Cultural Assimilation Of African American Identity Essay

Cultural Assimilation Of African American Identity Essay

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Every ethnicity has developed specific tendencies that permeate and maintain from generation to the next. Throughout the first month of class we have read and discussed the emergence of the African American identity, which formed separately from white or Latino culture. This process has relied heavily on oral tradition and maintained via the socio-economic status of African Americans throughout their history here in the US. "Structural Integration vs. Cultural Assimilation: A Distinction with a Difference” and “Introduction,” Black Talk: Words and Phrases form the Hood to the Amen Corner" approach this topic in both similar and different ways.
Both articles examine the cultural assimilation of African Americans in the United States, but this process is described in different ways. “Integration vs. Assimilation” defines cultural assimilation as both the embracement of social norms and loss of native cultural sensibilities, or traits that define an entire culture. Essentially this means African Americans wanted to adopt European norms while excising some customs of their current culture. This was on display when the antebellum free blacks attempted to deconstruct the “differences in education, literacy, manner of speaking, dress, and other social markers reinforced the dominant mainstream perception of inferiority” (Hall 4), while also losing some cultural distinctiveness. A northern black Church simultaneously preached for the eradication of slavery while promoting worship styles eerily similar to their white counterparts. This is a great example of cultural assimilation because the black Church replicated the European style of worship, while eliminating “the heavily Africanized worship style of the enslaved brothers and sisters...


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...example of this would be “ursher.” However, although many African Americans use slang today, some engage in code switching. This is when you adapt your speech to your environment. When around peers, we are more inclined to speak colloquially; in a formal setting such as a job interview, we most likely try to refrain from using slang terms. The sub-par economic status of African Americans throughout US history has permitted the continuance of a prime cultural sensibility, language.
Each culture has its own set of characteristics formed through multiple generations. The deep tradition of orality among African Americans and often-inferior socioeconomic status has lead to and maintained these cultural sensibilities. Moreover, each article accounts for the formation and continuation of these distinct traits, yet both have different methods of explanation.







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