Racial discrimination is a serious issue in the United States of America that is detrimental to the health of society. There has been a remarkable improvement, though, since the election of President Obama, who was a person of color. Despite the phenomenal technological advancements, there is still a covert and overt form of racism. For instance, an employer can refuse to appoint an individual because they come from a particular ethnic group. The dynamics of discrimination and oppression resulting from color are analyzed by the empowerment theory using the Racial and Cultural Identity Development model.
The Racial and Cultural Identity Development model is used to understand the stages that oppressed persons experience to fit in a certain culture that dominates them. The victims struggle to understand themselves, their values, and the oppressive relationship between the two groups through unexamined stages, dissonance, resistance, introspection, and integrative awareness (Syed et al. 270). Ethnic distinctiveness, in many cases, is influenced by privilege and power framework (Sue et al. 284). The purpose of this model was to raise the responsiveness of the whites about their role in dismantling racism in society.
Personally, I have undergone several challenges that have shaped my perspective on race and color in the country. As a woman of color, society has been challenging from all perspectives. By applying the Racial and Culture Identity Development theory in my growth, I have been having low self-esteem which has prompted me to undervalue myself. This aspect resulted in the death of my husband and biological mother. According to this conformity stage of advancement, I have shown a self-deprecating attitude over the years.
On the basis of dissonance, I have experienced some essence of under-development. I believe I should be in a stable position with a well-established family. Currently, I do not have any child despite being in marriage for over 8 years. According to this perspective, I am not where the community expects couples to be concerning the value of children in the culture (Syed et al. 270). Based on the resistance and immersion phase, I have been bold enough to overcome the challenges such as the death of my husband. Despite the intensity of issues faced over the periods, I have remained steadfast. In addition, I have secured a job opportunity to engage myself in offering counseling services to people.
In relation to the introspection stage of the Racial and Cultural Identity Development model, I managed to shift my career from classroom teacher to becoming a school counselor. Personally, helping people to understand and overcome their situations makes me feel motivated (Stalnaker-Shofner 80). The new job opportunity will enhance the ability to help other people of color to face hardship in their lives. In other words, I am more concerned with self-appreciation whereby each person is elevated to the best level possible. Similarly, according to the integrative awareness phase of development, I am focused and inspired towards achieving my goals.
After exploring the Racial and Cultural Identity Development theory, I have realized that the growth and advancement of an individual are influenced significantly by self-attitude. When a person invests in oneself and pursues what they deem fit, it is easier to conform and overcome possible challenges of life. Therefore, it is necessary to have deep insight into other peoples’ needs to correlate and appreciate their perspectives as well. The model is useful in enabling individuals to effectively evaluate their personal development in different stages leading to a wide point of view on issues in society.
Stalnaker-Shofner, Devona M. “Colorism and Racial Identity Development in Black/African American Women: An Autoethnographic Perspective.” Journal of Black Sexuality and Relationships, vol. 7, no. 2, 2020, pp. 75-98.
Sue, Derald Wing, et al. Counseling the Culturally Diverse: Theory and Practice. John Wiley & Sons, 2022, pp. 1-432.
Syed, Moin, Linda P. Juang, And Ylva Svensson. “Toward A New Understanding of Ethnic‐Racial Settings for Ethnic‐Racial Identity Development.” Journal of Research on Adolescence, vol. 28, no. 2, 2018, pp. 262-276.