Factors of Race and Ethnicity in Professional Practice


Factors of Race and Ethnicity in Professional Practice

People come from various races and ethnicities and it becomes important to consider these factors when interacting. Race is the physical appearance such as the color of an eye and skin (Miller, 2013). Ethnicity on the other hand relates to cultural factors such as their language, beliefs, customs, ancestry and nationality (Burnham, & Lomax, 2009). Caucasians Americans are described as people that have light skins and eyes, thin lips and narrow noses, have straight and wavy hair.  In some instances these racial and ethnicity factors may affect professional practice of an individual.

When establishing rapport as a Caucasian male psychologist with clients from Muslim/Islamic population, various factors require consideration.  A Caucasian American comes from a different social background and because of the differences in socialization; their rapport is likely to be affected. One of the factors that require consideration in this interaction is the physical appearance.  A male Caucasian American looks different in physical appearance compared to a Muslim (Dein, 2006).  The Caucasian America is thin, has straight and wavy hair and has narrow nose, features that a Muslim does not have. Because of this difference, there might be a tendency to be biased or show stereotype in their rapport. There is likelihood that a Muslim may despise his Caucasian America counterpart based on this attribute affecting their rapport.  Another factor is the accent/the language these two people speak. Accent is one of the factors that people often use to judge others and to show stereotypes. Muslims have a heavy accent compared to the male Caucasian Americana and this is likely to affect their rapport and interactions.  The conversation may be misunderstood leading to lack of understanding jeopardizing their interactions.  Another factor to consider is the beliefs, customs, norms, customs and values of the Muslim and the Caucasian America. Because of these differences, establishing a rapport between a Caucasian America and a Muslim might become a challenge. Therefore, to adhere to professional codes of conduct, it is paramount for the Caucasian to consider these aspects and try to avoid them.

The factors of ethnic and racial identity, given an identity as a Caucasian

American male may affect how one interact and develop rapport with clients from Islamic/Muslim population in various ways. One of the ways this will affect is the accent the two will use. From the accent of the two, they will realize that they come from different ethnic and race and this automatically affects the way they perceive one another.  For instance, when a Caucasian America realizes that the client is a Muslim, the way of communication may also change because the attitude about the Muslim comes into play affecting their conversation.

Physical appearance is yet another factor of identity that will affect the interaction and development of rapport between these two people. From the physical appearance, a Caucasian America will be able to tell that they do not come from similar ethnic background. This therefore, will affect the way the conversation develops. Because of these differences, the conversation may not be long because the two does not come from same race and ethnicity.

Ethnicity will also affect the way the interaction and rapport develops and goes on (American Psychological Association. 2013).  For instance, when the two people in these interactions; the Caucasian American and the Muslim realize that they do not come from same nationality, or have different cultural beliefs, they will not engage in the interactions more openly compared to when they share their culture or come from similar ethnic background.

Therefore, in conclusion, racial and ethnicity factors play a key role in the way people interact and develop their rapport. As a professional psychologist, it is essential that these factors are approached amicably and in a positive way to avoid favoritism and biasness. The interaction should be based on professionalism.  The race and the ethnicity of an individual may impact on the interaction and rapport. To void assumptions, stereotypes, prejudices and biasness in communication, adhering to ethical standards is imperative.  In this case, it is likely that rapport between a Caucasian American and a Muslim will not develop effectively at first because of the race and ethnicity they come from. However, as a professional psychologists, understanding these factors and challenges becomes important to effective interaction and development of rapport among people that have different cultures and those that come from different races.




American Psychological Association. (2013). Ethnic and Racial Minorities & Socioeconomic        Status . Retrieved from: https://www.apa.org/pi/ses/resources/publications/factsheet-   erm.aspx

Burnham, J., &  Lomax, R. (2009).  Examining Race/Ethnicity and Fears of Children and             Adolescents in the United States: Differences Between White, African American, and             Hispanic Populations, Journal of Counseling & Development, 87(4): 387-393.

Dein, S. (2006). Race, culture and ethnicity in minority research: a critical discussion, Journal of   Cultural Diversity, 13(2): 68-67.

Miller, S. (2013). Professional Socialization: A Bridge Between the Explicit and Implicit   Curricula, Journal of Social Work Education, 49(3):368-386.








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