African American Culture

Length: 4 Pages 955 Words

African American Culture Culture is not a fixed phenomenon, nor is it the same in all places or to all people. It is relative to time, place, and particular people. Learning about other people can help us to understand ourselves and to be better world citizens. One of the most common ways of studying culture is to focus on the differences within and among cultures. Although their specifics may vary form one culture to another, sociologists refer to those elements or characteristics that can be found in every know society as cultural universals. For example, in all societies, funeral rites include expression of grief, disposing of the dead, and rituals that define the relations of the dead with the living. And on the most significant cultural universals is the incest taboo, a cultural norm prohibiting marriage or sexual relations between certain kin. Whether the underlying basis of human behavior is biological or purely learned, how we channel that behavior is an important aspect of culture. From the time we are born, we are socialized to believe that our way of life is one that is good, civilized, and above reproach. Such ideals usually sets the tone for what sociologist would refer to as ethnoc Continue...


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Participants in Kwanzaa celebrations affirm their African heritage by drinking from the Unity cup, lighting red, black, and green candles, exchanging heritage symbols, such as African art, and recounting the lives of people who struggled for African and African American freedom. "Soul food," a cuisine commonly associated with African Americans in the South, makes creative use of inexpensive products. Yet, as a people, we thought it necessary to hold on these priceless teachings because it has served as the only link to our African ancestry. People who celebrate Kwanzaa hope to strengthen the black community by adhering to the seven guiding principles, designated by the terms from the Swahili language: umoja (unity), kujichagulia (self-determination), umija (collective work and responsibility), ujamaa (cooperative economics), nia (purpose), kuumba (creativity), and imani (faith). The celebration of Juneteenth, the day that the emancipation was signed, is celebrated annually by African Americans. From the African American perspective, culture encompasses all we know, all we feel, and all we have absorbed from our elders (whippings, the teaching of specialized skills, living within your blackness, etc. It is relative to time, place, and particular people and African American culture plays a significant role in the United States today. Slaves adapted their dances to conform to European beliefs, creating a shuffling motion with the feet that would be less offensive to Europeans. During slavery, slave-owners defined dancing as sinful because slaves crossed their feet to dance. Ham hocks and neck bones provide seasoning to soups, beans, and boiled greens. Though it exists from one degree or another in every society, it may also serve as the glue that holds a society together. Every Black experience is shared by all, however, there are links in our heritage or our "culture" that binds one to another. Africans introduced Americans to musical rhythms and instruments quite different from the musical traditions of Europeans. African American dance is rooted in African and African American traditions.

PROFESSIONAL ESSAYS:

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Assistant Professor at New York UniversityÆs Department of Culture and Communication, and has authored books and articles on African American culture and the (657 3 )

Analysis of African and Native American Museums
It is clear according to Early (31), that the traditional management by museums of elements of African-American culture is no longer sufficient to address the (1258 5 )

African American Response to AA
in the Alcoholics Anonymous structure, at least insofar as AA structures take account of the special needs and attributes of the African American culture. (2313 9 )

African American History
The fourth part of the paper will discuss the African roots of jazz and the early development of jazz in African American culture. (3965 16 )

African-American Cultural Issues in Therapy
Trust is an issue between Black men and women, as betrayal is a given for the culture. Trust in the African-American relationship between a man and a woman is (1694 7 )