Counseling African American Adolescents: The Impact of Race, Culture, and Middle Class Status

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A substantial body of literature addresses the concerns of African American youngsters who experience social distress, academic difficulties, poverty, despair, and violence. This article focuses on issues of particular relevance to school counselors working with middle-class, African American youngsters whose lives may have lit- tle relationship to the above-mentioned stressors. The article begins with an overview of African American socioeconomic status, continues with a discussion of the complex interaction between race and class, addresses culturally competent counseling practice, explores African American cultural values, examines racial identity issues, considers intra-racial stressors, and addresses implications for counseling of middle-class African American adolescents. The authors present a case study to examine each of these issues.