The Truth About Being Black in America
The political machinations in modern America work so that the most innocent of society gets caught in the crosshairs of the legal gun. Many citizens cried out in disgust at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement forced division of families who entered the United States illegally. It is strange that the country which at one time welcomed immigrants by the boatload and even forced people to enter this nation is now doing what all other nations do. What is strange is the world expects the US to be more inviting. The US is on a learning curve. We invite the masses to the shores of our land but not the downtrodden so much anymore.
As America struggles to identify the character of its future as a nation, reviewing its evolution and what remains constant is important. Immigrants without documentation have little rights in America like the slaves in the early days of this nation.
Effects of Slavery
African Americans or Black decedents of Slaves are one of two groups of unique minorities in the United States of America--the other being the American Aboriginal or Native American.
The peculiarity of African Americans has nothing to do with the origin of this minority constituting about 13 to 15 percent of the US population. The physical characteristics that typically identify Blacks are not what makes this group of Americans unique because Blacks from other nations have those same identifying marks.
What distinguishes the Blacks of America from other groups who immigrated to the United States of America?
Blacks did not enter the US by choice. The only group to come to the Americas by force is one of the distinguishing features of Americans of African Ancestry. Every other group of the Americas can reverence the memory of pioneer ancestors who traveled bravely across the ocean. Specifically in the US, millions extol the memory of ancestors who trekked the great Western plains willing to forge new lives and build something unique--putting aside old culture and adapting to new.
Other heritages that made the US great gave up their languages to become Americans.
Irish immigrants spread across Pennsylvania and Italians dominated New York creating new American versions of the old country, for example.
The operative action is that these other groups GAVE; and often so, willingly.
What of the African?
The fact that African Americans are called African at all is an indication of the limited ethnic and cultural explanation of this group's history. The nationalities of the ancestors of Americans of African heritage are a mystery for most of the modern descendants.
Slavery stripped this group of the choice to decide to merge with American culture. Slaves were the cattle of the European slavers in full measure.
There would be no Walimi Americans or Bangelima Americans, just African because the tribes and nations were intermixed preventing camaraderie through language and national identity. There would be no melting pot of exotic names because the tribes people were renamed and branded as nonhuman and soulless.
There would be no unique motherland identity. There would be no mingling of heritages other than the rape of tribal women and the breeding of tribal people to make them bigger and stronger.
What is Black Heritage in America? Slavery?
No identity other than a vast continent, no heritage other than what the slavers provided, and no perpetual culture other than what little the freed men and women following slavery etched out of the residue of similarities they could put together following the Emancipation Proclamation up to the Civil Rights Movement exists concretely offering African historical identities for African Americans.
Second Class Heritage
Following slavery, there existed about 20 years of prosperity for the newly free people of color before the new form of bondage became social law--racism. The social idea that any person of mixed slave ancestry constituted a Colored person created a singular class of people regardless of differing ethnic identities, Black--no matter the color of skin.
This concept survived from slavery where it was used to prevent mixed-race people from claiming freedom based on European heritage, or gaining a foothold following the end of slavery as a more preferred class (though that occurred anyway).
After many generations of slavery and second-class citizenship, the sociological impact on this group created a people with no reason to glorify the past as other Americans, and little reason to love a country that did not guarantee them constitutional rights. Generation X may be the first group of Blacks that experienced a more level social experience since slavery ended.
The psycho-social impact on African American cultural developed into what can be call Collective Social Regard or CSR. No matter the origin of a Black person in the country and above all political and social ties, race is the defining feature of the African American group. CSR is based in the humanistic approach of Carl Rogers, specifically unconditional positive regard in reference to the client-centered approach to therapy.
Black Americans in general may not accept the action of those claiming Black heritage; however, this group tends to regard others within the group, owning the fellow members and their racial sameness without accepting necessarily their individuality. This provides a default group of identity for all Black Americans.
CSR is the perspective of African American social interaction derived from a shared ethnic experience based on heritage and race. Black people accept other Black people regarding them as brothers or sisters--due to the cattle like breeding during slavery--no matter the percentage of tribal ancestry. All an individual needs is to claim African heritage to be included as Black.
During slavery the slaver could trade away slave offspring at-will creating the need among these mixed tribal people to form non-genetic connections of familial relationships that continue in Black American tradition presently where many Blacks consider relatives removed by many degrees of separation and/or family friends close kindred.
Generally, Blacks appear to have not integrated into mainstream culture as have other groups due to the fact that a great majority of Blacks stand out due to physical differences and subjective distrust of Whites due to past dealings as a group--viewing attacks on any Black person irrespective of circumstance as evidence that there exists some institutionalized conspiracy that targets minorities' secretly while publicly assuring equal protection and felicity under the law.
- The Problem With "White" as a Culture. | Brohammas
The problem with “white” as a culture, is that it was manufactured at the expense of others. What I mean by this, is that white, as a race or a “culture” has only existed as a means to restrict those deemed non-white from certain rights or privileges
This topic is too complex to receive full attention in a mere one or two articles; however, it is worth the attempt. To readers who have insights to share, please leave comments. In part two, is discussed why Black people cannot just get over racism.
- The Truth About Being Black in America 2
The nationalities of Black American ancestors are a mystery for the great majority of the group. Slavery stripped this group of the choice to decide to merge with American culture. This is part two of The Truth About Being Black in America
© 2012 Rodric Anthony Johnson