No Place For A Black Man


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A discussion on the effects of Racism and Discrimination on the Mental Health of African American males

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No Place For A Black Man

  1. 1. The Effects of Racism and Discrimination on the Mental Health of African American Males Rogers W. Gardner II 07/07/09 1
  2. 2. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Racism There is nothing more dangerous than to build a society with a large segment of people in that society who feel that they have no stake in it; who feel that they have nothing to lose. People who have a stake in their society, protect that society, but when they don't have it, they unconsciously want to destroy it. 07/07/09 2
  3. 3. Agenda  African American Culture  Slavery  Segregation  Civil Rights  Values and Customs  Religion  Perceptions and Stereotypes  Myths versus Reality  Blacks in the Media 07/07/09 3
  4. 4. Agenda Continued  Cultural Traits  Poor, Middles and Upper Class  Family  Cultural Identity  Self Perception  Education  Language  Complacency versus Ambition 07/07/09 4
  5. 5. Agenda Continued  The Mental Health of African American Males  The Effects of Racism  Low Self-Esteem  Depression  Violence  The Effects of Discrimination  Counseling Challenges  Conclusion/Summary  Recommendations  Resources 07/07/09 5
  6. 6. The Effects of Racism and Discrimination on the Mental Health of African American Males 07/07/09 6
  7. 7. The Effects of Racism and Discrimination on the Mental Health of African American Males Issues associated with racism and discrimination has a direct correlation to the mental health, and positive self perception of the African American male. 07/07/09 7
  8. 8. No Place for A Black Man: The Effects of Racism and Discrimination on the Mental Health of African American Males Contemporary society has placed many challenges on the African American male that has had drastic effects on their cultural development. Many African American men are struggling to overcome the external stressors that dictate the type of educational opportunities, health care and, employment services available to this community. 07/07/09 8
  9. 9. No Place for A Black Man: The Effects of Racism and Discrimination on the Mental Health of African American Males Many of theses external stressors have created a negative perception of educational institutions, displaced emphasis on learning and devalue academic achievement in the Black community. The media promotes negative images of African Americans as uneducated hoodlums who use non- Standard English. According to Al-Kaleem (2001), prior to 1969 the media covered African Americans as if they did not live normal lives. 07/07/09 9
  10. 10. The African American Culture: Past, Present and Future 07/07/09 10
  11. 11. The African American Culture: Past, Present and Future (Slavery) African Americans were taken from their homeland and brought to America as slaves. Slaves were stripped from their native lands but held on to their individual cultures, languages and customs. Naturally, the white slaveholders did not want the slave to embrace their cultures, languages and customs so, the slaves developed other means to communicate and celebrate their culture. One such way was to tell stories and the singing of songs (Asante, 2005). 07/07/09 11
  12. 12. The African American Culture: Past, Present and Future (Segregation) Before the Civil War a large percentage of African Americans were slaves and there was not a need for segregation. Segregation became the rule in the South after the Civil war. The small percentage of free blacks prior to the civil war faced the many faucets of segregation which included exclusion from schools, theaters, taverns, and other public places. 07/07/09 12
  13. 13. The African American Culture: Past, Present and Future (Segregation) Several laws were passed that limited the rights of blacks, placed limitations on black occupations, property ownership, and vagrancy laws under which blacks could be forced to work for whites if they were considered unemployed. Laws were also used to segregate the schools, and the justice system. These laws or “Black Code” successfully prevented the newly freed slaves from improving their status in society (Asante, 2005). 07/07/09 13
  14. 14. The African American Culture: Past, Present and Future (Civil Rights) Challenges to segregation and its stressors became more successful after the civil war. During the peak of the Civil Rights Movement, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, guaranteeing basic civil rights for all Americans (, regardless of race, after nearly a decade of nonviolent protests and marches, ranging from the 1955-1956 Montgomery bus boycott to the student-led sit-ins of the 1960s to the huge March on Washington in 1963. 07/07/09 14
  15. 15. Values and Customs The African American culture is so diverse and has so many subcultures that it is difficult to list and define them all (Asante, 2005). 07/07/09 15
  16. 16. Values and Customs (Religion) Religion has been an intriguing part of the African American culture since the days of slavery and it is still a dominant part of the culture. Sue and Sue (2003) commented that spirituality and religion play an important role in many African American families and provide comfort in the face of oppression and economic support. There was a time when all they had was family, which included the community as a whole and the church. 07/07/09 16
  17. 17. Values and Customs (Religion) Many male members of Baptist churches held key positions. In todays’ Baptist churches the number of African American males serving in the positions of Deacon, Elder and Trustee is at an all time low (Powell, 2005). 07/07/09 17
  18. 18. Perceptions and Stereotypes 07/07/09 18
  19. 19. Perceptions and Stereotypes (Myth versus Reality) There are basic stereotypical perceptions held about people from virtually every race (Smith, 2005). African American people are characterized as being aggressive and athletic, while German people are viewed as being industrious and studious (Smith, 2005). 07/07/09 19
  20. 20. Perceptions and Stereotypes (Myth versus Reality) When a small percentage of a given culture confirms a particular stereotype, the perception is validated in the minds of others (Smith, 2005). Additionally, many people believe that when faced with individuals who fit a preconceived notion that is held about a particular race, one will expect the individual to have other characteristics that are also stereotypical of that race (Smith, 2005). 07/07/09 20
  21. 21. Perceptions and Stereotypes (Blacks in the Media) Junne, (1996) suggests that early African Americans attempted to re-shape the perception of African Americans but the status held by many “Blacks” due to slavery made it extremely difficult. 07/07/09 21
  22. 22. Perceptions and Stereotypes (Blacks in the Media) The media has played a critical role in perpetuating the effects of historical oppression and in contributing to African- Americans' continuing status as second-class citizens (Balkaran, 1999). 07/07/09 22
  23. 23. Perceptions and Stereotypes (Blacks in the Media) The continuation of negative media coverage and its portrayal of African Americans has diluted white Americas understanding of African Americans and their culture (Balkaran, 1999). 07/07/09 23
  24. 24. Cultural Traits 07/07/09 24
  25. 25. Cultural Traits (Poor, Middle and Upper Class) Identifying a particular class in the Black community is difficult and confusing. One can not use the same standards to determine class among the white majority as you would for African Americans (Warren, 2005). Warren (2005) argues that there is no black equivalent to the white upper class “captains of corporations”. Additionally Warren states that an African American who runs a black insurance company is not the same as a Caucasian American who runs a Ford Motor company. 07/07/09 25
  26. 26. Cultural Traits (Family) The extended family and kin is a critical component of the African American community that are usually over looked by society. Society tends to focus on the negative images and perceptions of black families. According to a presentation given by Dr. Oscar Barbarin, African American families have about 70 different family structures compared to about 40 different structures among white families. The comparison highlights some important characteristics of the African American family structure and how the family structure contributes to the development of not only Black males but the entire African American community (Barbarin, 2002). 07/07/09 26
  27. 27. Cultural Traits (Family) The African American family usually demands strict behavioral standards and uses physical discipline. Barbarin (2002) believes the cultural strictness among African Americans is balanced within a context of strong support and affection. African American males receive their cues from older males who handle the disciplinary action in the family and if the biological father is not in the home, African American children have contact with uncles, male cousins, and other males in the community (Barbarin, 2002). 07/07/09 27
  28. 28. Cultural Traits (Cultural Identity) Thomas and Weinrach, (2002) suggest that no analysis is complete with addressing the issue of race and it influence on cultural identity. Sue and Sue (2003) suggest that minorities go through a sequential process of racial identity or consciousness. Sue and Sue (2003) also states that this process for African Americans, involves a transformation from a non-Afrocentric identity to one that is Afrocentic. 07/07/09 28
  29. 29. Cultural Traits (Cultural Identity) In an article titled, The Cultural Mistrust, Ethnic Identity, Racial Identity, and Self-Esteem among Ethnically Diverse Black University Students, Gerard, Phelps, and Taylor, (2001) wrote in “The study of African American racial identity has a long and sometimes disturbing history in American psychology. The concept of racial identity has been used to both denigrate and exult the ways in which African Americans as a community have coped with the impact of systematic oppression in America (Gerard et al, 2001). 07/07/09 29
  30. 30. Cultural Traits (Cultural Identity) Sue & Sue (2003), discusses Cross’s Black identity development model. This model walks an individual through different stages of cultural identity and development. The beginning of this model highlights an individual as identifying with predominate cultural values/beliefs and transitions to a realization of who and what they are. The next phases are an acceptance and eventual pride in the African American race (Sue and Sue, 2003). Members begin to accept their own cultural values and beliefs and identify with their own race. Counselors have to be able to identify the development stage of a client in order to render effective services. 07/07/09 30
  31. 31. Cultural Traits (Cultural Identity) The counselor also needs to understand the developmental process in order to create an effective counseling strategy. The development models provide a frame of reference for counselors who are not familiar with many minority cultures. + = 07/07/09 31
  32. 32. Cultural Traits (Self Perceptions) White Americas perception of the African American male has caused many to buy into the myths and stereotypes used to describe African American men. It is easy to buy into a Black male being a criminal, drug addict or gang member when he is being portrayed as subhuman. In an article titled Why most Black think O.J is innocent, Sut Jhally, (2005) commented that the images presented by the media turns real and complex human beings into crude one-dimensional caricatures, which then come to define minority populations for the majority. 07/07/09 32
  33. 33. Cultural Traits (Educations) Over the last 31 years this writer has been continuously bombarded with stories and statistics presenting the achievement of African American males as less than desirable. Powell (2005), states that many Black males achieves score that are significantly lower than their peers in the “inner city” public schools across the nation. The Black male achieves significantly lower then other students. This trends leads to the categorizing of African American youth. Subsequently, many of the young African-American males are guided into special education programs. 07/07/09 33
  34. 34. Cultural Traits (Educations) In an article titled African-Americans Still Face Discrimination in Schools, Yvette Owo (2004) wrote “Students can be designated as special education students based on four criteria: mental retardation, specific learning disability, emotional instability or health impairment. Of the four, only mental retardation is objective, considered to be an IQ below 70. The other three, however, are highly subjective and - not coincidentally - are the main justifications for placing African-American males in special education classes”. 07/07/09 34
  35. 35. Cultural Traits (Language) African American youth imitate the attitudes, behavior and improper use of the English language presented by the media. Children become attuned to use of language early in life. Parents need to be aware of the slang terms and sloppy English used in the home as the parent-teacher. Bertels (2003), suggest that the speech habits of African American in the class room are often a matter of social class rather than race. Furthermore, African American children from middle-class families are more likely to adopt ‘black slang’ which is that is drastically different from the language or speech pattern of poor African American students (Bertels, 2003). 07/07/09 35
  36. 36. Cultural Traits (Complacency versus Ambition) Many of the African American males are being portrayed as individuals who lack a sense of purpose. If this concept is allowed to be transferred onto the psyche of the African American male community, it can turn into a negative attitude that destroys their inner drive/ambition (Bertels, 2003). 07/07/09 36
  37. 37. The Mental Health of African American Males 07/07/09 37
  38. 38. The Mental Health of African American Males (The Effects of Racism) Racism affects the mental health of African American males by destroying their self esteem and portraying them as subhuman to the American public. This negative portrayal can cause external stressor form other cultures and that can directly affect the mental health and mental health services offered to this community (Bertels, 2003). 07/07/09 38
  39. 39. The Mental Health of African American Males (Low Self-Esteem) There are three major paradigms that has have been used to examine personal self-esteem of African Americans (Phelps et al, 2001). These paradigms include theory of social evaluation, locus of control, and socialization and strength of community. Findings in this area suggest that African Americans' personal self-esteem is no lower than the personal self-esteem of Whites (Phelps et al, 2001). 07/07/09 39
  40. 40. The Mental Health of African American Males (Depression) Many African Americans do not consider depression to be a mental disorder that affects the African American community. Some members of the Black community believe that individuals who are suffering from depression are in line to take medication that induces a slow mental state. In an article titled Depression Should Not Be a Dirty Word, Stephanie L. Ogle writes, “Depression does not discriminate based on age, sex, color or social/economic status. 07/07/09 40
  41. 41. The Mental Health of African American Males (Depression) Depression also comes in various forms & may not be easily detected initially. Throughout history, African-Americans have been improperly & under- diagnosed in regards to depression yet have been over- diagnosed when it comes to schizophrenia (Phelps et al, 2001). 07/07/09 41
  42. 42. The Mental Health of African American Males (Alcohol leads to Violence) Alcohol can be attributed to many negative African American stereotypes the self-perception and mental health of the African American community. This community houses more alcohol/Liquor stores than their white counterparts in other communities. Several Black leaders have addressed the issue of alcohol being heavily advertised by television and radio stations in African American communities. 07/07/09 42
  43. 43. The Mental Health of African American Males (The Effects of Discrimination) The African American general populace does not control the attitudes, beliefs or perceptions society has of “Black America”. A critical aspect in understanding African Americans discrimination is to realize that those individual considered as lower-lower class African American have become the stereotypical image all blacks in America. 07/07/09 43
  44. 44. The Mental Health of African American Males (The Effects of Discrimination) African Americans stand out as the most visible minority group in America. The problems experienced by African Americans due to “Black” characteristics such as skin color are used as to determine quality. These same characteristics are used to determine the quality of housing, service, and products (Broman, Jackson and Neighbors, 2001). 07/07/09 44
  45. 45. The Mental Health of African American Males (The Effects of Discrimination) Separate, inferior school buildings existed for most of the century, and even today, the issue of adequate state support for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) is couched in Proposition 209-type terms that such support will be a drain on public resources ( 355lect11.htm). 07/07/09 45
  46. 46. Counseling Challenges According to Sue and Sue (2003) interpersonal challenges deal with relationships between the client and counselor, and intrapersonal challenges deals with an individual’s ability to know his/her own values/beliefs. Many minorities tend to have issues that are classified as interpersonal challenges. Sue and Sue comment (2003) comment that therapist may often respond to the culturally diverse client in a very stereotypical manner and fail to recognize within-group or individual differences. 07/07/09 46
  47. 47. Counseling Challenges The stereotypical attitudes and belief may create barriers to an effective client therapist relationship, communication and counseling strategy. Many minorities do not trust Euro-American counselors due to established cultural norms and behaviors past and present (Sue and Sue, 2003). 07/07/09 47
  48. 48. Counseling Challenges Counselors have to be able to identify the development stage of a client in order to render effective services. The counselor also needs to understand the development process in order to create an effective counseling strategy. 07/07/09 48
  49. 49. Counseling Challenges Counselors/clients need to have a self awareness of personal beliefs in order to be an effective participant in the counseling process and to provide meaningful feedback. Without this awareness a counselor will not be able to see past personal stereotypes and be an instrument of change to the client. 07/07/09 49
  50. 50. Counseling Challenges The American Counseling Association section A.2.b, states that counselors will actively attempt to understand the diverse cultural backgrounds of the clients with whom they work. This includes, but is not limited to; learning how the counselor's own cultural/ethnic/racial identity impacts her or his values and beliefs about the counseling process. 07/07/09 50
  51. 51. Conclusion/Summary Many African American men are struggling to overcome the external stressors that dictate the type of educational opportunities, health care and, employment services available to this community. 07/07/09 51
  52. 52. Conclusion/Summary Black parents must raise their young Black boys to be men who have a strong cultural foundation that foster a positive self image. Young African American boys must be educated on the fundamental principles, such as education and spiritual morality that have produced strong Black men in our past. The African American community must demand the very best from their black men while the black male is being supported by the black community. The issues presented in this presentation have a direct correlation to the mental health, and positive self perception of the African American male. 07/07/09 52
  53. 53. Recommendations Research provided in this essay, suggest that it is critical for the African American community to ensure it provides its male members with access to health insurance, support networks, health care facilities and counselors who understand the African American culture and language. 07/07/09 53
  54. 54. Recommendations It is also recommended that the African American community educate its males on principles, such as education and spiritual morality. Educating African American males on education and it importance ensures young African-American males are equipped to succeed in public school systems, colleges and universities. The importance of education should be viewed as a positive and empowering experience. 07/07/09 54
  55. 55. Recommendations Steps should be taken to ensure young African American children are properly assessed and monitored before being placed into special education programs. 07/07/09 55
  56. 56. Recommendations Additionally, African Americans should create and utilize programs/activities that provided a sense of accomplishment and pride. The programs/activities are intended to build the self esteem and confidence of African American males. This recommendation also provides for healthier personal relationships and self perception. The activities would allow the Black male to see how his actions affect his life and the lives of those around him. 07/07/09 56
  57. 57. Recommendations It is also recommended that adult African American males take on a more active role in the growth and development of young African American males. The self-perception and esteem of young Black men are affected by the interactions and behavior of the black male role model. An African American males’ relationship with his father heavily influences his personal development, growth and personality. 07/07/09 57
  58. 58. Recommendations Additionally, African American males should join an African American or Historically black fraternity. This provides an outlet for males to associate with professional or like individuals while providing an opportunity to participate and socialize in cultural and professional activities. 07/07/09 58
  59. 59. Recommendations African Americans should seek out counseling opportunities and take advantage of mental health resources. Additionally, Blacks should research a counselor’s cultural and professional background. African American should be aware of current issues and promote counseling the Black community. Informing this community that culturally skilled counselors possess knowledge and understanding about how oppression, racism discrimination, and stereotyping affect them personally and in their work can help to foster an effective client/therapist relationship (Arredondo, 1999). 07/07/09 59
  60. 60. No Place for A Black Man: The Effects of Racism and Discrimination on the Mental Health of African American Males 07/07/09 It’s time for a Change 60
  61. 61. Where to Get More Information Al-Kaleem, K. (2001). Television News Images of African Americans and Their Effects on Self-Esteem. University of Maine at Augusta Arredondo, P. (1999). Multicultural Counseling Competencies As Tools To Address Oppression and Racism. Journal of Counseling and Development, Vol 77 Issue 1 p102 Asante, M.K. (2005). Contours of the African American Culture. Retrieved March 12, 2005, from ( B. Smith (personal communication, March 10, 2005) 07/07/09 61
  62. 62. Where to Get More Information Bertels, R. (2003). Leaving No Child Behind. Retrieved March 08, 2005, from ( ) Balkaran, S. (1999) Mass Media and Racism. The Yale Political Quarterly. New Haven, CT Broman, C.L., Jackson, J.S., & Neighbors, H.W. (2001). Racial Group Identification Among Black Adults. University of North Carolina Press Day-Hairston, B.O., & Day-Vines, N.L. (2005). Culturally Congruent Strategies for Addressing the Behavioral Needs of Urban, African Male Adolescents. Professional School Counseling, Vol 8, Issue 3, p236, 8p 07/07/09 62
  63. 63. Where to Get More Information Gerald, P.A, Phelps, R.E., & Taylor, J.D. (2001). Cultural Mistrust, Ethnic Identity, Racial Identity, and Self- Esteem Among Ethnically Divers Black University Students. Journal of Counseling and Development Herilhy, B., & Corey, G. (1996). ACA Ethical Standards Casebook. Alexandria VA: American Counseling Association. J. Banks (personal communication, Feb 26, 2005) Jhally, S. (2005). Why Most Blacks Think O.J. Is Innocent. Retrieved March 01, 2005, from ( 07/07/09 63
  64. 64. Where to Get More Information Junne, G. (1996). Blacks and the Media. University of Northern Colorado Linstead, S., Hopfl, H. (2002). Culture and Organization. Taylor & Francis Ltd O. Barbarin (personal communication, March 09, 2005) Owo, Y. (2004). African-Americans Still Face Discrimination in Schools. University of Texas at Austin Sue, D. W., & Sue, D. (2003). Counseling the culturally diverse: Theory and practice. (4th ed.). New York: John Wiley & Sons. 07/07/09 64
  65. 65. Where to Get More Information T. Powell (personal communication, March 12, 2005) Thomas, R.K., Weinrach, S.G. (2002). A Critical Analysis of the Multicultural Counseling Competencies: Implications fro the Practice of Mental Health Counseling. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, Volume 24,Number 1, pg 20-35 U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (1997, Jan 15). Retrieved March 11, 2005, from Understanding Discrimination Against African Americans. (Jan 6, 2004) Retrieved March 7, 2005, from 07/07/09 65