By Clovis E. Semmes
Historical, sociological, and ecological analyses reveal that the health of a people is broadly determined by the strength, resilience, and vitality of their culture. The destructive effects of oppression and exploitation on health linger and are difficult to transcend when systemic attacks on the institutional stability of a people persist. Normative cultural destabilization produces added and abnormal challenges to the health status of African Americans. The pursuit of health becomes both a goal and a tool of liberation. Better health builds and releases mental, physical, and spiritual energy that can be directed toward achieving empowerment and development. The process of self-consciously pursuing better health attacks the fundamental mechanisms of cultural exploitation and oppression by serving to dismantle colonial-like relationships of dependency.