Marcus Garvey, a ‘proponent of Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism movements” (), once stated that “a people without knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” (Good Reads Quotes) He was in fact very much so right. Most people in this world care about where they come from, who they descended from and where the backbone of their identity lies. Have you ever wondered why almost most orphans tend to look for their family lines or go out in search of where they belong? It is with this very essence my quest to look for answers and investigate about two very distinct yet similar groups. The groups I examine throughout this paper are Africans and African-Americans. What I seek to find out is why two very ‘distinct’ yet similar groups of people fail to see eye to eye, judging from the fact that Africans and African-Americans look alike, originated from Africa and their histories and culture somehow intertwine with each other. The main question here really is: what are the factors that hinder the relationship between Africans and African-American people.
The common bond of slavery is what draws Black Americans together, but is what drives Black Americans and African immigrants apart. Many African immigrants have only read or heard about racial discrimination, but have never faced it first-hand. They admire what Black Americans have done, but when they come to this country they and maintain a separate identity from native-born blacks. Because of the separation, whites were more willing to serve Africans and Black Americans thought African immigrants were receiving better treatment from society (Reddick, 1998). Being Black in America is already a complicated existence, but being a Black immigrant is a very different existence. Black Americans often do not know the country their ancestors came from and feel more American than African or Caribbean. African immigrants are often in an identity complex because often they are not considered Black enough for the Black community and not being American enough for the white communities. They are often overlooked when discussing immigration policies though they are the fastest growing immigration population. Even though African immigrants are more educated and find success they also struggle to find jobs in their field due to racial discrimination (Omara, 2017)
In her book “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?” , Beverly Daniel Tatum, explores the identity of racial development in the United States. She analyzes the definition of racism as well as the development of racial identity. Along with these topics she in turn offers possible solutions to racial problems that plague us today.
James McBride can tell you firsthand about man verse racial identity. Journalizing his experience in his New York Times Bestseller novel the Color of Water simply outlined his struggles of finding who he was. His upbringing included a black father and a Jewish white mother. His background made it hard for him to understand why his home was different than others on the street. Although McBride experience shows an older outtake of racial identity, some may say this still is a problem today. Offspring feels the need to pick a race in society to succeed in the generation and it may be the step to understands them more. Notice in the subtitle of the book "A black Men tribute to his white mother" he label himself as just black as if there was a barrier between his mother and himself because the so different. Today we need to not let racial identity become a big part of our lives.
In his essay, “As Black as We Wish to be,” author Thomas Chatterton Williams tries to paint a picture of a world where the sight of interracial families was still considered an oddity and shows how, over the decades, society has slowly became more acceptable towards the idea. He begins the essay briefly discussing the ignorance of people during the late 1980’s while also elaborating what hardships African Americans have dealt with over the past century. He explains that even with the progression of interracial families and equality of African Americans, a new problem has now risen for interracial children of the future. While either being multiracial, African American, or White, what do they decide to identify themselves as? This is the major question that arises throughout Williams’s argument. While Williams’s supports his argument with unreliable environmental evidence, as well with other statistical evidence. His argument is weakened by an abundance of facts, disorganization, and an excessive use of diluted information.
Still between 1865 and 1876, there was a culture identity crisis for African Americans. We cannot explain the roots of African American culture without
Meet Rachel, a sophomore studying at Howard University who is also mixed with both black and white. Rachel transferred to the Historically Black University from a Predominantly White Institution because she felt as though she was not “white enough” and Howard would better suit her. Unfortunately upon her arrival, Rachel could not help but feel as though she was not “black enough” to attend Howard University. Rachel’s feeling of not belonging are not isolated, they are shared by millions of biracial Americans who, at one time or another, felt as though they did not belong to either culture. These feelings have been brought on, over time, by the way, America, although believed to be a “melting pot” of cultures, often wants people to categorize themselves as one ethnicity and the pressure placed on Americans to solely identify with one race divides the country more than anything else. The only way to rectify this problem is for Americans to stop separating themselves into racial categories and come together to be classified as simply American.
Cross’ book Shades of black: diversity in African-American identity (1991) depicts a perceived metamorphous of black identity through five stages of development—his ideologies are now termed as the Nigrescence theory. In simple terms, this philosophy refers to the process of becoming Black. It also demonstrates daily struggles that the black community may have in developing a healthy personal identity. Over the years, many authors attempt to define what the word black means. Eventually, many came to begin using the politically acceptable term widely applied today to regard black people; that word is known as Negroes. As different historical events occurred, one being the black power revolution on the 1970’s the experience called for a fresh definition of the term negro. Blacks or Africans in America began to be more conscious of their identity and more aware of the differences separating them. This is the experience that Cross (1971) illustrates and is primarily referenced in his five-stage progress including: pre-encounter, encounter, immersion/emersion, internalization, and internalization-commitment. This book highlights some very vital topics relating to mental health, which has been carefully disregarded by other researchers. Nonetheless, it has strong affiliations to the black experience and can positively explain a more normal psychological behavior through logical and very thought provoking
My objective for writing this essay on the black family was to examine and interrogate a myriad of stereotypes surrounding this family structure. Slavery and its inception need to be explored because it enables one to acquire a better understanding of the modern day black family. It is my hope that once we achieve this level of understanding, if not acceptance, that we may be able to start the healing process that is so necessary.
Beverly Daniel Tatum PH.D. is an expert on race relations and the development of racial identity. Tatum guides her readers through racial identity and major ideas and concepts regarding race. Throughout the book readers will better understand the racial dynamic of their everyday lives, along with suggestive actions toward a more equitable world for all. The following paragraph gives a summary of the book, breaking it down into the IV parts containing ten chapters.
This is a problem in the Black community that not many people can observe, but that many Blacks feel or inflict. The words that began this essay are commonly used to describe the different shades of blackness, from a barely-baked brown to a shadow black. I chose to begin my essay by bringing your attention to these different shades in an attempt to enunciate the different degrees of Blackness- not just in skin color. Being black in modern America can mean being any shade- as long as your lineage traces back to the African continent, as well as adapting any culture and making it our own. The main stream Black American is one who listens to the Black innovation of rap, heavily influenced with bass drums and tempo changes, one who aspires to wear gold "chains" not because we are still in bondage but because gold is also a descendant of Africa and we have always had it, one who advocates only for the well being of their local Black community. America has forgotten about the Black American influenced by the Portuguese, who's roots grew through Brazilian capoeira, or the Black American who traces back to a Caribbean island and champions leadership at every Carnival festival, or the Black American who loves the American opportunistic spirit and so she studied to the best of her ability everyday at the only high school in her
I am an African America child living. It is the summer of 1979 and I am incredibly hot right now. I live in Wyoming. There are not a lot of people who appear similar to me here. I talk to my mother plus ask her many questions. I remember asking her, “Why am I called an African American?” My mother went on to say that our race originated in Africa. After she explained this to me I asked her, “How did we get here?” She replied by explaining that we were first people sent here as early as 1619 (Robinson, 1999). My mother went on to explain to me that we were part of a slave trade. I learned that we were slaves until a law was passed to give us freedom. I occasionally wonder
In fact, Frederick L. Hoffman’s book, Traits and Race Tendencies of the American Negro, explained that very concept saying that African Americans are on a “downward spiral and eventually will become extinct.” Even more horrifying is the mere fact that he argued its irreproachableness, proving how desperate people are to reject the idea of race and its anti-relation to
The arrival of the African-American identity began with slavery and the slave master’s behavior toward the field slave and the house slave. In other words, the identity of the African-American was given by European slave masters instead of their personal creation. African women were raped and the slave master’s preferential treatment of their offspring created a hierarchy among the slaves. As author Roger Smith (2004) explained, power and privileges were given to those with lighter complexions over those who are darker. In the days of slavery, “light skin blacks were assigned to the house while blacks with dark skin had to work the fields.” (p.1). The promise of educational opportunities were also given to slaves with lighter complexions. The indoctrination of Jim Crow Laws and white supremacy proved to keep the institution of slavery going even after its abolishment. Subsequent to the abolishment of slavery, blacks traveled to northern states and cities and created their own societies. According to author G. Reginald Daniel, in his book, More than Black, Blue Vein societies consisted of pluralistic elites within the African-American community. “Membership in these societies were determined by individuals’ phenotypical and cultural resemblance with European Americans” (p. 4). The structural set up of these societies created an illusion of escaping the common stereotypes of blacks.
Race, gender, nationality, ethnicity, poverty, and sexual orientation, all play a role in developing one’s identity and more often than not, these multiple identities intersect with blackness. Being that American society has deemed colored people and populations as minoritarian subjects, African diaspora people can be seen making safe spaces for themselves to survive as individuals and as a part of communities.