Theories of Ethnic Identity Development

There exist several approaches to ethnic identity development. Some of the most renowned include the collective action theory and ethnic identity theory, and the concept of critical diversity, among others (Herring & Henderson, 2012: Blanton, 2015). While these models were developed independently, they have several similarities. First, each approach considers the ideological transformation of ethnic identity, and they identify this metamorphosis as a dialectical process (Epstein, 2017). Furthermore, they consider growth as a liberating process that connotes a healthier psychological state. Moreover, these approaches account for how an individual can shift from the negativist to a positivist aspect of self-ethnic identity. However, a significant difference is that they vary in how they explore the meaning and significance of ethnicity and the importance placed on ethnic identity development on an individual’s sense of self.

The theory of ethnic identity development is the most useful and intriguing since it accounts for how racial minorities develop positivism (Yip, 2014). Considerably, the theory indicates that the process is not automatic, nor does it impact everyone. It is a gradual process, which is learned. The transformation of believing in oneself and the psychological well-being account for the rebirth of identity development.

Mainly, the theories focus on elucidating about monoracial individuals. While these theories may not be appropriate for multiracial individuals, they lay a foundation for comprehending this population. Moreover, utilizing these theories help to achieve the goal of culturally competent practice.

Understanding the complex aspects of ethnic identity development has positive effects on social work practice. First, as a practitioner, ethnic identity is a collection of interactive objects characterized by interaction, diversity, and interdependence. By comprehending these perspectives, I understand that an action taken by one party affects other entities. As a result, I can practice in a culturally sensitive manner.

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