Grand Canyon University Culturally Diverse Counseling Discussion

Why do people tend to deny, rationalize, and avoid discussing their feelings and beliefs about race and ethnicity?

This discussion question is informed by the following CACREP Standard(s):

2.F.2.d. The impact of heritage, attitudes, beliefs, understandings, and acculturative experiences on an individual’s views of others.


Jones-Smith, E. (2019). Culturally diverse counseling: Theory and practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Inc. ISBN-13: 9781483388267



Rachael Herbison

1 posts

Re: Topic 3 DQ 1 (Obj. 3.2)

In many communities, the denial of racism is focused on self-interest, of the individual and the majority, which eventually leads to the weakening of the minorities and their communities (St. Louis, 2020). Recently, especially in the last four years, many people deny that racism exists, which makes it invisible (Malhi & Boon, 2007). A phrase said is that “I do not see color,” and “racism does not exist anymore,” which plays into the idea that people do not want to see the fact that racism still exists, or they are outrightly doing this because they do believe that their race is and should be the dominant one (Mekawi et al., 2020).

It seems a lot of people deny racism simply because they do not want to admit that they have implicit behaviors (Jones-Smith, 2019). Once one learns that they do, it is almost a knee jerk reaction to deny it, because one does not want to believe that they could be racist. While it is true that one should not be a racist, this is not the right way to eradicate or address it.

Another issue may be because they want to avoid conflict. If one is in the company of people who are either engaging in racist talk or simply saying that it no longer exists, one may think that it is easier to say nothing, rather than rock the boat and make an issue. One may think “I have a (insert minority here) friend, I am not racist,” and therefore feel no need to say anything, unfortunately, allowing the racism to sink in and run deeper (Malhi & Boon, 2007).

Saul Arras

2 posts

Re: Topic 3 DQ 1 (Obj. 3.2)

Race and ethnicity is especially sensitive when talking in groups of mixed culture. I have found that when people are in groups of like races or ethnic backgrounds their “walls” are down and tend to speak a bit more openly about their feelings, but once there is diversity in the group there is hesitation amongst the people in the group. People tend to hide behind their true feelings and beliefs about race in order to protect themselves from saying something that may end up being socially unacceptable. The text shares that some may deny their heritage in order to avoid questions, discrimination, or the need to rationalize their actions to others (Sue & Sue, 2016).

When talking about race and ethnicity with others, it is difficult to gauge where the conversation will go. Sue and Sue state that persons of color may be hesitant to discuss conflicts, misunderstandings, and concerns for fear that there may be negative ramifications for unity (2016). Additionally, there is a chance that one can offend others, and that can impact a personal or professional relationship.

Nichole Gelabert

1 posts

Re: Topic 3 DQ 1 (Obj. 3.2)

I feel there has been a shift in societal acknowledgment of feelings, emotions and beliefs making it acceptable to be open, while at the same time needing to curtail what and how thoughts are shared. We are encouraged to be truthful but only in a way that will be non-offensive. Because of this, certain topics elicit careful discussion, with monitored language and taking place in controlled areas. For a counselor, it is agreed that race and culture should be discussed, but there is often anxiety in approaching those topics because they do not know how to incorporate cultural knowledge into therapy (Wei, Chao, Tsai & Botello-Zamarron, 2012). We are trained to be non-biased and non-judgmental, and yet there is still apprehension on both the part of the counselor and client to broach these topics. So why is there a strong fear? Is it because these topics carry an emotional charge that is unpredictable? Is it because people assume there will be a negative response that will be too strong to defuse? Have we been shaped by neurocultural dynamics, creating a biological response that cannot be helped (Jones-Smith, 2019)? I don’t think there is any one reason why these topics cause discomfort. I do feel that the more we avoid it, the further we will get from truly listening and understanding to others and progressing as a whole.

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