Academic journal article Journal of Counseling and Development : JCD

Race/ethnicity and Multicultural Competence among School Counselors: Multicultural Training, Racial/ethnic Identity, and Color-Blind Racial Attitudes

Academic journal article Journal of Counseling and Development : JCD

Race/ethnicity and Multicultural Competence among School Counselors: Multicultural Training, Racial/ethnic Identity, and Color-Blind Racial Attitudes

Article excerpt

It has been almost 3 decades since Sue et al. (1982) published their model of multicultural counseling competence (MCC). The development of the MCC model provided the blueprint and theoretical framework for multicultural training (Holcomb-McCoy & Myers, 1999; Sodowsky, Kuo-Jackson, Richardson, & Corey, 1998; Sue, Arredondo, & McDavis, 1992; Sue & Sue, 1990, 2008). After these landmark contributions, various accreditation agencies in counseling changed their accreditation standards to mandate multicultural training so that trainees could acquire knowledge and skills relevant to understanding and working with clients of diverse backgrounds (e.g., Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, 2001). Moreover, Sue and Sue's (1990, 2008) MCC model is now widely accepted as the theoretical framework of multicultural training and MCC in school counseling. As a result, school counseling programs now include multicultural training as required courses (American School Counselor Association, 2009).

Scholars (e.g., Bellini, 2003; Sodowsky et al., 1998; Sue & Sue, 1990, 2008) have indicated that MCC involves variables such as counselors' own race/ethnicity, racial/ethnic identity, multicultural training, and color-blind racial attitudes. Constantine and Yeh (2001) further conceptualized that, when compared with their White counterparts, school counselors of color may have higher levels of MCC because of their personal experiences as racial/ethnic minorities in the United States. Multicultural training has been recognized as a tool to increase the understanding of one's racial/ethnic background (e.g., for review, see next section, "Race/Ethnicity, Multicultural Training, and MCC") in order to enhance counselors' MCC (Holcomb-McCoy & Myers, 1999; Sue & Sue, 2008).

Neville, Spanierman, and Doan (2006) found that colorblind racial attitudes involve a failure to acknowledge that discrimination can constitute societal racism, and these color-blind attitudes are negatively associated with MCC (see "Color-Blind Racial Attitude" section for detailed review). Despite these important variables related to MCC, some scholars (e.g., Atkinson & Israel, 2003) have noted that there has been relatively little empirical research, such as moderation or mediation analyses, directly evaluating this conceptual model over recent decades. The present study responds to this decade-old call to examine the MCC model with an advanced research design and to evaluate the role of multicultural training, racial/ethnic identity, and color-blind racial attitudes on MCC. It is hoped that this study will assist school counselors to become more aware of their own racial/ethnic backgrounds and advance their knowledge of color-blind racial attitudes to ultimately increase their MCC.

* Race/Ethnicity, Multicultural Training, and MCC

Conceptually, according to Sue and Sue's (1990, 2008) MCC model, racial/ethnic minority school counselors are expected to show greater levels of MCC than their White counterparts because of their personal experiences, socioeconomic status, and greater familiarity with multicultural issues as racial/ethnic minorities (Pope-Davis & Ottavi, 1994; Sodowsky et al., 1998). Empirically, studies have yielded inconsistent findings on racial/ ethnic differences and MCC among school counselors (Constantine, 2002; Constantine & Yeh, 2001). On one hand, some studies have established that racial/ethnic minority counselors report higher scores on MCC when compared with White counselors. For example, Constantine (2001) found that Black and Latino counselors demonstrated greater levels of MCC compared with their White counterparts. Constantine and Gushue (2003) also found that racial/ethnic minority counselors had higher scores than White trainees on multicultural knowledge. On the other hand, other scholars have found that there is no significant difference between White and racial/ethnic minority counselors on MCC scores (e. …

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