures or races which are different from your own.