Psychology plays a role in the understanding and changing of social inequalities in terms of how the profession views, understands, and addresses the inequalities. Sue (2004) discusses the belief that although power is normally associated with economic status, it should be based on a group’s ability to impose his or her reality on others. The psychological profession must take into consideration that human behavior is dictated by culture and it is imperative that a multicultural perspective be used within the psychology profession (Sue, 2004). In today’s society, if the psychology profession does not recognize and practice diversity using a multicultural attitude it will create or encourage advantages for some groups and disadvantages for other groups; creating the oppression of several populations (Sue, 2004).
An example of creating a disadvantage or oppression against a social group would be how we see and treat individuals who use heroin and/or who are addicted to heroin. How do we classify them? Do we believe that only the lower-class and homeless become heroin addicts? Do we hide the middle and upper-class population from the stigmatism of heroin use and addiction? As psychologist, do we treat those with addiction based on their cultural background, social status, or economic status; can they pay for treatment?
Chaos, Wei, Good, and Flores (2011), discuss “color-blindness” and how counseling psychology programs are requiring students to include multicultural training courses in their education toward earning a degree. Multicultural counseling competence (MCC) studies the differences between ethnic backgrounds, cultural training, and level of “color-blindness” after multicultural training classes (Chaos et al, 2011). MCC uses three concepts that encourage the students to look at his or her own awareness of assumptions and biases, his or her understanding of the worldview of culture in relation to clients, and the development of multicultural strategies and approaches that are effective when dealing with cultures outside of your own (Chaos et al, 2011).
An example of using multicultural approaches when dealing with individuals who use or are addicted to heroin is taking into consideration the individuals cultural background, physical and mental state, past life experiences, treatment resources, economic status, and emotional state or strength. Ethnic inequality comes into play when we look at individuals and clients based solely on their ethnic/racial, social, and economic profile and fail to look at the individual or client as a whole. We, as a society, consciously or unconsciously minimize the belief of ethnic inequalities by using the racially bias term “color-blindness” (Chaos et al, 2011).
Chao, R. C.-L., Wei, M., Good, G. E., & Flores, L. Y. (2011). Race, ethnicity, color-blind racial attitudes, and multicultural counseling competence: The moderating effects of multicultural counseling training. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 58(1), 72–82.
Sue, D. W. (2004). Whiteness and ethnocentric monoculturalism: Making the ‘invisible’ visible. The American Psychologist, 59(8), 761–769.