This chapter discusses social issues of racism and discrimination experienced by many Africa Americas. It also provides effective counseling procedures that can be applied to different scenarios. These issues have contributed to differences between black and white Americans regarding educational level, the social class, and political orientation.
According to the chapter, most of the African American families are characterized by a single parent. The statistics that reveal this fact do not acknowledge the strengths of Africa American families like the emotional and economic support provided by the family network where children are reared by a large number of relatives and even friends. Also, these families value behaviors like assertiveness where men and women can share roles even those that were traditionally assigned to women. Therefore despite the challenges faced by these families, they play a big role in impacting positive attitude in their children. Though councilors attempt to educate black families through culturally sensitive strategies, the differences in the family functioning should not be viewed as a setback.
The education system of the Africa Americans is faced by racism and harsh economic conditions. Though the Africa Americas are receiving bachelor degrees at an increasing rate, they remain behind as compared to whites. While schooling, the black kids face issues like low self-esteem and unfair punishing, for example, the likelihood to receive more suspensions as compared to whites. To counter these challenges, the influencing factors must first be identified like the culturally based factors that make blacks behave in a certain way. Upon recognition of the influencing factor, the educators must respond to behaviors appropriately through consideration. Spirituality plays an important role in providing comfort for black families, and a councilor can use this channel to deal with conflict in school and within the community.
Africa Americans are said to go through transformational stages in order of pre-counter, encounter, immersion-emersion and internalization. The order of transformation relates to the process through which the Africa America accept their identity and develop self-esteem with those in precounter stage reporting high dissatisfaction with the societal condition, while those in internalization stage having highest self-esteem. A culturally sensitive councilor understands this.
Most urban black adolescents suffer from social issues of racism, illiteracy, unemployment, and poverty, and they believe the race to be the main contributing factor. When counseling this group, issues presented differ to some extent as black women complain of male dominated society and the heavy responsibility left on them whenever they play both male and female roles for their kids. As a group, they display the problem of racism and sexism. Often, the black youth are brought to counseling by their parents and because they were not willing at first, cooperation becomes a problem. Scholars suggest several strategies councilors can use to work with black youth. One of them is using metaphors based on Africa traditional stories.The second strategy is supporting the youth with their struggles in the society.The other strategy would be discussing their concerns, and finally, generating family and community support.
Racism has inflicted psychological stress on most Africa Americans especially the youth and hence contributed to the various defensive and survival behaviors. When it comes to health environment especially for managing psychological stress, discriminatory practices prevail which may account for the differences in treatment between the white and black America. This may result in black Americans acting differently towards treatment. The therapists should, therefore, understand any form of mistrust and ensure proper treatment is conducted. A councilor can deal with problems arising from clinical practices by holding an open discussion by being more authentic and emphatic. An African America tends to make decision basing to his or her evaluation of the councilor.