Multicultural Counseling: Perspectives from Counselors as Clients of Color

By Aretha Faye Marbley | Go to book overview

1
From Hills and Molehills
All Across America

The counseling field is struggling to find ways to metamorphose counseling to meet the needs of individuals who have been historically and currently marginalized—not only in the United States generally but also within its mental health systems. Research on the marginalization of people of color in mental health translating into a lack of success with counseling services has been attributed to variables such as inaccessibility, ethnicity and race differences, acculturation, racial identity, and Eurocentric epistemologies and axiology.

Dr. Martin Luther King’s (1968) plea to let freedom ring “[f]rom the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire, the mighty mountains of New York, the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania, the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado, the curvaceous slopes of California and the hills and molehills of Mississippi” (p. 156) was a plea for liberty, that is, respect, equity, justice, and equal rights for people of all creeds, colors, and religions all across the United States. It was a gut-wrenching cry against the massive injustices committed against the descendants of the African people. But more importantly for those groups historically under bondage, it was not a plea for liberation but, rather, a demand for freedom.

For the past 300 years or more, anecdotes of massive injustices (like the following, captured by Carnes, 1995) have resonated from the hilltops, mountains, curvaceous slopes, and hills and molehills all across the United States. In the 1830s, forced from their homeland, Cherokee people walked into exile on the Trail of Tears; in 1842, a North Carolina slave girl escaped a nightmare and followed her dream to freedom; in 1885, Chinese laborers were attacked in Wyoming; in 1890, the U.S. government’s campaign to subdue American Indians culminated in a massacre on the plains; in 1913, a Northern Jew became a scapegoat for Southerners’ fears; in 1917, Mexican Americans endured a reign of terror by the Texas Rangers; in 1923, White Floridians wiped an African American community off the map; in 1942, a young Japanese American pondered the meaning of freedom behind barbed wire. Moreover, even today we have witnessed hate crimes such as the decapitation and dragging death of James Byrd Jr., an African American man, in 1998; and, as late

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