African American Culture Essay

Decent Essays
African American culture contains aspects of both African and European culture at its roots. While there are claims that all traces of African heritage were beaten and stolen through processes of acculturation, I believe that the foundation, as well as a significant portion of practices and behaviors can be found in African culture. Many slaves held on tightly to their African heritage, while a slave culture sought invisibility through assimilating into European American culture. These major influences helped shape modern African American culture. I will use resources provided to me in the form of articles and films to provide evidence of African and European influences in African American culture. First I will explain basic concept of…show more content…
African culture came into contact with European culture largely and most prominently during this slave trade. As this pro slavery narrative of black inferiority among white superiority progressed, African Americans learned to observe their white masters. Upon viewing the punishment endured by fellow slaves, they began to conceal their African heritage around white people. In order to survive, it was necessary to muffle and conceal their emotion, and in other words mute their culture. It is at this point that black masking and black acting begin to become a part of African American culture that is still present today. To understand exactly how this incursion on freedom was so widely accepted, we may look to observations from Jefferson in his “State of Virginia”. “All men are created equal” in the context of the slave trade era in North America sounds fatally contradictory, therefore in order to push the pro black slave agenda, Jefferson penned an argument against the humanity of blackness that set in motion a narrative that would continue to form over the next four centuries. Essentially “all men are created equal” was upheld, but if it could be proven that black people have no humanity, then they are not equal, therefore black slavery is justified. Jefferson argued the difference was biological rather than cultural as in the case of Native Americans, leading to a shift in factors of status from religion and wealth to physical appearance. I think that this
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