African Americans : the Role of Race

Topics: African American, Family, United States Pages: 5 (1369 words) Published: January 31, 2013
African Americans: The Role of Race

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

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...
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Essay on African Americans
  • African American culture Essay
  • The African-American Race Essay
  • Essay about African Americans in America
  • African American Literature Essay
  • The Psychology in African American Essay
  • African American Male stereotype Essay
  • African American Studies Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free