Cultural legacy refers to the cultural traits inherited from a people's cultural practices of centuries ago that are passed from one generation to another and determines the success or failure of people with common ancestry. The socio-cultural rhythm of Ghana plays uniformly in downtown Accra as it does in the northern atmospheric villages. The country's robust cultural diversity derives from the remains of the ancient Asante Kingdom as well as the medieval mosques of Bole and Larabnga (Pinto, 2019). The thrilling and fascinating cultural setup is unmistakably African, complete with a love for festivals. These festivals exhibit exuberance and color and are social events structured around familial ties. Ghana has a unique cultural legacy that allows it to pulsate with life.
Ghana's capital, Accra, as its rural villages, is designed to allow annual celebrations. Births, name-giving, weddings, and funerals are commonplaces that exhibit a carnival atmosphere (Pinto, 2019). The spirit of celebration of growth and development allows Accra to be perhaps the most navigable and safest city in Africa. This trait allows it to brim with interest. The city retains its centuries-old architectural setup that includes a bustling downtown. In Kumasi lies the traditional capital of the Kingdom of Asante. Among the structural reminders of the ancient lifestyle include the ancient weaving village of Bonwire. The Asante King sits at the Manhyia Palace every sixth Sunday, an event that is always marked by a fanfare of horn blowing and exuberant drumming, and the procession of dignitaries. Festivals are part of the Ghanaian lifestyle and involve special dress codes depending on the occasion. Today, Ghana preserves about 100 festivals (Pinto, 2019). Each of the festivals entails authentic African dances and drumming. The dance styles and the entire festival settings get their influence from their ancient representations. The talking drums exist in the memory of traditional communication methodologies.
Ghana still preserves and practices cultural aspects inherited from their ancestral fathers and mothers. These aspects include the rituals such as the Odwira festival, which occurs during various occasions, religious beliefs like the African traditional religions, and elements of marriage and inheritance. Elders play the role of arranging weddings. The country also preserves some artifacts, forts, and castles, and buildings to preserve their culture and remembrance of their ancestors. The Ghanaians value these events, artifacts, and places because they believe they link them to their ancestors. There is also widespread use of herbs, spiritual powers, and healing that draws from the shrines. Folk medicine is revered, even as Ghana transitions towards modern medicine. Foods and drinks are preserved and prepared using specific recipes, per traditional cooking styles and tastes, and the medicinal and health benefits associated with them.
The role of the Nzulezo village, which is over 500 years old, the Larabanga Mosque, and the Shrines, are critical. The shrines and the village are set in scenic environments, which preserves nature. The core aspects of the country's cultural legacy include mosques located mainly in the Northern regions, ten ancient Asante traditional buildings which are dated in between the fifteenth and 20th century, a varied collection of castles and forts that were designed by the Danes, Dutch, Swedes, British, and Germans. Other aspects of the country's cultural legacy include the gold weights, the Carved wooden stools, Kente stool, and the various festivals for various tribes in the country. These artifacts were built by Ghana's ancestral leaders and preserved the instruments of the unity of the country and cultural heritage.
Overview of African Americans in the US Now
African Americans constitute an integral segment of contemporary American life. However, a dark vestige of slavery and prejudice continues to affect their socioeconomic standing (Bird, 2009). Among this subset of the population, mental health is perceived in the context of the foregoing historical context. The tenacity of purpose permits a majority of the African Americans to develop resilience through social ties that enable them to maintain high levels of mental health while overcoming adversity. However, there are many middle-aged male African Americans that belong to vulnerable groups such as the homeless and those under incarceration, which makes it difficult to determine the actual numbers of African Americans. Also, the African American population is heterogeneous in that a large number of immigrants have joined from the Caribbean and Africa over the years.
The history of African Americans disadvantages them in as far as mental health is concerned. Most African Americans trace their American heritage from the slave trade. Years of segregation, which extended to the 1960s, placed them in lower rungs of the socioeconomic ladder until protests were necessary. However, despite the long period of displacements and subjugation, African Americans exhibit extraordinary singular and collective mental strength, which has allowed most of them to succeed against great odds. The current generation of African Americans identifies as religious, which is borne from years of traditions, adaptive beliefs, cultural practices, affiliation, and loyalty. One of the coping processes among African Americans to guard against mental fragility is prayer. Another common practice that helps guard against mental health challenges is social responsibility through religious entities, voluntary associations, strong family ties, and a sense of community.
Mental health among African Americans can also be understood from the demographic and familial structures, income, and education. Even today, the majority of African Americans live in segregated communities that are characterized by high levels of crime, homelessness, and drug use. Such environments expose young African Americans to substandard school life, neglect, victimization, and a lack of cohesive parental setups. African American families are relatively larger compared to white families but mostly consist of single-parent homes. A cocktail of factors including low academic levels, higher levels of chronic health conditions, and disparities in healthcare access mean that alternative options such as prayers and togetherness help to address mental health. Among adults, African American women have a higher prevalence of mental health disorders compared to men. Among children, single-parent structures fail to provide the best support for mental health. The most vulnerable groups, however, are those under incarceration, children in foster care, young people exposed to violence, and the homeless, who are significantly represented among African Americans compared to other racial groups.
The availability, accessibility, and use of mental health services among African Americans also help to understand the scope of the challenges and opportunities. There are far more African Americans in the vulnerable population categories, which makes them reliant on local mental health programs. A greater percentage of the affected people are at the mercies of the public healthcare system with little health insurance coverage. Mental health safety nets exist to assist the affected. However, barriers to mental health care exist, notably, the lack of insurance. Mental health services are designed around existing community structures, which begin at the family. The greatest resource that African Americans have in regard to addressing mental health is their family structure. Having supportive parents can help children to withstand and overcome the existing limitations. It is noteworthy that such support can be established through religiosity and a commitment to togetherness.
Cultural Rituals Relevant to African Americans
One of the most important cultural rituals to African Americans is family reunions. These rituals have enabled African Americans to endure, survive, and maintain their health statuses, even during uncertainties. The key characteristic of these rituals is the leading role played by elders, who essential help in the preservation of the African American legacy, and pass it to the next generation (Barnard & Spencer, 2010). One of the notable cultural rituals associated with African American family reunions is the barbequing of the pig. This tradition is particularly common among the African Americans of the south. African Americans derive a greater meaning to this cultural ritual due to the significance of the pig as part of their cultural identity. It also adds to the idea of plenty that reflects in the family structure and informs the large feasts during such events.
Family reunions serve as vehicles for family integrity. The pursuit of closer family ties, as reflects in the reunions, has been strengthened by events such as the victories of civil rights movements and the need to find identity within a segregated environment. The events provide the perfect environments for a leadership transition. Celebrations such as weddings and deaths also mark leadership transition within the socio-cultural setup of the African Americans (Barnard & Spencer, 2010). However, the growth of technology has made the machinery for socialization and passage of leadership mantles less structured, with the younger generations expected to muster their way into adulthood.
Several strategies can be put in place when providing culturally competent counseling to African Americans in the US. Foremost, the discussion about substance abuse by individuals should be structured in a simple way that understands the true meaning of the life the individuals are living. In simple terms, one must understand the lifestyle his or her African American client is leading before starting to advise them (Walsh, 2001). Most African Americans lead miserable lives, and therefore, a simple mistake made while framing the points to encourage the individuals may lead to misinterpretation of the advice, as the clients will feel insulted, especially when talking about substance consumption.
When providing culturally competent counseling to the individuals, it is crucial to adhere to equality, and not in any way, speak about something that creates a gap between you, the counselor, and African Americans. In this way, it will be so easy to assess the factors that affect the client, as he or she will be willing to disclose much of it. Most of the African Americans feels gapped from the whites in the United States, and therefore it is always so difficult to convince one that you care about him or her (Barnard & Spencer, 2010). Creating client-counselor equality will ensure not only ensure maximum concentration of the client but also make the client open and ready to disclose any information regarding his or her life.
Counselors are advised to learn and understand better the specific ethnic and racial populations they serve, with the inclusion of each population's attitude and beliefs about treatment, treatment patterns, as well as traditions and beliefs about concerning substance use (Walsh, 2001). Besides, counselors are encouraged to seek more knowledge on culturally consistent treatment involvements for the African Americans, with the cultural adaptations of group therapy, family therapy, and relapse inhibition and retrieval. The focus should be positioned on substitutes for substance usage that emphasize spiritual well-being, cultural traditions, and personal rituals.
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