GROUP DYNAMICS BASED ON “THE COLOR OF FEAR”
In “The Color of Fear (TCOF),” the focus is on racial diversity and the perception of race, power, white privilege, and segregation within the perspective of American cultural values. The metrics and concepts captured in the project underscore the essence of group development, dynamics, leadership, and conflict or difference in multicultural and diverse settings. The key message and theme in “The Color of Fear” is on discussion among eight people with different racial, cultural, and social backgrounds, dissecting the essence of diversity and inclusion. Moreover, it is part of the concept for understanding the different approaches to group dynamics and how it is formed and contextualized (Kurland & Salmon, 1998). Managing culturally appropriate groups can be challenging based on the perceptions, stereotypes, and myths attached to various groups of people, including whites, African Americans, Chinese Americans, Hispanics, and other Native Americans, among other groups. The main challenge for leaders is how the context of a culturally sensitive and relevant environment can be created to ensure that the set goals and objectives are attainable (USF Urban Education & Social Justice, 2013). Such groups are more likely to experience leadership struggles, conflicts, communication challenges, and other misconceptions that impact their dynamics and frameworks.
Group development processes and steps are one of the challenges within the context of diverse socio-cultural and racial perspectives. One of the contexts is creating a culturally-diverse environment within the group dynamics to make it more suitable and sustainable for everyone with diverse cultural backgrounds. For example, in “The Color of Fear,” the main concern is on how the individual perceptions of the eight characters differ in opinion and perception about being American
and the perception of white dominance and privileges. The characters’ different backgrounds depict the ambiguities and challenges of forming and maintaining multicultural and diverse groups from different cultural backgrounds (Kurland & Salmon, 1998). Understanding the group development passes through a series of interventions and stages, including applying Bruce Tuckman’s forming, storming, norming, and performing phases. These phases have district traits, values, and characteristics that make it more sustainable and consistent outcomes in the long run.
The forming stage entails a wide range of individuals with diverse traits and values. The forming phase includes approaches and strategies that define the rules, task assignment, and organizing teamwork to help achieve the undersigned responsibilities. At this stage, much of the concepts are on defining the core similarities and general traits that create their culture and beliefs in intercultural concepts (Okech, Pimpleton-Gray, Vannatta, & Champe, 2016). Individuals from different socio-cultural and ethnic backgrounds are induced into a group where they must conform to the set goals and standards, highlighting the need for a holistic and inclusive culture that suits their diverse traits and characteristics. For instance, social workers should prioritize creating multiracial team dynamics (Birkenmaier & Berg-Weger, 2017). These are evident in “the Color of Fear,” highlighting the formation stage’s need to have the metrics and concepts that define the long-term sustainability of goals. The behaviors, beliefs, and values are the necessary goals and objectives to underscore the frameworks and situations that unite people. This group sets the standards, rules, culture, and dynamics to influence the outcomes.
The storming stage of group formation and development is significant in shaping the members’ consistencies and value-based bonding and culture. In this
regard, the storming stage highlights the goals and analyzes their achievability for the members, which makes them more contextual and consistent in the long run (Kurland & Salmon, 1998). In addition, there is a need for clarity on how the members of the team and group behave towards each other, which highlights the cultural sensitivity, tolerance, and mutualism among each other irrespective of the racial, cultural, and social diversities backgrounds. The interpersonal relationships among the team members and their perceptions and beliefs about each other make it a more crucial and necessitating stage for group development and dynamics, especially in social work (Birkenmaier & Berg-Weger, 2017). Most disagreements, conflicts, and diversity implications occur in this group formation and development period, as depicted in the diverse views by characters in “The Color of Fear” that define the challenges. Thus, this group makes it possible for everyone to perform the needed tasks and frameworks and achieve the collective goals and objectives.
The norming stage of development is crucial for group dynamics, including setting a purpose and strategy to achieve the defined goals and objectives. In this regard, the issues make it possible for the individual’s share the values and norms that make them learn from each other and develop interpersonal relationships. Communication models and other aspects of the strategic engagement are part of the outcomes in this stage. Consequently, the stage is crucial for ironing out contentious issues that undermine the shared values and norms. For example, in “The Color of Fear,” the fears are adjusted over the possibility that whites, blacks, Asians, and Native Americans coexist within social work (Birkenmaier & Berg-Weger, 2017). Part of the
misunderstanding is on the approaches and metrics that limit the individual values and differences and creating mainstay frameworks and culture that is sensitive, diverse, and tolerant to individual differences. Therefore, the norming stage is crucial in removing the barriers to diversity in the team, making it an understandable outcome.
Lastly, the performing stage is where the differences are ironed out, creating a seamless environment for optimal outcomes. The individual members of the group have been incorporated into the new team and group culture, but a more significant approach enhances the actual achievement of goals. In this period of group dynamics, people are accustomed to their new culture, and diversity is used as the strength that unites the groups together (USF Urban Education & Social Justice, 2013). In this regard, part of the outcome is on the metrics and approaches of enhancing the group’s stability and avoiding conflict that might emerge, as depicted in “The Color of Fear.”
Leadership development within a group entails the strategic skills, abilities, and talents that make individuals stand out among peers and team members. Thus, leaders have distinct traits and approaches that make them more relevant to the needs and culture of the group to offer solutions and alternatives to the overarching challenges. Therefore, individuals with effective communication and listening skills, collaborative instincts, and accountability for their actions and behaviors often appear likable and consistent with the demands for leadership in an organization, hence necessitating social work (Birkenmaier & Berg-Weger, 2017). In addition, such individuals show more concern for the need to showcase the competitiveness and analytics that define the metrics of sustainable outcomes and frameworks. In this regard, team leadership
development skills make it possible for individual leaders to understand the needs, and expectations, solve problems and offer solutions. Thus, the essence of evolved traits helps groups achieve their goals and perform effectively (Okech et al., 2016). Part of the evolution of the leadership is the understanding of the team’s diversity proposing methods and approaches that are consistent with the expected outcomes and routines.
In diverse teams, people who understand the situation and consider the basis of engagement as their metrics for long-term goals and objectives have the right metrics. For instance, the leader-follower perspective is evident in groups that have necessary set goals within the right environment to identify those members with in-depth leadership traits. These aspects are evident in “the Color of Fear,” including the approaches used by the people to moderate the conversation of race and diversity (Toseland & Rivas, 2012). For instance, David found it challenging to identify with the plight of the people of color, making it a crisis in being empathetic of the situation. He was a product of white privilege, which continues to wreak havoc on the diversity of American society in the long run. However, part of the challenge is how to help others accept the situation black Americans undergo. As the film progressed, David became aware of the scenario and offered to understand the part of the problem.
The character represents the strategic approaches and mechanisms to advance the current and future leadership scenarios to understand the long-term goals and objectives. Emerging as a leader to showcase the aspects of racial diversity and the resultant challenges are one of their attributes of David in “The Color
of Fear.” However, he developed into a reputation role model to underscore the changes, adjustments, and solutions to the overarching outcomes and contexts in intercultural conflicts (Okech et al., 2016). These elements conform to the leadership approaches that define situational analysis and responsiveness to long-term challenges. In “The Color of Fear,” David shows the aspects of situational leadership theory as he attempts to navigate the deep-rooted cultural and racial stereotypes and experiences that shaped individual values and beliefs. Moreover, it is significant for the people to ascertain the common goals and objectives in how the group leadership emerges from the challenges caused by diversity (Birkenmaier & Berg-Weger, 2017). Therefore, transformational and transactional theoretical frameworks are necessary aspects of defining the individual behaviors in “The Color of Fear,” demonstrating the impacts of David’s involvement in learning about the plight of the people of color and other races.
The different group members in “the Color of Fear” understood different roles that showcase the emergence of leadership traits and characters in such environments and situations. In this regard, part of the aspects is how the group addresses the perception of their cultural position in the American context, including the issues of approaches towards encouraging the teams and groups (Toseland & Rivas, 2012). This film demonstrates the overarching challenges of thinking and posture and balanced leadership in understanding how Chinese Americans and people of color perceived their American status. Moreover, scanning and facilitating change are traits associated with David, who represented the individual challenges and metrics considered in racial discrimination and segregation. According to the core themes in the film, whites are privileged, making this character more of a
leader in attempting to understand both sides of the divide. Additionally, facilitating change and focusing on maintaining cohesiveness, and building mutual aid are part of the group dynamics associated with the film (Finn & Jacobson, 2021). These aspects assert the basis of groups and how leadership emerges to convince all races that it is normal to be stereotyped.
A group dynamic entails the basis and processes that improve the longstanding interaction, communication, problem-solving aspects, and forecast elements that improve the group’s perspective and make it stand out in the other contexts. The leader’s focus is to embrace the needs of everyone while demystifying the beliefs that could be detrimental to cohesion and diversity calls (Okech et al., 2016). For instance, in the film, Chinese-American David Lee is adamant that he does not feel part of America, even when the whites attempt to justify it. Thus, a great leader would consider such deliberate decisions and work on the metrics and approaches that reduce them in the long run. Group dynamics focus on imposing positive metrics and outcomes and instilling values and strategies with definite results and outcomes. Thus, group dynamics in the film focus on facilitating behavioral change, establishing and maintaining cohesiveness, scanning the possible problems, and thinking within the group posture (Garvin & Galinsky, 2017). Complicity theories of diversity and group dynamics highlight these aspects within the connotation of what the group members believe that people are equal but not the same in America.
The dynamics among the group members are reflected in the approaches and mechanisms that reduce conflicts and enhance collaboration and integration through interpersonal and intergroup communication. Communication is a crucial
part of the team or group dynamics to achieve relevant outcomes such as reduced conflicts. However, communication relates to understanding the socio-cultural values and beliefs that bind a society and make it more relevant, especially social work (Garvin & Galinsky, 2017). For example, communication was evident when David Lee was more vocal in dispensing the norms and myths of his identity as a Chinese and Chinese American. Moreover, the issues of power in groups are evident when the white characters’ attempts to persuade people to see equality versus defense do not come out clearly. These aspects of the norms and roles that highlight the group differences challenge achieving the undersigned goals and objectives, hence just social work practices (Finn & Jacobson, 2021). Moreover, the people must understand the group dynamics through the culture and beliefs that unite them. In the film, the white culture and its dominance of American values are the sources of conflict, impacting group dynamics.
Group Roles and Conflict/Differences:
Conflict is one of the dominant features of group dynamics that continue to pose challenges for leadership and coexistence. It is part of any socio-cultural or religious setting, where diversity and differences are part of the composition of the teams. Conflict is based on age, sex, gender, experience, background, and social and cultural stratification. These factors make it almost impossible to have a group without the differences and conflicts to promote just practice (Finn & Jacobson, 2021). In the film, the conflict is on the perception of being American and the feeling of entitlement by the whites compared to other races. In this regard, the group is based on the approaches and metrics of
understanding how each of the deeply-held values and beliefs is consistent with the need to address the conflicts that arise.
The video depicts Chinese, Hispanics, whites, and African Americans’ conflict of identity, racial backgrounds, and roles in American society. They believe in various views, with some more entitled than others. In this regard, the focus is on the strategic approaches to managing the conflict to create an optimal, diverse, and sustainable culture related to all the elements and aspects (Brown, 2018). In “The Color of Fear,” the focus is on managing conflict arising from diverse backgrounds and creating a diverse, inclusive, and tolerant environment for the group members to feel valued.
In essence, issues of group dynamics, leadership, and conflict management metrics underscore the management practices’ frameworks. Through the lens of “the Color of Fear,” it is possible to establish the group concepts from the identified variables and make it possible to address them in the context of long-term goals and objectives, and perspectives. However, the individual characters from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds have historical, cultural, and value-based differences that continue to hurt the progress of their management perspectives and outcomes. In addressing them, part of the challenge is the need to improve the sustainability of the individual groups and have a culture of diversity, inclusion, and tolerance.
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Brown, N. W. (2018). Psychoeducational groups: Process and practice. Routledge.
Finn, J. L., & Jacobson, M. (2021). Just practice: Steps toward a new social work paradigm. Journal of social work education, 39(1), 57-78.
Garvin, G. & Galinsky. (2017). Handbook of Social Work with Groups. New York, Guilford Press. https://doi.org/10.1080/01609513.2017.1413924
Kurland, R., & Salmon, R. (1998). Purpose: A misunderstood and misused keystone of group work practice. Social Work with Groups, 21(3), 5–17. https://doi.org/10.1300/J009v21n03_02
Okech, J. E. A., Pimpleton-Gray, A. M., Vannatta, R., & Champe, J. (2016). Intercultural conflict in groups. The Journal for Specialists in Group Work, 41(4), 350-369.
Toseland, R. W., & Rivas, R. F. (2012). An introduction to group work practice. Boston, MA: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon.
USF Urban Education & Social Justice. (2013). Color of Fear by Lee Mun Wah. YouTube Video. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nmhAJYxFT4