Cultural diversity is a bonus in the society today. The ability to interact or network with other cultures gives you an opportunity to understand different cultures and how they live their life on a daily basis. Although being culturally diverse may be a positive aspect. It may have complications depending on your race. For example, Racism, Discrimination, and Civil rights are factors that may cause a psychological development, distress, or behavior problem. In my paper I will discuss the potential impact of racism, discrimination, and civil rights on the psychological development, distress and behavior on a cultural diverse African American.
“Racism consists of beliefs, attitudes, institutional arrangements, and acts that tend to denigrate individuals or groups because of phenotype characteristics or ethnic group affiliation,” (Hall, 2010. Pg 88). African Americans faced racism on a daily basis in the 1900s. Lynch mobs and burnings terrorized African Americans, causing them to be skeptical or in fear of leaving their own home. They were denied industry jobs and were forced to work low end jobs. This resulted in to poor living conditions which affected their mental health. Picking cotton was their main source of income.
African Americans began to question their self worth because as of minorities they were not able to express their intelligence or communication skills they used to be culturally diverse. African Americans began to think they were useless only because they could not provide more for their families. “Categorical beliefs about the biological and/or cultural inferiority of some racial groups can attack the self-worth of at least some members of stigmatized racial groups and undermine the importance of their very existence” (Williams and Morris, 2000. Pg 255). African Americans self esteem became to drop, causing them not to be able to function mentally. Racism may have decreased compared to the 1900s but it still exists in present day.
Discrimination has been known to have an impact on the psychological development, distress and behavior on African Americans. Discrimination is (Define). “Recent qualitive studies and journalistic accounts reveal that black experience discrimination in a broad range of contexts in society and that these incidents can induce considerable distress” (Williams and Morris, 2000. Pg 251). Treated unfairly impacted the health of African Americans, causing anxiety or anger. African Americans thought that they were overly qualified for jobs that they were denied. After being denied African Americans would become angry or frustrated because of not being treated equally.
African Americans were prideful of their culture and the only way to show people of other cultures is by showing they were inferior. African Americans were inferior but still suffered from mental health problems. “Racist discrimination is associated with anxiety, anger frustration, resentment, somatization, obsessive-compulsive symptoms, interpersonal hypersentivity, fear, paranoia, helplessness-hopelessness, and depression among African Americans” (Hall, 2010. Pg 91). Discrimination caused African Americans to lack interactions amongst other races in schools. “Afrocentrism espouses African ideals at the center of ones approach to problem solving” (Hall, 2010. Pg 92). This was an important factor in the multicultural research.
African Americans struggled for years for freedom form slavery. After being free fought for equality and a voice. Movements began to form on behalf of African Americans continued to struggle mentally, only because they felt their voice was not heard. In 1875 the Civil Rights Act was passed giving them the right to equal treatment in public settings. Followed by the 1896 decision to legalize racial segregation of schools. Although the schools were segregated African Americans parents and children feared for their lives. They were afraid that European Americans would hurt their children all because they were attending schools that where made for whites. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 created the opportunity for African Americans to have constitutionals rights without discrimination or segregation.
The Civil Rights Act was passed but Racism still exist, causing African Americans to feel hopeless. African Americans then began to search for another outcome which lead to Affirmative Action. The Black Muslims created opportunities and had a goal of diversity. Goals of Black Muslims were to replace the negative effects of slavery with positive values and behavior and to develop independence from the dominant culture,”(Hall, 2010. Pg90). Hope for understanding African American identity and multicultural relation was offered by psychological theory and research despite political and legal setbacks.
Although African Americans were faced with adversities, they managed to overcome them. Africans struggled mentally as well as facing distress and behavior problems all because the way they were treated. African Americans tried to form bonds amongst other cultures, giving them the opportunity to become diverse individuals. Learning other cultures was common for African Americans, like for instance adapting to the American culture after being slaved. African Americans have put the past behind them and continue to become more diverse as well teaching other cultures there values and traditions.
Barnes, J. (2004). Unequal Education. U.S. News & World Report, 136(10), 66.
Hall, G. C. N. (2010). Multicultural Psychology (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall
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