I begin this paper with the beginnings of the life of the person that I am evaluating. The person in question is a twenty one year old lesbian African American woman. This Woman was born in Jacksonville, Florida. She lives a stable life with her siblings and loved ones at her side. Although the first few years of her life were as she would describe it “very complicated”. For the first 18 years of her life she lived in Poverty. She and her brother and sister (whom are both older than her) were not only in the system for years but they were abused and neglected.
The abuse and neglect she endured was not only from her biological parents who abused drugs also but from foster parents who swore to love and care for her whilst she was out of a home and needed love and caring the most, and also from her adoptive parents who treated her and her biological brother for the most part as if they were their own personal slaves, while letting their blood related adoptive children free of the burden of any chores. Sexual abuse has also played a major part in this woman’s life for years now, not only from men but from women too. This woman was taken from her parents at the age of two due to the neglect and abuses she and her siblings endured. The woman was what is known as a “crack baby”. “Crack baby” is a term for a child born to a mother who used crack cocaine during her pregnancy. Although there has been disputes about the effects of crack cocaine on the fetus, nothing has been proven showing that the effects of crack cocaine will hinder the fetus from being able to grow and have a normal life. There have been accounts where some fetus’s faced mental retardation and cerebral palsy but it has not been proven that crack cocaine was the cause due to the fact that most mothers’s who use crack cocaine during pregnancy also smokes cigarettes. There is only increased risks for birth defects nothing has yet been proven fact. As a matter of fact, the woman is now a college student well on her way to graduation but she never thought that she would make it quite that far. Her parents for sure did not. Neither of her parents completed high School. They have both been incarcerated countless times on drug and theft charges. Her mother tried to make something of herself but continued to get pulled back into the addiction of crack cocaine along with the woman’s father. As of now her biological mother is a pathological liar and continues to try and gain attention by faking sick which indicates a factitious disorder (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2007). The woman’s biological father still continues to do everything he possible can to acquire crack cocaine. The woman’s adoptive mother went as far as to complete high school and one year of community college. The woman’s adoptive father did not complete high school and seems to her to have “A mental problem”. None of the parents in her life have jobs, and when they do get them they cannot keep them for more than a few months. The woman does however believe that the crack use and the abuse by the one’s whom she believed would care for her have had a negative impact on her life.
The woman seems to have a problem with being around people. She seems very shy and out of place in large groups or crowds. She is afraid to talk to people for fear of embarrassment. This indicates she has a social phobia (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2007). Although the woman is very smart and has made good grades since she began attending school she does not seem to be interested in school at all. She says that she has no plan for her life. She just does not want to do anything. When I asked the woman what career she sees herself being good at she claimed that she does not think she is “cut out” for any career. She chose social work as a profession to study at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University because she believes that it was the right thing for her to do. She feels that she may be able to help other people who were in the same situation as her but she is just not sure about any of it. When she has to do projects in school or has to publicly speak she tends to have panic attacks, which I believe indicates an anxiety or panic disorder (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2007). She does not seem to be able to deal with stressful situations well. If it seems that something is overwhelming her she cannot seem to keep her attitude in check. She tends to lose it at the spur of the moment times. It seems to me as though she may have a bit of a bipolar complex (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2007). The woman does not have many friends. She believes that she does not really need to be around too many people or trust too many people because they will only end up hurting her anyways. The woman also has problems with coping with most all of her feelings. Almost everything she feels seems to come off as anger to the people around her. She does not seem to know how to express her feelings in a healthy way. Anger is the most prominent feeling she tends to show. The woman tries to hide her emotions from those around her. She does not want to “put her burdens off on others”. She tends to keep things bottled up inside her until she explodes on those around her. She has taken anger management classes but she says that they only worked for so long. I feel that she is a very nice person. She loves and cares about everyone around her even strangers. She tends to want to help the homeless and any other people she sees that are in distress. Sometimes she is extremely happy and then other times she is sad and depressed and when asked why she cannot give a reason. This may also indicate symptoms of bipolar disorder (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2007). This woman does see the need to help her family make their way to the top. No matter what they have done to her if they ask her for help she does whatever it is that she can to make sure that they are ok. No matter what the consequence may be. She wants her family/group to survive (Kambon 1992). She feels that now that she is on a higher level of life so it is the least she can do to help those who need it.
If this woman were to take a test on the ASC scale (Kambon 1992) I believe she would not score very high at all. The home life she describes shows that she has not had much involvement with African culture. She grew up in a small town that was predominantly white. She attended both elementary and high schools that had only a few African American students in attendance. The home in which she grew up did not have many neighbors. She lived in a very rural area for the most part of her life. She has become accustomed to the norms and values of European people (Kambon 1992).
Also the way in which she was treated at home made her not want to adhere to the African culture. Her adoptive mother would beat them with extension cords when she felt necessary. She would make them work out in the field in the hot sun for hours during the day. She was not given much of anything. Her adoptive mother was raised in Georgia during the 1930’s which was predominantly racist. She believes that her mother learned the ways to treat her and her brother from white supremacy people who treated her adoptive mother and her family that way. Therefore she wants nothing to do with the pattern of how African Americans seemed to have learned from the white supremacists how to beat and discipline their own young and others around them. As far as her sense of spirituality goes she is a very spiritual person. She does not attend church at the moment but she had attended a few black churches in her past. She does have that sense of ASC. She does identify with nature and the spirit world and believes everything is connected to a higher being (Kambon 1992). I would say her personality is a mixture. She does in some part identify with African Personality as she has experienced racism, she cares to help her family therefore looking out for the group showing her sense of groupness (Kambon 1992), but she is not fully into her African personality as all African American children should be. Therefore she does not have a strong sense of African Self Consciousness, but she does however have some sense of it. She has grown up and experienced the white world first hand. She was taught by white teachers and those who have already been corrupted by white supremacy.
Now that she is older however she has been getting deeper into her African Heritage. When she does find the courage to hang around people they tend to be African American. She is now attending a Historically Black College and maybe someday she will find a way back to her African roots and then will be able to score high on the ASC scale. Maybe she will be able to teach her children in the future to be of pure African nature and no longer be culturally misoriented (Kambon 1992). But as of right now I believe that she is in between, she is a mix of Eurocentric and African culture.