Study Multiculturalism From a Psychological Perspective

In the United States, multiculturalism is on the rise.

Over the past few decades, the country has become increasingly diverse culturally and racially. In the last United States Census, whites -- people who defined themselves as non-Hispanic white -- made up 63 percent of the country. Hispanics made up 17 percent of the total population, African-Americans 12 percent, Asian-Americans 5 percent, and American Indians and Alaska Natives 1.6 percent. People who identify as multiracial in the United States Census constitute 2.4 percent of the total population.

Racial diversity leads to a wider set of cultural groups, with a larger variety of cultural attitudes and behaviors. Implicit in the terms "multiculturalism" and "cultural diversity" is the recognition of tolerance for a wide variety of cultures.

Social Groups and Customs

The social groups and attitudes of non-Hispanic whites are influenced by the many different cultures throughout Europe they originally came from, for example. The social groups and customs of Hispanics are influenced by the many different cultures throughout Central and South America that they or their forbears might originally have come from, as well as the cultures of Spain, Portugal, and Central and South American Indian cultures. African-Americans may practice customs and beliefs arising from Africa, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and the southern states within the U.S. Asian-Americans practice customs and beliefs arising from multiple countries in Asia, such as China, Japan, Korea, Thailand and more.

Demographics Are Shifting

The prevalence of multiculturalism is only expected to increase going forward. Whites, once a large majority, will become a minority in 2043 across the country. In fact, the groups once called minorities -- such as Hispanics, African-Americans and Asians -- are already the majority in children under 5 years old. In that sense, the multicultural future is already here.

Some observers argue that everyone who lives in cities that are multicultural should be counted as multicultural, because the cultures there do not stem from just one culture. New Orleans, for example, has long been a culturally diverse city.

The majority of the population in seven out of the 15 biggest U.S. cities are from cultural groups once termed minorities. Those cities are multicultural.

Studying Multiculturalism at LSUA

Understanding cultural diversity and multiculturalism is therefore one of the most important things one can do in today's society. There's no better perspective on multiculturalism than through the lens of psychology, because a key component of cultural diversity is human behavior.

Students in the online bachelor's degree in psychology program at Louisiana State University of Alexandria (LSUA) are required to take a core course in cultural diversity.

The course, PSYC 3001: Cultural Diversity, introduces the diverse cultures both within our country and worldwide. The course focuses on the factors that have influenced U.S. culture in the past and that continue to influence it today. It studies dynamic questions: How will multiculturalism affect us in the future? What potential consequences are there for the American people?

PSYC 3001 lasts seven weeks and contributes three credit hours toward the 120 credit-hour total required for an online BS in psychology. Students interested in the LSUA BS in Psychology program can choose from multiple start dates throughout the academic year.

Learn more about the LSUA online Bachelor of Science in Psychology program.


Sources:

NBC News: Census: White Majority in U.S. Gone by 2043

United States Census Bureau: American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month: November 2012

NBC News: America's Tipping Point: Most of U.S. Now Multicultural, Says Group

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