Multicultural Issues in the Helping Profession

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Multiculturalism is described as “the practice of giving equal emphasis to the needs and contributions of all cultural groups especially traditionally underrepresented minority groups in a society” (Webster’s, 2003). In our country “it is estimated that by the year 2050, no more than 50% of the population will be of Anglo ancestry” (Cillo, 1998). It is also important to consider and recognize the number of sub-cultures that exist such as interracial couples, the disabled such as children with autism, and homosexual cultures. In this new era we live in, interracial marriages and relationships are becoming more customary than forty years ago. When the immigration policy changed allowing more Asians and Hispanics into the United States, the flood gates opened for interracial marriages between Asians and Whites and Hispanics and non-Hispanics (Rosenfeld). Nevertheless, interracial marriages continue to bring up significant disputes, especially marriages between blacks and whites. There are white people who will never be satisfied with an interracial (black-white) marriage and will probably always have “mixed and intense hostile attitudes” towards these kinds of couples (Frankenberg, 1993; Root, 2001). It is interesting to look at the past to see how interracial relationships have merged. John Rolfe and Pocahontas’ intermarriage in 1614 was the first to be recorded in North American history. Between 1614 and 1660, America’s first biracial children were born in colonial Jamestown, Virginia to intermarriages such as white-black, white-Indian, and black-Indian. The total number of biracial people in America by 1775 was between 60,000 and 120,000 (Cruz & Berson, 2001). Historically, as the number of interracial marriages in America grew at a steady pace, many early Americans, especially whites, were displeased with the concept and wanted something done to put an end to it. The governmental assembly of Virginia proclaimed a law in 1661, “prohibiting interracial marriage” and later passed a law “prohibiting ministers” from performing marriage ceremonies between racially mixed couples (Cruz & Berson, 2001). As the year 1959 drew closer, almost half of the United States had miscegenation laws primarily dealing with “black-white marriages while extending an open invitation to whites, Malayans, Mulatto’s, Mongolians, and Native Americans” (Cruz & Berson, 2001). According to the Council on Contemporary Families (Warren, 2007), during the late 1960’s, “fewer then 2 percent of married couples were interracial.” In 1968, Clarence Krygsheld of white descent married Faye Hightower of black descent because they were fond of one another and wanted to spend their lives together. This was a very unpleasant union for them because the majority of the Clarence family refused to attend the wedding. Krygsheld was surprised at the behavior of his family. “It was like I had died,” he says (Tibbles, 2007). Since the 1960’s, interracial marriages have blossomed and in 2005, 7.5 percent of marriages were of mix couples (Tibbles, 2007). Michael Rosenfeld of Stanford University thinks the change came about because of the civil rights movement which permitted whites and blacks to socialize more, thus creating a love triangle between the two races (Tibbles, 2007). America has mixed feelings about interracial marriages. Professor Randall Kennedy of Harvard University is supportive of interracial marriages, “especially between blacks and whites” for America because it will probably help to close the racism gap and promote a more loving atmosphere within society. Professor Kennedy is aware that there is still hostile opposition towards interracial couples, but “their efforts to develop loving transracial bonds are to be encouraged and applauded” (Kennedy, 2001-2006). Professor Kennedy supports interracial marriages because he feels it decreases racism and promotes a better America. Interracial couples deal with hostility and...
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