African-American Culture

Topics: Family, African American, White people Pages: 6 (2578 words) Published: April 12, 2011

African-American Culture

In this paper I discuss the African-American culture in regards to values, norms and beliefs. I also discuss my family’s adaptation to these values, norms and beliefs along with my own individual cultural sense of identity. Lastly, this paper reflects the impact of my role and ethical responsibilities as a social worker, especially in relation to working with the Hmong family in the book The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down.

My cultural group in regards to values, norms, and beliefs.
The African-American people have suffered great hardships since slavery. During the 15 and 19th century many Africans were taken and forced into slavery. Some slaves were sold and traded more than once, often in a slave market. Families were torn apart, infants taken from their parents at birth with no knowledge of who they are. During this time slaves were often brutally beaten, lynched and women as well as young girls were sexually assaulted. They were devastated as they were continuously treated to be inferior and as time went on they conformed to this way of life accepting it as the norm, there were no doubt about it the whites were superior and still today the white race deems itself to be the dominant race in this country. Culture a key component in shaping who we are: our values, attitudes, beliefs, practices and even the holidays we celebrate. It accounts for our perception of what works and what doesn’t work, as well as what makes sense to us (and our community) and what doesn’t. Values guide our choices and indicates what we consider worthwhile. As African-Americans we are rich in tradition and culture. Our culture identity makes life secure and meaningful and it represents how we view and evaluate the behaviors of others. We are a culture of strength. Born out of African traditions and adaptation to a harsh environment African-American families have preserved in the face of disparity and oppression. Despite our obstacles, we have a legacy of intergenerational kinship, resilience, spirituality, and hope. African-Americans have many values such as; strong kinship bonds/family. The African-American survived due to the fact they helped each other, they took care of each other not only blood relatives but others also. During slavery everyone helped to raise each other’s children especially when parents were sold to other slave owners, other adults in the slave community took care of the children left behind, many slaves protected each other in spite of tribal and language differences. The biggest fear of families then was the threat of a child being sold. Even today African-Americans value family, many survive due to the fact that we help each other, and we take care of each other not only blood relatives but others also. The extended family is crucial. Aunts, uncles, grandparents, and unrelated individuals who are considered part of the family give moral, psychological and financial support. Raising others’ children is a natural phenomenon in the African-American culture it plays an important role in families survival. African-Americans also value religion / spirituality. Since slavery African-Americans have always believed in a higher power referred to as The Lord, God, or Jesus. Slaves would often sing old gospel hymns to keep them encourage and believing that life would be better one day. Even today we as African-Americans value spirituality as it gives us hope to believe things will be alright. My family of origin’s adaptation to these values, norms and beliefs I am the youngest of seven children, when I was born all of my siblings were grown and on their own except myself and a brother who is six years older. My mother raised me and my brother as a single parent, my father had died when I was four years old. My mother only had an eight grade education she cleaned homes for white people. My mother was a very strong...
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