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Race consciousness and the health of African Americans.

Author information

1
University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing, USA. rwatts@nursing.upenn.edu

Abstract

The historical experience of African Americans in our country has been shaped by the institution of slavery, dehumanization of blacks, segregation, pursuit of civil rights, and racism in contemporary American society. Disparities in health care provide compelling evidence that issues of race or skin color for the descendants of slaves and other ethnic minorities persist in the 21st century. Nurses providing care for African Americans must bridge the racial divide and incorporate culturally relevant content in the health history. As an integral aspect of their professional growth as culturally competent health care providers, they must incorporate the idea of "race consciousness" which is described as an awareness of the historical journey of the group, knowledge of disparities in health care for the people, and a self appraisal of one's attitudes and biases toward the group.

PMID:
12729454
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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