An Update in Multicultural Theory and Scale Development. (Introduction to the Special Issue)

Article excerpt

Ten years ago when I was a graduate student, I wondered what would be the future stares of multicultural research because of the mixed signals I received. When I attended multicultural conferences like the Teacher's College Winter Roundtable, the future looked promising and the atmosphere was vibrant--not only what experts and researchers in the area were doing but what was possible. However, I also experienced the doubt and negative evaluation from mainstream psychology. The field of multicultural counseling, since its inception, has been unduly criticized for lacking a solid theoretical base and empirical rigor. I remember being questioned why I did not want to do a comparison study of Blacks and Whites for my dissertation. I was relieved that I could cite Ponterotto and Casas (1991) regarding the value and merit of intracultural research.

Multicultural counseling, American style, is a young field, with its formal inception in the 1950s and early 1960s (Jackson, 1995). It is just beginning to emerge from its infancy and childhood into its adolescence. Its emergence is due to the persistent and early work of so many scholars that multicultural research has thrived despite the criticisms and without the recognition. As a result, I am pleased to have the privilege to write the foreword for this issue of the Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development (JMCD) on multicultural theory and scale development.

In this issue of JMCD, four articles provide an update in multicultural theory and scale development and are presented in a sequence reflective of the necessary interplay between theory and research. Therefore, the first article is theoretical, which is a prerequisite to sound research. LaFleur, Rowe, and Leach, informed by empirical research, provide a reconceptualization of the White racial consciousness model. A mark of good research and theory development is to make revisions in the face of contradictory evidence. They have hit the mark by highlighting the changes necessary in the White racial consciousness model to make it viable and measurable. In the second article, Ponterotto, Gretchen, Utsey, Rieger, and Austin also hit the mark by providing a timely revision of the Multicultural Counseling Awareness Scale. …