Let's Get Real: Moving Beyond a Color-Blind Approach When Teaching Multicultural Counseling to White Students

Let's Get Real: Moving Beyond a Color-Blind Approach When Teaching Multicultural Counseling to White Students

Maia Niguel Hoskin (University of Southern California, USA) and Michele D. Smith (Missouri State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9989-0.ch006

Abstract

This chapter presents suggestions for counselor educators on how to prepare White counseling masters students to work with future students and clients of color using culturally responsive interventions and strategies. The chapter will also discuss color-blind ideology that is currently being used within graduate counseling programs and within higher education, in general, as a strategy to address racial phenomena. Lastly, the chapter will highlight the experiences of two Black female faculty who have taught counseling and advising courses at a predominantly White Midwestern university to White graduate students who have had very little interaction with people of color. Specifically, the two faculty members' experiences will be used to outline effective ways to 1) explore emotional triggers related to difference among students; 2) promote self-reflection and cultural awareness among students; and 3) discuss topics such as institutional discrimination, systemic racism, privilege, implicit bias, and microaggressions with majority White graduate counseling students.
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Introduction

Counselor education faces challenges related to increasing diversity among students enrolled in counseling master’s programs (Burkholder & Burkholder, 2014). According to the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP, 2017), in 2016 Black males made up 2.82% of master’s students enrolled in CACREP accredited counseling programs compared to 10.80% of White males. Similarly, 15.53% of Black female students were enrolled in CACREP accredited programs compared to 50.81% of White female students. Racial and ethnic minorities represent 30% of the population, yet 83.6% of mental health professionals identify as non-Hispanic White (Hammett-Webb, 2015) and the majority of individuals in the profession are White females. Although the percentage of males in the profession is low, which may create problems of its own, this paper is focused on issues related to race, ethnicity and culture.

Although the profession must take steps to rectify the issue of a lack of racial and ethnic diversity among graduate counseling students, it is also imperative that counselor education programs identify and employ strategies to train and properly prepare White counseling students to be culturally conscious and culturally responsive mental health, school, college, and career counselors when working with clients and students of color (Hammett-Webb, 2015). This is an issue of specific importance for White graduate counseling students who have had very little direct interaction with individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds.

This chapter presents suggestions for counselor educators to employ to prepare White counseling masters students to work with future students and clients of color using culturally responsive interventions and strategies. The chapter also discusses color-blind ideology that is currently being used within graduate counseling programs and within higher education, in general, as a strategy to address racial phenomena. Lastly, the chapter highlights the experiences of two Black female faculty who have taught counseling and advising courses at a predominantly White Midwestern university to White graduate students, who have had very little interaction with people of color. The two faculty members’ experiences will be used to outline effective ways to: 1) explore emotional triggers related to difference among students; 2) promote self-reflection and cultural awareness among students; and 3) discuss topics such as institutional discrimination, systemic racism, privilege, implicit bias, and microaggressions with majority White graduate counseling students.

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