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Overview of the African American Culture

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Cultural Studies
Wordcount: 1931 words Published: 8th Feb 2020

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The main of the paper is to evaluate Africa American culture and its diverse nature in the United States. Culture is not a dynamic or fixed phenomenon all over the world. Culture is always relative to particular people, time and place. The significance of the study shows the differences among the culture will enable understand their way of living, economy, languages, religion, marriage and gender systems and general cultural information. The paper also explains the origins of the African Americas, funeral rites, marriage rites, and contribution to literature, food, dance, clothing, and language.

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African Americans live in the United States and they are among many cultures and it lays a significant role in the growth of the country. African Americans have their origins from Africa where their forefathers were forcefully taken to the United States to work as slaves. The African Americans are the third largest group in the country after the white Americans and Hispanic Americans. The population of Africa American constitutes 14.1% of the country’s population (Price 2013 p 50). Over time, their population will increase due to the improved social amenities and living standards.

Veritably, the African American culture is also referred to as black culture is growing in the country. Many people that belong to black culture face different challenges; however, despite the challenges of racial profiling, culture is important to appreciate as it enables black Americans to conserve it for future generations. There are instances that stereotypes or culture has been associated with hooliganism and assumptions of a fabricated image of people making a big buck from fashion trends, music labels, and marketers.

The African Americans are located all over the United States; however, the majority of the population lives in states like Texas. Some of African Americans practice extensive large-scale agriculture in large plantations as a result of advanced technology. However, in modern societies, African Americans have moved from agriculture to post-industrial information-based economy working in various formal industries. The market economy in the United States is very developed and many African Americas participating in the majority of white-collar jobs hence they are employed in various sectors of the economy such as service, manufacturing and agriculture industries.

African Americans speak a vernacular language that is very distinctive from the Native Americans. The language has its own unique grammar, accent and vocabulary features that middle class and working class use particularly in urban areas.  According to Baugh (2002), it is to an extraordinary degree difficult to state what numbers of people speak African American vernacular English since it isn’t clear what accurately this would mean. A couple of speakers may use some obvious parts of phonology and lexis yet none of the syntactic features related to the arrangement (Price 2013 p 50). Sociolinguists would spare the term African American vernacular English for arrangements, which are separate by the occasion of certain specific syntactic features some of which are discussed underneath. Even so, it may regardless be difficult to state with any exactitude what number of African American Vernacular English speakers there are since such etymological features happen progressively, that is, in a move with standard features.

Religion is symbolized by various practices and beliefs of people in society. Religion has flourished the USA such as Catholics, Anglicans, and Protestants. Significantly, in the United States, 79% of Africa Americans are Christians. According to the Religious Landscape study of 2007, 12% of African Americans are not associated with any religious group in the country. Over the years, the number of African Americans that are not associated with any religious group has increased.  According to Buck, Christopher (2009), the Protestants Church has dominated with a large number of African America over the years with 48.8%, followed by Catholics at 23% (Hines 2005 p 89).

The religious effects impact directly on how modern marriages are conducted and the ability to last in the long run. Many church-going urban mothers express the normative commitments to institutions of marriages. As a result of the commitment of many African Americans and valuing the significance of marriage, they are able to lower levels of conflict and immoral behavior such as infidelity in society. As a result religion in black culture has enabled foster beliefs and behaviors that support religious institutions and supporting matrimony. Religion plays an important role in aiding urban mothers in making a transition to marriages that are significant in the community where marriage has become increasingly infrequent.

Marriage in African American culture is respected and honored over the years. The culture allows people in society to follow rules that will enable them to secure and engage in a successful marriage. The bride is required to ask for permission from the bridegroom parents and marriage rituals are done whether traditional or church wedding. Many African Americans engage in church weddings due to believing in religion, as God is the center of any marriage. The marriage rules in Africa American culture entails, courtship with one’s partner, asking for permission from parents, conducting liberation ceremony, walking down the aisle and marriage is complete. However, many norms are changing and many people are divorcing the country. Gender systems are important as they help to understand the sex element in the society. African Americans culture identifies both male and female sex stereotypes (Kitwana 2003 p6). The gender is stratified as male are dominating over the females and it’s evident that in the Africa American society, in workplaces, economically and politically. 

The gender roles in American society are changing as many women are now receiving education and venturing into men dominated world both politically and economically. Women are now educating themselves and slowly moving traditional roles of doing house chores. The modern society is encouraging women to be independent through providing them with support and ensuring that have access to better health care, education and providing a pillar to the family in case the man can’t fulfill his role as required. The change of gender systems can be important even thou they have their own consequences in the community.

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Currently, marriages in the United States has undergone through retreat of marriages where there is a high percentage of no-marital births and low rates of people getting married. The causes of a retreat of marriage include effects that are associated with economic and social effects as result the there is little intention or efforts are directed towards solving or resisting the treat of marriages (Kitwana 2003 p 8). Religion also plays an important role when marriage issues are mentioned in the society. The black culture has always encouraged people to always follow their beliefs, as they are affected means through which they view married. For instance, marriage in the modern is based on Christian values and principles, as result, many women that were raised in a Christian family will tend to value marriage more and avoid divorce more than those that are not raised in Christian families.

Most important, entertainment in black culture is most valued as it is indefinable with all over the world. The existence of percussive instruments, which are smacked, struck and shaken for instance cymbal and drums form an integral part of black culture. The personality of African American is associated with fun and happiness (Price 2013 p 50). Many black people like to come together for various functions especially sing and ensuring they spread how they love their culture in public places. The songs are usually associated with the message to stop slavery and unite as same people despite the color of their skin. Peace and hard work are associated with this culture also currently many African Americans are being shot at in the society due to many crimes that they commit such as drug trafficking and association with violent conduct.

African American values norms that instill respect among the family members despite the alienation from other cultures such as the Hispanic and native culture. Family members and children should respect each other according to the cultural norms and parents should play their duties in ensuring that basic amenities are readily available. African American culture and their ways of dressing have impacted greatly African countries where many African are trying to emulate the African American culture. Black culture has embraced soul food as such vegetable, fried chicken, BBQ and bacon indicating how African Americans are proud of the variety of food they enjoy (Kitwana 2003 p4). African Americans value food and music a lot. African American music focuses on aggressive beats and rhythmic undercurrents such songs include hip-hop and rap songs. According to African American culture, there are foods that many black people enjoy that impact as the foods identify and connect them to the culture. It is referred as to the soul food, which is associated with tasteful and delicious tastes that make people be passionate. In any culture around the world, stable food plays an important role in families that cannot either afford luxuries than most wealthy people don’t enjoy.

Every culture has its own values, principles and shared beliefs that are different from others. Many African Americans believe that family is important in the society as the father is the central figure of that family through helping and offering support financially, emotionally and physically to the children and mother. Respecting elders is significant as well as helping those people who are in need are an important message that is enjoyed in black culture. Social cohesion among black people has helped them over the years to help each other during difficult times such during funeral ceremonies, financial difficulties among families and coming together to help street children (Price 2013 p60). The black culture is similar with those found in Africa, where communities are taught to help each other and respect their values despite people nowadays trying to copy the western culture that is ruining how people relate currently.

The African American culture is unique and rich in various manners such as norms, values, food, and music. Even thou the culture constantly changing due to the alienation of Native Americans, it remains to be a culture that Africans Americans admire that brings them together as one. 

Works Cited

  • Hines, Paulette Moore, and Nancy Boyd-Franklin. “. “African American families.” Ethnicity and family therapy 3.” (2005): 87-100.
  • Kitwana, Bakari. -. “The hip-hop generation: Young blacks and the crisis in African-American culture. Civitas Books,.” (2003): 4-8.
  • Price, Richard, and Sidney W. Mintz. ” “The birth of African-American culture.” In African-American Religion,.” (2013): 46-62.


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