In Brief

Melba J.T. Vasquez, PhD, a private practitioner in Austin, Texas, talked about how difficult it can be when minority groups collide, in her comments as discussant at an APA 2006 Annual Convention workshop on reconciling conflict between marginalized groups.

Participants in the APA Board for the Advancement of Psychology in the Public Interest-sponsored event considered the unconscious biases and personal experiences that can fuel or spur conflicts based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age or other "group" status. Although minority groups share a marginalized place in society, they may feel indifferent or hostile toward each other, noted Vasquez.

Panel members focused on how challenging it can be for these different groups to work together, address their grievances and reconcile their differences. They shared examples of conflict in their own lives and discussed a three-step conflict resolution process encompassing awareness, communication and understanding.

--L. Meyers