African Americans : the Role of Race Essay

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African Americans : the Role of Race Essay

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Abstract The Following Essay defines and integrates the role race plays on the African American culture in their family values and politics in comparison to the Anglo American Culture. The United States has become increasingly diverse in the last century. While African American families share many features with other U. S. families, the African American family has some distinctive features relating to the timing and approaches to marriage and family formation, gender roles, parenting styles, and strategies for coping with adversity.

African cultures, slavery, slave rebellions, and the civil rights movements(circa 1800s-160s)have shaped African American religious, familial, political and economic behaviors. The imprint of Africa is evident in myriad ways, in politics, economics, language, music, hairstyles, fashion, dance, religion and worldview, and food preparation methods. In the United States, the very legislation that was designed to strip slaves of culture and deny them education served in many ways to strengthen it.

In turn, African American culture has had a pervasive, transformative impact on myriad elements of mainstream American culture, among them language, music, dance, religion, cuisine, and agriculture. This process of mutual creative exchange is called creolization. Over time, the culture of African slaves and their descendants has been ubiquitous in its impact on not only the dominant American culture, but on world culture as well. The Role of Race According to the U. S. Census Bureau 13. 6 percent, 42 million, of the total U.

S population was made of people who identified themselves as black. This is a 15. 4% increase from 2000 to 2010 (Rastogi, Johnson, Hoeffel & Drewery, 2011). Is it becoming increasingly difficult to describe the American black population, though the majority of American blacks trace their heritage to slavery, an increasing minority are voluntary immigrants or their descendants. More Africans have entered the United States since 1990 as voluntary immigrants than entered as slaves before slave trafficking was outlawed in the early nineteenth century ( Marger 2012 p. 178).

Never before and in no other country have as many varied ethnic groups congregated and combined as they have in the United States. With such reputation, here is exactly where the famous term “melting pot” arises. This conception has traditionally been perceived as the best expression to describe the multi-ethnicity of America. Its basic idea presents the whole nation as one large pot. Anyone who enters the United States is automatically thrown into this “pot” where, for the following years, a process of assimilation into the American belief systems is taken place.

Assimilation is all the cultural aspects that one brings into are blended together, or melted, to form a new culture. The outcome of this massive procedure is the “melted” version of a culture, which is described as characteristically “American. ” It is notable that in this assimilation, the identities of each original culture are extinguished to bring out a complete new mixture Slavery Part of the control mechanism of slavery was to strip African Americans of identity, language, and culture of their homeland. This was done by undermining and replacing family structures with temporary ones built around identity as slaves.

This undermining was not however entirely successful as many slaves organized themselves into family structures very similar to nuclear families. Family Formation Within African American families, the formation of a household often begins not with marriage, but with birth of a child. 56% of African American children are born into families where the mother is not married to the biological father. Single women head 54% of African American households. African American women are taught to be strong and independent, to prepare for careers rather than rely on marriage for economic security.

Marriage According to the 2010 census only 40% of black households were married couples. While 40% of African American men and 35% of African American women over 18 had ever been married. Experts attribute this decrease to factors including a shortage of marriageable African American men and to structural, social, and economic factors. Black males have a 32 percent chance of serving time in prison, as compared to 6 percent of white males. Nearly one in three African American men in their twenties is in prison, on parole, or on probation.

Blacks account for 28% of arrests even though they represent only 13% of the nations population. These realities decrease an African American woman’s chances of finding a marriageable mate. Conflict Theory suggests that Higher arrest rate is not surprising for a group that is disproportionately poor and therefore much less able to afford private attorneys, who might prevent formal arrests from taking place Parenting and Discipline African American families tend to be more strict, to hold demanding behavioral standards, and to use physical discipline.

This is however, balanced within a context of strong support and affection. Physical punishment among African American families usually doesn’t result in the same negative outcomes as it does for white children. Income and wealth In 2005 Median income of Black families was $37,500 compared with $64,663 for White non-Hispanic households. Black income today resembles that of Whites more than 10 years ago. African American unemployment is 11. 2 percent, which is more than double that of whites. Factors explaining official unemployment rate of young African American males * Many live in depressed economy of central cities

* Immigrants and illegal aliens present increased competition * White middle-class women entered the labor force * Illegal activities at which youth find they can make more money have become more prevalent One in four African Americans are poor, compared to one in twelve whites Politics President Kennedy, in a 1961 executive order, was the first president to call for affirmative action by prohibiting discrimination against minorities by contractors who receive federal funds. The order also told them to hire and promote minorities. Supporters of affirmative action sought not just equality of opportunity but equality of results.

The fact that millions of Americans, both black and white, hoped that retired General Colin Powell, an African American, would run for president in 1996 was a milestone. The color of a person’s skin was no longer a barrier to seeking the nation’s highest office. By 2004, there were 39 African Americans in the House of Representatives and more than 9,101 others in elective offices throughout the nation. Three African Americans served in the cabinet, and another sat on the Supreme Court. * Four hundred forty-five African Americans were mayors of major cities. * A federal holiday is now observed for Dr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. * Retired General Colin Powell held the highest military post * On January 20, 2009 Barrack Obama was sworn in as the 44th president of the Unites States. His inauguration was attended by an estimated 1. 8 million people on the Washington National Mall, the Capital grounds, and the parade route. Hundreds of millions in the country and around the world watched the historical event on television. Stressing unity, responsibility, change, and action. Obama declared,” Starting today we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again, the work of remaking America. ”

Slavery Part of the control mechanism of slavery was to strip African Americans of identity, language, and culture of their homeland. This was done by undermining and replacing family structures with temporary ones built around identity as slaves. This undermining was not however entirely successful as many slaves organized themselves into family structures very similar to nuclear families. n). Baltimore, Maryland Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: African American Families. (2001). Retrieved on July 11, 2005 from p2001. health. org/cit04/res7. htm Webb, Nancy Boyd. (2001).

Culturally Diverse Parent-Child and Family Relationships. New York: Columbia University Press. Woods, L. & Jagers, R. (2003). Are Cultural Values Predictors of Moral Reasoning in African American Adolescents? Journal of Black Psychology, 29, 102-118. Marger, M. N. (2012). Race and ethnic relations: American and global perspectives, ninth edition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Rastogi, S. , Johnson, T. D. , Hoeffel, E. M. , & Drewery, J. (2011, September). Retrieved from http://www. census. gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-06. pdf Live text Upload * Courses Main Page > * SOC 240 HY 20 – CLTR SSCI > * SOC 240 HY 20 – CLTR SSCI Assignments.

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