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The Color Purple Film Report Tanya Castillo, Vanessa Holloway, Ronda McEwen, Volonda Montgomery
BSHS 422
April 9, 2012
Joy Gaeraths

The Color Purple Film Report
Cultural competence is important to human service professionals it allows for the appropriate delivery of services to the clients he or she services. Cultural competence is defined as “The understanding of diverse attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, practices, and communication patterns attributable to a variety of factors (such as race, ethnicity, religion, SES, historical and social context, physical or mental ability, age, gender, sexual orientation, or generational and acculturation status” (Cross-Cultural Care, 2012). The human service professional can deliver tailored services and care that caters to diverse beliefs, behaviors, and value systems. Team B will examine characters Celie and Mr. (Albert) in the movie “The Color Purple.” This essay will define the cultural issues or problems of Celie and Mr. (Albert), develop a plan for the delivery of culturally competent services to the characters, develop culturally competent strategies to address those issues, explore the richness of cultural diversity, and the benefits, and drawbacks as portrayed by Celie and Mr. (Albert). The movie “The Color Purple” is an adaption by Steven Spielberg of the novel written by Alice Walker. Walker addresses the issues of sexual abuse, domestic violence, and how these unhealthy traits do not have to be passed on to future generations. The character Celie is an African-American woman who was uneducated, emotionally and physically abused, raped, and bared two children by her stepfather. Celie’s stepfather gave the children away after they were born. Celie’s stepfather gave her to Mr. (Albert) who was looking for a good worker to take care of his children and help out on his farm. Mr. (Albert) married Celie who abused her just as her stepfather had done. Mr.’s children did not respect Celie because she was not their natural mother. The abuse Mr. placed upon Celie was the same abuse he witness his father do his mother when he was a child. Mr. had a mistress name Shug Avery who was the complete opposite of Celie and was a singer who would come to town to see Mr. and perform. Shug takes notice of the way Mr. treats Celie and befriends her. Shug helps Celie see she is a beautiful woman inside and out. This friendship helps Celie to grown emotionally, spiritually, and gains her independence and help Mr. to treat Celie better than he has in the past. The remainder of the paper discusses the culturally competent services and strategies that could have been helpful for Celie and Mr. during their marriage.
Culturally Competent Services
In 1986, the United States Department of Health and Human Services formed the Office of Minority Health (OMH) to address the poor health results in many American minority groups (2011). The OMH has comprised guidelines, resources, training tools, policies, initiatives, programs, and national standards that offer clinicians and health care systems the ability to provide equality in health care for Americans. The OMH recognized the inconsistency of services across cultures and agreed that cultural competency “is one the main ingredients in closing the disparities gap in health care. It is the way patients and doctors can come together and talk about health concerns without cultural differences hindering the conversation, but enhancing it” (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, 2005, n.p.). Culture comprises the way a group of people interpret their beliefs, values, and traditions as well as how the group behaves in their social, religious, and family environments. Cultural competency is the awareness of cultural diversity of the group or individual as well as the knowledge and skills to deliver culturally sensitive services and treatments by the clinician or health care system. The Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community (IDVAAC) recognizes the need to “implement culturally-responsive practices, based on promising community models identified by IDVAAC and its network of scholars/practitioners and other concerned individuals” (Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community, 2008, n.p.). Government agencies, such as the OMH and nonprofit organizations such as, the IDVAAC and have formed to fill in the gaps in service for minority groups. However, these efforts are in higher populated areas such as, inner-cities and their surrounding suburbs. In the case of Celie and Mr. the family lives in a rural area in Georgia not close to a large city where culturally competent services could be within reach. When examining the values of African Americans in the south, faith in God, the support of the church, family, and community provide the opportunity for grassroots services needed to help Celie and Mr. In the small community where Celie and Mr. lived, a cultural norm was breaking down the community; the idea to beat the man’s wife to show her who the boss is. Therefore, domestic violence is a community issue best addressed by a group that could speak up for and protect its members like Celie and Mr. A plan for the community to bring in services to help Celie and Mr. would require a human services worker to reach out to these governmental agencies to get the community the proper assistance in receiving services. Additionally, local help by church pastors and strong support groups within the faith community will help create healing within individuals like Celie and Mr., as well as in the community by helping to create strong relationships, and the protection needed.
Culturally Competent Strategies to Address Issues Developing culturally competent strategies that will address the issues of the characters Celie and Mr. is important because it will help the human service professional to evaluate and understand the history and demographics of the characters. Celie suffered from discrimination, prejudice, sexual & emotional abuse, and poverty a clinician would need to establish a strategy and or approach that would be effective with helping all of these sensitive issues. Celie low self esteem in American culture has contributed in many ways to how the character responds to the various issues she has experienced in her life. Celie has been subjugated by males her complete life and has only had two healthy relationships which include her alienated sister Nettie and her husband mistress Shug Avery. Because of Celie strong faith in God it is necessary to incorporate a culturally competent strategy that includes religion and God to help Celie therapeutic process. In addition, Celie will need to develop self confidence and trust that what she tolerated and experienced from the men in her life does not have to have a negative effect on her future. According to Atkinson and Hackett (2004), by recognizing the interdependence of women’s multiple social and personality identities, gender, is no longer presumed to be the primary source of oppression in all women’s lives. However, in the 1930’s a human service professional would have strategically focus on that being female always occurs in cultural, social, political, economic, and historical contexts and affects development across the life span (Atkinson & Hackett, 2004). Celie husband Mr. (Albert) character is portrayed as brutish, sexually aggressive, abusive, unloving, irrational and lazy. This depiction of African American Men has been criticized by the black community because the character Mr. is a similar distorted representation of how some people view the culture of the African American Men. Mr. himself grew up in an environment with a domineering and authoritative father and as a result learned these bad behaviors and took on his father same role. Mr. could benefit from receiving individual counseling, group therapy and reading self help motivational books to help him overcome the many issues that were afflicted on him as a child and affected him as an adult man.
Reference
Atkinson, D. R., & Hackett, G.. (Eds.) 2004. Counseling diverse populations (3rd ed.) Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill.
Cultural Competence Online for Medical Practice. (n.d.). Cross-cultural Care and Cultural Competence. Retrieved from http://www.c-comp.org/guide/providers/stereotyping/CrossCulturalCare.aspx
Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community. (2008). IDVAAC Goals and Objectives. Retrieved from http://www.idvaac.org/about/goalsobjectives.html
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health. (2005, November). What is cultural competency? Retrieved from http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/templates/browse.aspx?lvl=2&lvlID=11…...

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