Clinical professionals use many tools to make determinations about mental health. Psychological assessments are based on models that describe behavior that is considered abnormal and behavior that is considered typical. These models can be helpful, but they can have potentially racist implications when applied to people of color.

Deficit Model

The deficit model views people of color as inherently inferior. This model was historically used to ascribe low status to people from ethnic minority groups and to explain perceived pathologies in people of color.

For example, according to the deficit model, people of color are described as having a genetic deficit. Psychological problems or behavior that differs from expectations is attributed to a deficiency in the genetic makeup of the individual. In this view, people of color ...

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