African American History And Culture Essay

African American History And Culture Essay

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Just a few months ago, the National Museum of African American History and Culture opened its doors to the public displaying collections dating back to the 1800s. This was a momentous step for black Americans in revealing the parts of American history that are left out of textbooks. While this is a great event in history, one can see from the collections of the exhibit that the standards of white society, in the 1920s, put on black individuals are still prevalent in modern culture. Within the collection there are two coin banks sculpted into the form of a black “Mammy,” who is depicted as a maid and caretaker. Black women after the abolition of slavery were labeled as either, a jezebel or a mammy. After being freed from one type of enslavement, they were shackled to the stereotypes created and enforced by white America. These labels for African American women continue to flourish in modern day America, prevailing Du Bois’ notion of double consciousness, which showcases the black, female community’s struggle with knowing their true identity. The view of black women as “Mammies” is enduring in the current generation because the maple syrup company, Aunt Jemima, continues to use the stereotypical black “Mammy” as the face of their company. Black women’s identities continue to be defined by the paradigms of past and present white American society. Additionally, in the museum they have a picture of a black women as a cabaret strip dancer. Since white males no longer had easy access to rape black women after slavery, they labeled black women as jezebels to deface their image instead of their own. The overly sexualized image of black women has been everlasting in modern society through making them over utilize sex appeal within music vid...


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...f her skin stays a darker shade than that of their own. Although “race matter because of racism,” racism is not just a binary concept; it is not just a cut and paste topic. Rather, it is a multifarious, multifaceted problem that continues to affect the black women’s struggle with identity on a daily basis. The recurring description of Ifemelu as black further demonstrates how racism undermines the confidence she has in herself. She is a particularly strong woman who knows her self-worth and beauty. Henceforth, through the everyday subtleties associated with acts of racism, Adichie showcases its lasting effects within Ifemelu’s internal conflicts of self-doubt. Once again, the struggle of identity in Americanah is akin to Du Bois’ notion, where the African American community changes their outward appearance and behaviors to conform to the standards of white Americans.

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