The aa ethnic lens
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The AA Ethnic Lens. Ethnogerocounseling Counseling Ethnic Elders and Their Families . Demographics. AA are the largest ethnic category in the United States and black elders are the fastest growing segment of the total black population. Between 1970 and 1980:

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The aa ethnic lens

The AA Ethnic Lens


Counseling Ethnic Elders and Their Families


  • AA are the largest ethnic category in the United States and black elders are the fastest growing segment of the total black population.

  • Between 1970 and 1980:

    • Elders increased 34 percent compared with a 16 percent in the total black population.

  • 1990:

    • 2.5 million blacks over age 65

    • 230,000 over the age of 85

    • 63 black males for every 100 black females over age 65.


  • Black females have the longest life expectancy.

  • They will experience the most significant increase in the total elderly population.

  • 82 % live in cities that are 50% or more black

  • 59% live in the southeastern states.

  • 20% live in extended families.

  • 3-4% live in nursing homes.

  • Over age 85 – 8.4%/males; 13.5/females are institutionalized.


  • Many black elders live in poverty.

  • Racism has reduced opportunities for adequate healthcare, preventive care, education, and job training.

  • Many low paying jobs are not covered by Social Security and medical insurance.

  • Blacks receive less retirement income than comparable whites.

  • 1988 – 32% of black elderly were below the poverty level.

Immigration and migration experiences
Immigration and Migration Experiences

  • Most black slaves came from 25 nations south of the Sahara desert in West Africa.

  • Most lived along the Egyptian routes where traders disseminated goods and the Islamic religion.

  • African-Muslim societies were dominant from the 12th and 16th centuries.

  • The Portuguese established trading posts in the 1500’s and were the first to export African slaves.

  • By the late 1800’s: Jamestown, VA.

    • The Ku Klux Klan was created.

    • Jim Crow laws began under the guise of “separate but equal”.

    • Black families were reunited; marriages were legalized; a black graduated from West Point and Booker T. Washington founded Tuskegee Institute.

  • In the early 1900’s:

    • 500,000 blacks, mostly intact two parent families migrated from the south to the urban north in search of jobs and education.

  • Civil Rights Era: 100,000 blacks who returned from WW I.

    • 1954 – Brown v. Board of Education (school)

    • 1961 – Affirmative Action

    • 1965 – Civil Rights Act of 1965 (integration of school and facilities).

  • Most black elders learned about slavery from their grandparents

Cultural values
Cultural Values 100,000 blacks who returned from WW I.

  • AA culture is defined as bicultural and AA children are socialized to assimilate into both the white and the Afro culture.

  • Standards of child rearing, language, communication, religion, and family composition sometimes differ from those of the dominant society.

  • Parenting is caring but harsh.

  • AA parents raise sons to be both assertive and acquiescent.

  • Blacks are criticized for a culture of poverty and female-centered families.

  • When AA differ from the dominant culture it is not a reflection of their inability to assimilate but rather remnants of an African society and subsequent deprivation.

  • In Africa, blacks enjoyed a culture that included a strong but complicated family life based on a lineage system.