Generally, the concept of multiculturalism has always been defined based on the context of the discussion. Despite this, the influence of multiculturalism in the practice of forensic psychology can never be assumed. In the context of the US, multiculturalism remains largely as a socio-political operation or revolution that stipulates the disparities between personalities and groups to be a critical source of power and renewal (APA, 2012). Therefore, this concept upholds the different perceptions that individuals develop value through distinct experiences and encounters. Furthermore, it also values the backgrounds of personalities emanating from racial, tribal, gender, sexual nature as well as the class disparities within the general society (Lott, 2009). Multiculturalism in a broader context struggles to value the ideals regarding equality, equity as well as liberty on which the fundamental human rights lie. Consequently, there must be equal respect and regard to persons and groups (Powell & Bartholomew, 2003). This forms the principle of the peaceful coexistence and development of any state, as generally observed within the US. Observably, the magnitude of this concept in various professions and other practices within the general society remains unavoidable. This paper, therefore, explains how multiculturalism impacts the practice of forensic psychology. Additionally, it outlines the various roles of forensic psychology personnel in addressing multicultural disparities and in attaining the demands of different clients.
All forensic psychologists should observe the significance of multiculturalism within their profession. Being culturally sensitive and noting the disparities that exist within different cultures enable the professionals to act without any biases based on cultural incompetency (Lott, 2009). The basic principle towards fair psychological judgment and analysis, therefore, relies on the ability of the dispenser to recognize and adopt the skill of cultural competency. This observation greatly minimizes the ability of a forensic psychologist to make irrational decisions when dealing with diverse clients from different backgrounds. Because of multiculturalism, psychologists have to consider several factors when dealing with their clients including the native language, traditional beliefs as well as cultures (Powell & Bartholomew, 2003).
Care ought to be taken so that such cultural disparities in different individuals are never regarded as psychological incompetence (Lott, 2009). I believe that multicultural differences should not be used to prejudice certain individuals simply because the law or society in context does not approve of certain cultures (Powell & Bartholomew, 2003). Key professionals within forensic psychology ought to apply their cultural competency knowledge in enhancing the process of a rational individual character or mental scrutiny to enhance fair judgment. The roles of forensic psychology professionals in addressing the issues of multicultural disparities as well as meeting client demands are clearly outlined. The basic guidelines described herein include the first three (Guideline 1, 2, and 3) as outlined by the APA. Guideline # 1 states that psychologists are urged to know that as cultural personalities; they might have attitudes or convictions that may negatively manipulate their opinions of and socialization with persons who are ethnically or racially diverse from themselves (APA, 2012). This guideline is particularly relevant in the practice of forensic psychology since psychologists, just like other humans, are influenced by several factors.
Cultural heritage prevails as one of these significant factors that if not keenly regarded or treated might lead to irrational decisions or treatment of clients. The basic principle reiterated here is therefore for these personalities to adopt cultural competence and be able to act rationally within multicultural environments. Secondly, Guideline # 2 states that Psychologists should be motivated to identify the significance of multicultural awareness/familiarity, knowledge as well as comprehension concerning ethnically or racially dissimilar personalities (APA, 2012). This forms a very critical sentiment towards the enhancement of the psychologists’ capabilities to deal with multicultural challenges. Guideline #3 outlines that as educators, psychologists must be motivated to integrate the premises of multiculturalism as well as diversity within psychological education (APA, 2012). Education forms a critical process of cognitive appreciation of facts within populations. Consequently, the integration of the multiculturalism constructs within education will play a critical role in spreading and enhancing cultural awareness and competence amongst the young professionals. In conclusion, it is thus evident that all these guidelines are vital in the study or analysis of multiculturalism in the field of forensic psychology.
In the analysis of the case study observed in the male youth of Asian origin, a variety of multicultural issues may be drawn. It is observable that the victim’s cultural orientation did not enable him to have the same conduct as other American natives within the camp. The language barrier is also observed to be another critical factor of multiculturalism (Blau, 2008). The victim speaks in strange languages. In other instances, his English is also reported to be broken. Perhaps, it can also be deduced that the pieces of wood that are carefully carved into uniform shapes by the victim as found near his camp constitute an element of his cultural exposure. He later admits during his interrogation that his native Cambodian language is “Cardamom Khmer. The revelation of the child’s exposure to torture by the government of his native country also reveals a lot about his beliefs on capitalism and other psychotic convictions. These issues could intensively create a significant impact in the practice o forensic psychology (Sommers, 2008).
Guideline #1 reiterates the exact situation observable in this case study. It is therefore applicable herein since it urges psychologists to be motivated to acknowledge that as cultural individuals, they might have attitudes as well as convictions that may badly manipulate their perceptions on relations with persons from diverse ethnic and racial societies. Guideline #2 also remains applicable (APA, 2012). This is with the observation that the victim’s actions were largely viewed as strange. Guideline #3 is applied may help to educate the people on the premises of multiculturalism as well as diversity within psychological education. Guideline #4 also remains applicable because a lot of research needs to be launched to find ways of psychologically dealing with individuals from diverse of unique cultural settings. Lastly, guideline #5 will be applicable within the process to integrate culturally suitable skills within clinical as well as existing applied psychological practices.
APA, (2012). Guidelines on Multicultural Education, Training, Research, Practice, and Organizational Change for Psychologists- American Psychological Association. Web.
Blau, J. (2008). The Blackwell Companion to Sociology. Blackwell Publishing Ltd, vol. 1 (1) 40-58.
Lott, B. (2009). Multiculturalism and Diversity: A Social Psychological Perspective. Wiley Blackwell, Oxford, vol 23(16), 12-54.
Powell, M. & Bartholomew, T. (2008). The Treatment of Multicultural Issues in Contemporary Forensic Psychology Textbooks. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, vol. 10 (1) 254-261.
Sommers, S. (2008). Determinants and Consequences of Jury Racial Diversity: Empirical Findings, Implications, and Directions for Future Research. Social Issues and Policy Review, vol. 2: 65–102.