VISTAS Multicultural Issues in Counseling

VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.

Breaking the Psychological Shackles of Racism: Implications for Empowering African American Clients

Hakeem Lumumba


The concept of slavery has existed since the beginning of humankind. Accordingly, Africans have been enslaved by various groups of people throughout the annals of history. For example, the Arabs enslaved Africans during the 7th century. The African Bantu tribe participated in domestic slavery as the result of war with other African tribes. They used the war captives to perform various duties as part of their war debt and the captives were given their freedom upon completion of the debt. Some researchers have suggested that of all the slavery that existed among Africans, none was more horrific than the transatlantic slave trade that existed from the early 15th century to the 19th century. During this period, Africans were not only removed from their physical environment but they were also stripped of their psychological environment. This means that their languages were removed, along with their traditional religious beliefs, values, and customs. In essence they were systematically transformed from an African-centered person to an European-centered person. This transformation was accomplished via beating, rape, torture, and death. This period lasted for approximately 400 years. Although the emancipation of the slaves occurred in 1863, the effects and impact of the horrific ordeal can still be seen with current African Americans. This implies that the psychological shackles have replaced the physical shackles.

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