Wrestling with Destiny: The Cultural Socialization of Anger and Healing in African American Males
Society’s negative images of Black males have devastating consequences for their emotional and spiritual health. The PLAAY project (Preventing Long-term Anger and Aggression in Youth) is a multi-component program that seeks to reduce the anger and aggression of Black urban youth with a history of interpersonal conflict. The program components include in-vivo assessment and intervention during athletic movement (basketball play and escapist martial arts), cultural socialization therapy, and parent empowerment groups. In the martial arts and basketball intervention components, the role of movement is essential to understanding how the boys express their confidence and frustration. This article begins with a reflection on the author’s own emotional and cultural anger towards the limits of Western scholarship and collegiality, examines the theological implications of imaging on Black male mental health, and finally describes the development and procedures of PLAAY. Theological and psychological implications of culturally relevant interventions will be discussed.