Since 1997 the social definition of race has been recognized in the USA, which did not include any anthropological, biological or genetic criteria. Multiple race was allowed to be reported. In the 2000 census the responders were invited to report the race they considered themselves to belong to. By transferring the criterion of race from the category of fact to the category of quasi-facts, several challenges have arisen: concept validity, reliability, response selection and consistency over time; because it turned out, (longitudinal studies showed), that individuals could change the category of race of choice depending on the setting.
This presents from my point of view a revolutionary step forward in terms of encouraging diversity, eradicating stigma, prejudice and discrimination in a multicultural context such as the USA. This is a humanistic approach that credits objective personal worth and merits, which values the real achievements realized by a person, that could be capitalized on, regardless of other givens such as descent and origins. This event has several implications for social psychology as the attitudes (ABC – affect-behaviour-cognition) in a society are created based on objective, but most often – on subjective elements, and attitudes are difficult to change over time. Attitudes fed by misconceptions, and insufficient information give rise to stigma and discrimination. These two may shape from the destiny of an individual to the dynamics of a group.
Another radical event that is unfolding in the era of advanced technologies is the case of Caitlin Jenner, which is fascinating for the educated public. The most remarkable transgender of modernity had officially become a woman on the 25 September 2015. This is a special case because Jenner was of a respectable age when he had undergone the transformation, has six children from three marriages with women, had been a decathlon champion literally and figuratively in his life in the role of a man. At first, my personal opinion to this was reactive and shamefully biased.
Now I understand what a tremendous interest this case would present for personality psychology. We have evidence of great untapped human resources. An entire life of a man was gracefully put aside so as to adopt the persona of a woman, learn the schemata, adapt and assimilate cognitive schemes – patterns specific for a woman’s behaviour and act like one. The Jenner’s activity includes a TV show, modelling, filming in advertising to promote different brands, participating in different other shows as a guest, in different other events at the international level, campaigning. SHE has righteously been nominated for the title of TIME’s personality of the year. The personal courage of Jenner allows her in a decent manner to launch an anti-discrimination plea on behalf of transgender people, minorities of all types and appeal for more tolerance and acceptance. We cannot discern all the elements of her transformation, we cannot perceive the affective aspect, her social integration challenges how she struggles with both the physical cicatrices and gender specific stigma. Jenner made history.
The by-stander effect to the humanitarian catastrophe of the Syrian refugees has gradually divided the modern world opinion. Some are invoking an Islamic religion strategy to conquer the unfaithful, others are appealing to help the displaced population who obviously present the signs of distressed victims of a genocide. Some countries had precipitated to harshen their immigration laws, openly expressing the categorical refusal to accept refugees into their countries, others are receiving them among heated debates upon the established quotas, discriminative intentions to receive only Christians and not Muslims, or even to segregate all the refugees in an assigned zone.
The integration process of the acutely distressed Syrian refugees should ideally start with a screening of their psychological condition – the PFA (Psychological First Aid) and more precisely with the RAPID model of intervention. RAPID stands for Rapport and reflective listening; Assessment; Prioritization; Intervention; Disposition and follow up. I think trained psychologists would be in great demand for assisting the refugees to overcome the cultural barriers, in the new place, then besides struggling for settling and organizing their life, they would have to confront with the structural resistance and of the local population. Acute stress and stigma would have to be fought against within their small groups, through cohesion and solidarity. The serious cases who suffered from bereavement, loss not only of property but also family members, should be referred to specialized clinical institutions.
Among the modern approaches that psychology could apply in the case of refugees are the CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy); Family Therapy and the Culturally Sensitive Psychotherapy.