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Blacks and African Americans Studies

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Cultural assimilation is the idea where one specific culture consciously meshes with the larger national culture. The practice has been a major concern since the population of African slaves reached a critical mass in colonial America. The manner how the blacks speak and their culture are greatly influenced by the policies adopted by the slave owners. Among those policies was a tactics of mixing an individual plantation’s population of Africans so that the members of a particular ethnic group do not dominate their respective slave quarter. The strategy forced the ethnically diverse slave populations to develop a common a language as a way of minimizing rebellion and resistance.

The same phenomena happened with cultural traditions. African Americans developed a strategy of cultural blending that helped them create stronger connections within their individual communities for the purpose of meshing elements of specific African cultures with European traditions imposed on them by their masters; this resulted in the birth of African American culture. Though the liberation the political and legal status of African Americans changed, the traditions of the community bonds as a way of resistance to white power remained.

What is Ebonics?

Ebonics is a corruption of two English words ebony and phonics. It is a direct dialect of Standard English and was used by the black peoplefor the purpose of communication. It was recognized by the task force’s report that was created by the Board of Education in Oakland, California. The Oakland school board was attempting to find the ways to raise the level of education in the district schools that comprised majorly of African American students. The language was sought for recognition by the board because it was seen not only as the betterment of the black.  The wisdom of Oakland resolution was challenged by many leaders among them, The African Americans who argued that the black students needed to learn Standard English in order to participate fully as citizens. The language was also depicted as vernacular, and the American public called upon the blacks to do a better job of assimilating into the American culture. However, Ebonics has not faded as a historical issue since many linguists and sociologists consider it as a reputable dialect of Standard English.

What is Kwanzaa?

Kwanza is a Swahili word for ‘first fruit’. It is widely recognized as an African American holiday. There are some misconceptions that Kwanzaa is a black Christmas. The misconceptions have gained currency since Kwanzaa begins the day after Christmas and lasts for seven days. Kwanzaa was founded in 1966 by the African American activist and scholar Maulana Karenga. Kwanzaa is appealing to some African Americans because it provides them with and their culture with identity. One orgaanization that promotes the celebration states that the pursuit of black culture is the nucleus of Kwanzaa for African Americans, and it takes the blacks back to their roots which is Africa. Karenga points to the elements of Kwanzaa based on African and American ideas as one of the reasons as to why Africans have begun to celebrate the holiday.

Does race still play a role in the social and economic conditions facing African Americans today?

It is the true race that still plays a role in the African American socio-economic conditions since most of the blacks living in the United States are not proud to be called so. "We respect our African heritage, but that term is not really us,"  even some of them say. They also say that they would not be comfortable if they were forced to move back to Africa. The story of Tomi Baro, the university student in America, brings us to the realization that race still plays a role. This because despite the fact that she was brought there from England by her Nigerian parents, the label implies that she descended from slaves. This fact is also depicted in the story of Paulo Seriodo, the student who was suspended from a medical school following a dispute with a black classmate on whether or not he should be called an African American. From the passage, the intent to exclude those people, who were born in other countries, brings us to the peak of racism in the African American socio-economic conditions.

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