You will prepare and submit a term paper on Multicultural Aspects of Disabilities by Willie Bryan. Your paper should be a minimum of 2250 words in length. There is no monolithic cultural entity among which a people can be grouped. for instance, Bryan (pg. 90) writes, “there is no African American culture, Native American culture…However, there are African American cultures, etc.” As counseling practices are heavily rooted in Euro-American cultural norms, many minorities reject the foundational assumptions of these mental health treatments. Bryan notes that the rate of termination of counseling after one session is highest for minority patients. Indeed, such cultural bias has been argued to engender ‘white racism’ and ethnocentrism that further disrupt the counseling process. While there are considerable factors that divide clients and professionals from different ethnic backgrounds, Paniagua (as cited in Bryan 2007, pg. 99) states, “the factors which appear to have the most impact upon treatment outcome are counselor/helper sincerity and sensitivity.” Proceeding from these foundational elements, this essay investigates the cultural factors that counseling professionals must familiarize themselves with when working with African and Native American patients.
When considering the historical situation of African Americans within the United States it’s important to note that many of the modes of oppression exhibited during the slavery period have long-term psychological effects, many of which continue to affect African Americans. Therefore, while African Americans have been officially free for over a century, the effects of the slavery period continue to act as elements of oppression.
For African Americans, the leading cause of death is a homicide and legal intervention. There are also correspondingly high numbers of African Americans in prison. African Americans typically experience lower levels of education as well. When considering disabilities, African Americans have been determined to have the highest rate of severe disabilities among an ethnic group. This seems to be a result of their socioeconomic position, lack of access to adequate health care, and their unskilled laborer status that causes them to work in riskier and labor-intensive jobs.
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