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African Culture Is Not Common Knowledge to Many Americans Even African Americans

Updated on March 27, 2018

African culture is not common knowledge to even African Americans


The African Culture is not common knowledge to many Americans even African Americans. The history taught in this country is that of the achievements of white European Americans, and although February is Black History month it does not enrich the social identity of African Americans in America or other minorities for that matter. To better instill a strong cultural identity the African culture should be shared, along with other cultures so that the white majority can understand that like them Africans come from a rich ancestry of traditions and customs. White European Americans many times to do not see themselves as a race they see themselves as normal and they do not relate to the African Culture as being as special as they feel that their cultural ancestors are.



African ancestry

Special time should be given in the education system to bring up the confidence of African Americans so that they can have the confidence to compete in a country where the white majority already is confident. Children should be taught about the Africa culture in Africa. Such as how in Africa is much more family oriented than in the Western world and time is not a commodity as it is in the United States. Students should learn how the African culture involves communalism, teamwork, concern for others, respect for age and a strong sense of place and tradition. Some African Americans may identify with the beliefs that their ancestors held such as Africans living in Africa tend to believe that they have little ability to change anything and are very past oriented

All Americans may find it interesting and motivating that in Africa the family life in is connected to many generations with Africans knowing an extensive history of their ancestry. It is unfortunate that many westerner generally have little family awareness beyond, say, first cousins and to map out a family tree would be no more than amusing division to an African such a mental map if his family is the focus and the center of his identity. (McCarthy 1994)Gannon 2004) In Africa Generations upon generations share an extensive oral history of their ancestors. Such an aspiring culture should be part of what people in America identify with African Americans.




African religion

African Americans could benefit from learning that many of their African ancestors are not Christian, as is the popular religion in America, In Africa their predominant religion is Islam, believing that everything happens for a reason. Africans believe in fatalism, that they cannot and will not be able to control their destiny because it is in God’s hands. Africans believe that God is the center of the universes, and then their ancestors as they live on as spirits watching over their families. Many African males may find it inspiring that in Africa if a male family member is successful they are expected to take more responsibility in taking care of the family because God and the spirits made it their destiny to do so. Perhaps this type of cultural belief would lead to more confidence in wanting to succeed and share wealth with their families.

Not so good for African women in Africa

Some history like the oppression of women can help African Americans feel grateful that they are in a country where women are liberated. In Africa women are less likely to have positions of authority, and separation of the gender is very prevalent as each sex has their place in society. Polygamy and female exorcism is seen in parts of Africa as the gender imbalances are far greater than in the United States. Men make the huts and hunt and women gather rice, prepare food and take care of the children. It is not uncommon for a woman to be carrying newborn and balancing bundles on their heads. It is also not uncommon for a man to take a second wife while his wife is nursing the baby. Although these traditions are not favorable in America, they are a good insentive for every individual to be grateful that the American education system and criminal justice system do not allow such practices. Having a sense of pride for ones laws is also important if African Americans are going to hold a strong social identity




Slavery in forming America

In America slavery is common knowledge and that in the 1500s White Europeans made an exploitation of the practice. It is also common for many individuals to know that European Americans brought over an estimated 15 million Africans to America. It is less common to know that these Africans were given different names, made to learn a language they had never heard, given a new religion and separated from their families. Many people know but try not to think about how African women were raped so that the white slave owners could have more slaves, and then their slave owners named then after them.

It is necessary that white European Americans remember that they are starting off with an unfair advantage as their white ancestors whipped and tortured African American ancestors and many of them died from punishment or on the boats to America. It is hard to read about how the children of African slaves were sold off like a dog that had puppies. It is very important for the majority of white Americans to realize that in no other time in history did one race dehumanize another race more than during the horrific time of the African slave trade. The word Negro was given to the African man. This “Negro” was taught of his native Africa that is people by heathen, black savages, swinging like monkeys from trees. (Haley 1964) Africans in America no longer had their African identity they were given a new one. African Americans in America will never be able to know their true family name or what tribe they belonged to.

Many white Americans will believe that slavery ended in the 1800’s and they should get over it by now. White Americans sometimes forget that when Slavery ended in 1800s it gave way to a whole new problem for African Americans and this was discrimination and segregation. African Americans were precluded from voting by state laws until the 1960s. (United nations 2008) The civil rights stated equal rights for all however equal rights were not what African Americans experienced. The banks denied loans for African Americans, African Americans had a hard time finding employment and the African American race was now in an even harder predicament than before.

After Slavery

Eventually when the African Americans began to find housing and began moving into the suburbs, the white race moved out and took the jobs along with them, creating their all white suburbs. I was unaware of this piece of history and it really changes the way that I see African Americans. I now see how strong they are as a race because although they were oppressed to the point of separation from wealth, a black man became president of this nation. This economic thrashing created a divide among the races and created what we often refer to as black communities. Thus, the” black ghetto” was created. As high school dropout rates, unemployment, underemployment, crime, and drug use began to soar in inner-city ghettos. (Hadley 1994) This imbalanced start of beginning a new life is still reflected today in the African Americans ability to rise out of these ghettos they were pushed into. Knowing this knowledge would indeed open the eyes of the white majority as they may then begin to empathize with this situation instead of being unaware that it even happened.

Presently the African American race does not have a very strong social identity., The social identity theory suggests that a person’s self-concept derives from his or her membership in a particular social group and the value and emotional significance attached to that group membership (Tatum 1997) Harvey 2008) Because being African American in America is obvious based on the difference in skin color African American individuals are automatically categorized in this social identity. Stereotypes concerning African Americans are immediately seen by others, characteristics associated with not being able to be culturally independent. The image of the African-American criminal seems to be deeply embedded in the minds of many American citizens (Dixon 2006; Dixon and Maddox 2005 )The problem with these stereotype is that they further oppress the African American Culture. If a company believes that an African American may steal or not perform their job well then they will not be hired. Africa Americans cannot be completely independent if they are not given the same opportunities and precedence that white citizens in America are given.

The African American culture is not able to socially identify with its once rich African heritage. White Americans are able to teach their children to be proud of being a part of this county and they are socially able to identify with this pride and therefore are given more opportunities. African American parents face in raising their children; balancing the tasks of promoting cultural pride, preparing children for life in mainstream society, and teaching children how to cope with racism and discrimination. (Rodriguez 2008) A task that African Americans continue to struggle with and that white Americans do not even consider. Aside from Black History month programs often African Americans do not see themselves reflect in the curriculum (Harvey 2008). Although the African American race is still struggling to have the same human rights as the white majority, America would not be the country without them.



African American culture

Music created by the African American culture with live on in history, and is a great way that the African American culture can send their message to others who are not aware of the injustices that African Americans face. African Americans also have many great leaders who have been an inspiration to the African American race including Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Junior and the president Obama. Malcolm X is quoted, “Racism leads America up the suicide path, I do believe, from the experiences that I have had with them that the whites of the younger generation, in the colleges and universities, will see the handwriting on the wall and many of them will turn to the spiritual path of truth.”(Haley 1994) Time and education about the basic injustices to the human rights of the African American culture will be the start to ending of the stereotypes and social injustices that remain prevalent for the African American community.



White privilege

White privilege is an invisible weightless knapsack of special privileges, provisions, Assurances, tools, maps guides, codebooks, passports, visa, clothes, compass, emergency gear, and blank checks. (Harvey 2008) Most white people do not see this privilege they do not even realize that they have it. Many white people do not consider that it is easier for them and that is why they hold the stereotypes that they have against the African American culture, many white people will not even believe that they have these extra privileges and believe that they worked hard to get where they are.

White people do not see that for the same work that they get paid more, and they choose to ignore the injustices that the criminal justice system provides and ignore when racial profiling occurs. Many white people may just choose to ignore it, however this will only become harder and harder to do as the new generations make it a priority. What determines the dominance of one set of needs over the other is social pressure. (Higgins 1967) Without pressure to change, the white society will continue to bask in their advantages, because without motivation why would they see a need for change.

` The only history that African Americans know is a history American school systems teach them about America, they are not taught about their rich culture heritage in Africa. As time progresses perhaps white priority will be taught in high school, not in only exclusively in a master’s program or elite college system, but as common history. Most African Americans will find it hard if not impossible to be proud of being a part of this nation if they continue to become ignorantly oppressed by the white majority. As generations pass and people become more educated and aware of what position they hold in America they will be better prepared to overcome injustices or help others overcome them. As African Americans continue to survive and succeed in America their social identity will become more confident and therefore more successful.





Reference:

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  2. Gannon J. Martin Global Cultures, (3rd Ed) Metaphorical Journeys through 28 Nations, Clusters of Nations, and Continents. 2004 Sage Publications Inc. International Educational Professional Publisher
  3. Harvey, C. P., & Allard, M. J. (2008). Understanding and managing diversity: Readings, cases and exercises (4th Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
  4. Harris R. Phillips. Levine R. Deena. Shuata M. Robert. Wong Z. Herbert. Multicultural Law Enforcement. Strategies for Peacemaking in a Diverse Society. (3rd Ed) 2005 Pearson Education Inc.
  5. Haley. Alex. Roots. The Saga of an American Family 1967 readers digests association. Printed in the United States of America.
  6. Haley, Alex the Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley 1964 published by the Random House Publishing Group. Ballantine books New York
  7. Higgins. Thomas Ethical Theories in Conflict 1967 The Bruce Publishing Company
  8. Kaplan University Choices About the Freedom and Justice Concepts 2008 Pearson Custom Publishing
  9. Corey, G., Corey, M. S., & Callanan, P. (2007). Issues and Ethics in the Helping Professions 7th Ed. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.
  10. Rodriguez, J., Cavaleri, M., Banon Jr., W., & McKay, M. (2008). An Introduction to Parenting and Mental Health Services Utilization Among African American Families: The Role of Racial Socialization. Social Work in Mental Health, 6(4), 1-8. doi:10.1080/15332980802031997.

Teachers of all ages should find ways to include the cultures of all Americans. Knowledge is powerful

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