African Americans are individuals who reside in the United States of America but are African in origin. Most African Americans have been raised in America but others immigrate to live there. Some change their nationalism to American and thus become African Americans though they may not have been raised in the country. African Americans have an interesting history and background since most of them, especially those that have been brought up in the country, were enslaved, and taken to America forcefully (Gates and Donald 97). Their interesting history attracted me to study their culture. It is probable that almost all of them have adopted the western life though Africans are said to be conservative of their culture. Africans are perceived to be uncivilized and thus I chose this cultural group to determine the truth of the fallacy. Apart from studying the culture of African Americans, the paper will also cover personal views concerning them, the approach used to in the study, descriptions of lessons from the study and a conclusion.
Personal views on African Americans
From the little knowledge, I have about African Americans, I have understood and perceived them to be aliens in America. Though some landed in the country unwillingly, some also land in the country in search for jobs. America has been one of the leading countries across the globe and thus many people from other countries opt to invest and look for jobs there. Africans have been perceived as hardworking and aggressive economically and thus in the name of looking for green fields, they landed in America, thus earning the title African Americans. Though African Americans have lived in the American continent for years, they have adopted the languages used in the region. They speak American English, a trait, which makes them appear similar to the whites. However, they still have their dark skin color, which is the main trait that distinguishes them from the rest of the Americans. However, due to their respect for their traditions, they still practise their traditions, which they pass on their future generations through writing, dances, art and music.
To collect information about the African Americans, I conducted some interviews from eight people who associate themselves with the cultural group. I also used some questionnaires, which I issued to African American students in the University. I conducted the interviews during my free time in different states in America for about two weeks. In the streets, I would interview any African American that I spotted to obtain some relevant information. I had prepared some questions that I subjected to them and they would respond as I took notes. However, the young ones had little or no information about their origin and would claim America as their origin. However, they were not able to account for the difference in the skin color of the whites and theirs. I also used open- ended questionnaires to students in our institution who are African Americans. I gave the questionnaires two days before the day of gathering the information. I issued them earlier on to enable the students to access any relevant information about their origin, culture, and practices from any possible sources such as their parents. Since their parents and other relatives could be at a better position to narrate about their history and culture, issuing out them earlier would increase the possibility of obtaining all information. Other sources used include ‘Encyclopedia of African American History’ by Finkelman Paul and ‘The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross’ by Gates, Henry L, and Donald Yacovone.
Description of lessons from the information collected
From the information gathered from the interviews and questionnaires, African Americans have not disserted their traditions, despite being in a foreign country for years. They have set aside February as the Black History Month to celebrate their history and culture. In addition, they also have a Kwanzaa celebration, which takes place on 26th of every December each year with the focus being their values for families, commercial activities, improving themselves and responsibilities in their communities. These values are African and are still observed in the African continent. They still value communal activities and sharing. In America, African Americans live together with their nuclear families as well as with the members of their extended families. Cooperation among African Americans is highly encouraged, as they cooperate and solve activities that prove difficult and need tactile learning (Finkelman 120). From the information, I learnt that most of the African Americans who live in the country were taken there as slaves by the American colonies.
Through conducting the research, I was able to understand the role of culture in the lives of different people who associate themselves with their respective cultures. A culture is a unifying factor among people of the same origin and for it to be maintained, cultural legacies have to be preserved as well. Preservation of these cultural legacies is only possible through passing teaching and practices by old generations to new ones. The value of multiple perspectives is well seen in the research. Multiple perspectives encourage conducting of more researches to get the most accurate and appropriate concept or argument concerning issues, people, or things.
Finkelman, Paul. Encyclopedia of African American History, 1896 to the Present: From the Age of Segregation to the Twenty-First Century. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.
Gates, Henry L, and Donald Yacovone. The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross. Carlsbad, California: Smiley Books, 2013.