My Ancestors Were Slaves
Length: 709 words (2 double-spaced pages)
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I’m a twenty-three year old African American male from Chicago. My great great grandparents were slaves in Mississippi. Sometime during the slavery days a slave owner had sex with one of my grandmothers, which I have lighter skin than most African Americans. Since I have slave ancestry, I have no idea which part of Africa my forefathers came from. Another reason I know that I am African American is because my phenotype matches that of people from African descent.
I was raised on the south side of Chicago, so my subculture derives from what I was around growing up. I was around the whole “ghetto” culture; baggy pants, rap music, gangs, etc. Even though I was around those things growing up I didn’t fully absorb the surrounding culture. Growing up I did adopt the local fashion and slang, but I eventually grew out of that. I never adopted the local mind set, which was gangster life. That consisted of, dealing drugs, not excelling in school, treating women badly, ready to fight at a drop of a hat, and the mindset that the (white)man is out to get them. I never found those qualities attractive so I never adopted them. Since I never acted like the people around me, I was mostly shunned as an outcast. It wasn’t considered “cool” to not conform to that way of life. This is what I think is the ultimate downfall of my culture.
Anyone not conforming get picked on and some are forced to conform. All this does is creates a cycle of people not excelling in academics because it’s the “cool” thing to do. This creates a negative image of my culture and ultimately my race as well. Even though I was raided around mostly rap and R&B I like all genres of music. Growing up I had to listen to other genre in secret, since if any of my peers found out I would be labeled as trying to be white, which was looked down upon. When growing up I picked up on the surrounding language which they called “ebonics”. If one didn’t speak like that they would be consider talking “white” and would be shunned. All this is different from the core culture which is W.A.S.P. The only thing I can think of that connect my sub culture to the core culture is that we both speak a form of English. My subculture tries very hard t distance itself from the core culture. This mindset comes from when whites tried to separate my race from the core culture, so instead of trying to conform to them they separated from the core culture all together.
My religion growing up was Baptist. I used to go to church every Sunday and holidays. I also went to catholic schools when I was younger. Because of this I developed a strong moral compass. Most African Americans where I was raised were Baptist as well. I would say a good majority of older African Americans are very religious. As I gotten old I have become the opposite. I no longer practice the Baptist faith and have adopted an agnostic way of thinking. Even though I am agnostic I still have most of the morals I was taught from my past religion. My original religion is another form of the core culture religion. My current beliefs differ vastly from the core culture.
Despite how and where I was raised my beliefs are pretty far from my original subculture. Now that I am a bit older I don’t get shunned because of how I dress or what I believe in. I am still not close to being part of the core culture, but it is not like I was trying to anyway.