African Americans During The 20th Century

1667 Words7 Pages
What defines a person? It was believed in the United States, for a better part of the 20th century, that what defined a person was merely the color of one’s skin. It is actually more complex than the definition provided. It is one’s life experiences, such as where one lives and the things one deals with. The experiences of African Americans in the 20th century have been similar, mostly experiencing lives filled with affliction. Rather than their skin color, it was the hardships they faced that define what being an African American was all about. On a more specific level, what did it mean to be black in the United States? It meant several things: Firstly, it meant to be discriminated against and to face much racism. Secondly, it was inferred they were culturally inferior. It was of wide belief in the United States that African Americans were a “culturally deficient” sub species of man, below whites. This term is somewhat of an oxymoron. Culture is defined by social habits, language, and beliefs. Since everyone has social habits, languages and beliefs, it is impossible to be culturally deficient. By way of circumstance, African Americans developed their own culture in the United States. Ideologies of culture were brought upon the United States mainly by whites. The white culture was considered right, and the black culture was wrong. It was removed from what was the best culture, therefore, in essence, culturally inferior. Being African American in the United States also meant
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