– European colonization efforts toward the Americas operated from the assumption that the enculturation of indigenous peoples was justified because European culture was superior. – Monocultural ethnocentric bias has a long history in the United States and is reflected as early as the uneven application of the Declaration of Independence. – The language of the Declaration suggests that only men were created equal; what about women? Historical Manifestations of Ethnocentric Monoculturalism
− Many of the founding fathers were slave owners who seemed not to recognize the hypocritical personal standards that they used because they considered Blacks to be subhuman. − History textbooks often ignore over two-thirds of the world’s population. − Early Europeans immigrating to this country were attempting to escape persecution (oppression). In the process, they did not recognize their own role in the oppression of indigenous peoples (American Indians) who had been residing in this country for centuries. − As more White immigrants came to the North America, concepts as the “melting pot” and “assimilation/acculturation” became desirable to form a homogeneous consolidation of cultures—many psychologists of color refer to this process as cultural genocide, an outcome of colonial thought. − The White race has been seen as being superior and White culture as normative.
– During slavery, African Americans had to respond to their enslavement in order to survive. – Often, they would dissociate the true self from the self that had to meet White expectations. – “Playing it cool” is intended to prevent Whites from knowing what the minority person is thinking or feeling and to express feelings and behaviors in such a way as to prevent offending or threatening Whites. – Uncle Tom Syndrome was used by minorities to appear docile, nonassertive, and happy-go-lucky—this was used especially during slavery; Blacks learned that passivity is a necessary survival technique. – The overall result of the experiences of minorities in the United States has been to increase their vigilance and sensitivity to the thoughts and behaviors of Whites in society. Therapeutic Impact of Ethnocentric Monoculturalism
− It becomes clear that past and present discrimination against certain culturally diverse groups is a tangible basis for minority distrust of the majority society. − Rightfully or not, White therapists are often perceived as symbols of the Establishment who inherited the racial biases of their forebears. − Some culturally diverse clients may lack confidence in the counseling and therapy process because the White counselor often proposes White solutions to their concerns.
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- Spring '14