Concepts in Black America
African Cultural Concepts
Have African Americans’ perception about what it truly means to be of African decent altered, or have they managed to stay connected to their African customs and traditions? In the essay “ Some African Cultural Concepts,” Steve Biko discussed five major aspects of African culture that, from his perspective, differ from the European culture, specifically the Anglo-Boers. According to Biko, Africans encourages a “Man-centered” society within a village that focuses on strong communication, mutual support, spirituality, the sharing of land and riches. These village settings thus create a strong-willed individual with the mindset to help others, is highly religious, and chooses not to worry about circumstances in life that can’t be changed. However, Biko’s opinion that African Americans have held onto their traditions by keeping a strong family and doing things for the community isn’t exercised like it used to be.
“ I don’t care how poor a man is; if he has family, he’s rich.” This popular statement is a perfect example revealing what the African mentality used to be. Every since the Whites brought Africans to America as slaves, the African view of family has gradually altered. According to Biko, “Intimacy is a term not exclusive for particular friends but applying to a whole group of people who find themselves together through work” (32). In today’s society, the definition of family has changed. Africans didn’t limit the word family to strictly the immediate family, but to the entire village. In the modern days, a child can grow up barely knowing his or her father’s side of the family because of lack of communication or other invalid reasons. Biko’s observation also doesn’t coincide with today’s culture because people, in general, are more individualistic. Most people like to stay in their own bubble or box. Everyone is wrapped up in his or her self. For example, it used to be pleasurable...