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The Truth About Being Black in America
What is Black Heritage in America?
...it is also intriguing that an ethnic group of Americans exist whose only identity stems from American origins, a uniquely American creation.
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
As a community of Blacks without a specific African cultural heritage beyond slavery and having to depend on MOSTLY each other socially for many years until recently, it must purge the idea of Black against White.
It must not disregard the shared heritage as the descendants of slaves and second class citizens with attempts to convert to the majority culture and pretend color does not matter.
White America, the cultural aspect of a White America, is a choice purposely forged with the benefit of continuity of culture from homelands never interrupted by forced cultural purging.
Blacks have no choice but to accept the ambiguity of connections to Africa and the reality of livestock-like breeding in America.
The breeding of American slaves allows for the exploration of promiscuity among present-day Blacks and a possible connection between high percentages of single mothers with large families due to father absenteeism. The suggestion that there may be a link is only that, a suggestion based on little evidence and no facts--more a philosophical reasoning than a sociological assumption.
Many descendants of American slaves are attributed stereotypical physical characteristics of tall, large muscular men and thick wide-hipped women. At one point in history, this description could depict the humans slavers used to breed the other slaves. There may be some connection to the assumption that Blacks excel at sports at a higher rate than not.
This would also justify the stereotype that American slaves' descendants are inherently intellectually inferior--a premise that most would not accept in modern psychology. No scientific justification for such a view is forthcoming, but culturally the idea was considered and is slowly diminishing along with the physical stereotypes.
Racial Disparity: Why can't Blacks Just Get Over it?
Because of the cultural effects of slavery and persecution for many generations in any given situation, a Black individual must cycle through introspection that few other groups tend to consider.
For instance, a White man may experience a bad day at work and speak rudely to a Black store clerk who may think, "Did that person behave curtly because I am Black?" Because of the implication of his or her culture handed down from generations of oppressed Black people, those thoughts flash through the minds of many Blacks and are filed away by rationalization.
The same applies to women--especially minority women who must add to the mental reflection the question of their gender.
This introspection is applicable to anyone who does not identify with the majority culture completely including homosexuals, obscure religious groups, etc. It is mostly true for Blacks because Black culture is uniquely tied to America since that group is alone having been forced to the States and forced to give up culture.
This all translates subjectively that as a group, Blacks think that the prisons are full of Black men and women because Blacks have no choice but to fight through the American system even if they have a more level playing field in today’s society.
It means, Obama is the president because "THEY"(WHITE PEOPLE) want Blacks to stop using the excuse that Blacks cannot get ahead in society because of racism--the hidden kind, conspiracy.
Blacks who think differently may deny heritage, or are denying heritage unawares--hurting themselves by disassociating with the social aspects of most African American culture.
Whites do not need a race with which to identify; however, Blacks seem to need race collectively and not individually--to account for those of whose cultural experience has allowed them to adjust to mainstream American society, which is a growing number.
Not enough time has passed since the Civil Rights Movement. Possibly, in three to five generations Blacks generally will think about race as do most Caucasians--meaning race does not define their heritage.
Yet, it is also intriguing that an ethnic group of Americans exist whose only identity stems from American origins, a uniquely American creation.
Moving Beyond The Past
It is not the purpose of this article to persuade Americans of African heritage to forget the struggles of the American slave. Contrarily, Black Americans must remember and embrace the shared American heritage of struggle.
All Americans have struggled to some degree for the right to be in America. The United States of America is culturally diverse with groups that successfully etched a place in the American landscape.
Whether the struggle began with a fight for equality or a fight for independence, all Americans share the same single trait to persevere until the work has completed and the situation controlled.
American descendants of the African slave are distinguished as captives and slaves in the nation, but share the glory of overcoming with other groups. Granted, the descendants of slaves may have a greater deal to overcome because of the oppressive past; however, such a past does not constitute a handicap.
The determination of the change-makers of the past has diffused in the genetic core of all Americans. As diverse as America is, it is the common heritage that makes it great, and not the diversity alone.
© 2012 Rodric Johnson