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The African Cultural Essence in the African American Culture

2019-06-03 来源: 51due教员组 类别: Essay范文

下面为大家整理一篇优秀的essay代写范文- The African Cultural Essence in the African American Culture,供大家参考学习,这篇论文讨论了中的非洲文化精髓。美国的非洲文化元素可能并不是原始意义上的非洲文化和地质意义上的非洲文化。随着非裔美国人的适应和创新精神,以及新环境的影响,非裔美国人文化已成为美国文化的重要组成部分。非裔美国人文化的主要影响包括语言、宗教和音乐。这些方面都具有独特的非洲特色,并对整个美国文化作出了重大贡献。

African American Culture,African Cultural Essence,essay代写,作业代写,代写

During the period of the Atlantic slave trade, hundreds of thousands of Africans were sold to the land of America. A substantial amount of them survived on the way, reaching the British colonies in North America, such as places like Louisiana, Florida, and the later formed United States of America. Even after slave trade was banned by the US officials since the early 19th century, there were still tens of thousands of slaves smuggled into the country. these African slaves and their descendants, the African Americans, have created the unique black American culture in the country. The influence of authentic African culture on the African American culture and the US culture as a whole should not be underestimated. In this essay, the remnant of African cultural essence in the US culture will be explored, tracing back to the reasons why certain African cultural elements successfully integrated into the mainstream US culture. By addressing the unique quality of African American culture, a better understand of the US culture can be achieved.

The first question of concern is whether some part of the African culture was able to be carried with the slaves and brought to America, and how did these cultural elements survived the cruelty of slavery and prevailed through time. In order to answer these questions, the slave trading process needs to be better examined. The process of selecting slaves, traders only considered physical factors, since these slaves were treated no different from animals. However, one of the important features of culture is its ability to sustain, as long as there is an adequate size of a crowd. People with similar cultural backgrounds are likely to gather around, since the mutual understanding and recognition give them a sense of security. It may have been the same with the Africans being abducted and sold to America. Although the slave population formed a largely isolated cultural community from their cultural roots, the African cultural elements were still kept alive, since within the slave population, communication processes were still active. The initial gathering of Africans from the same tribes, or with the similar level of cultural backgrounds, provided the fundamental condition for the African cultural essence to be kept alive and passed on.

There is no superiority among different cultures. Each culture contains distinctive traits and unique perspectives of the world and unique ways of interacting with the physical environment. Although African culture is perceived by some as backwards by some, such an idea is not true. The land of Africa has actually nurtured vibrant cultures and languages, contributing significantly to the human civilization in general. After the independence, many African countries has been developing at great speeds as well. Although Africa is not the largest continent in terms of land area, it has the largest number of countries. This indirectly demonstrates the high level of cultural diversity in Africa. Since land transportation was not only difficult, but also expensive, most of the slaves sold to America was through the sea. With only a limited number of ports transporting slaves to America, the actual geographical origin of African slaves was limited to the areas adjacent to these ports. This further creates a similar cultural background for the first Africans to set foot on Americans soil. Due to the similar cultural background, the cultural bond between African individuals was tremendously reinforced in the alien environment. It is also more likely for slaves of common backgrounds to form families. Family is another crucial element other than cultural backgrounds, to maintain and continue the important African cultural essence. As the basic unit of society, the formation of families became the basis for the fragment African culture to settle its roots in America, and finally integrate with the other cultures through centuries.

In the spread, promotion, and continuation of the African culture in the US, language played an important role. Language is more than just a form of communication, as it contains the fundamental philosophies of how a people interacts with the world and within itself. With different words, grammar rules and ways of expressing the self, people speak different languages also contain distinctive cultural elements.  The unique African language had an impact on different levels of communication between the first African Americans. The west African languages and Black American English share similar rhythms and tones. The authentic African language were able to be kept through syntax, pronunciation, and some basic vocabularies. A new language called Creole was even invented, by blending the different West African languages in the US into one . Through such a method of integration, a much strong sense of identity and belonging is created, with African Americans originally from different tribes and areas speaking a common language.

The African American style of English nowadays is also under the influence of multiple cultural and linguistic elements. Of course, authentic African linguistic elements are also added to the body of English. According to a study, there are over four thousand words in the American English that are with African origins, including vines (clothes) and goober (peanut) . As an integration of both language and culture, African American English is rooted in Africa but carries European cultural features as well. It is no more about ethnicity, but an inheritance of culture. The persecution and discrimination against the African Americans in the US history has contributed to the tolerant attitude for diversity in the mainstream US culture nowadays. With the rising social status of African Americans, their distinctive English has become a sense of cultural identity. There are increasing emergence of the English language in the African American style in mass media, such as films and TV. This shows that the linguistic element of African culture has successfully integrated with the mainstream US culture.

Religions during the slave trading period was not possible, as the African slaves didn’t even have personal freedom, let alone freedom of belief. Although the original religions of the African Americans were long lost, the entrance of Islam into the US since the 19th century is considered the major influence of authentic African religion on US culture . During the colonial period, there is a lack of evidence regarding the percentage of Muslim Africans sold to America. Although some claim that the proportion of Muslims can be as high as 20%, such a number may be overly exaggerated . Just like other authentic African religions, Islam was forbidden by slave owners, since they were mostly Christians. Therefore, the original African Muslims and the African American Muslim population of the US nowadays are disconnected. Since 1881, southern states in America started passing laws of discrimination and segregation, in the name of maintaining social order. The higher social class were dominated by the white Americans. After the Civil War, the southern states were largely excluded from the democratic process of the US. Therefore, the status of African Americans did not improve significantly.

This led to the Great Migration between 1914 and 1918, when the African American populations from southern states fled to the north. This included the African American clergy as well, who established churches for African Americans alone in the north. These priests became the spiritual leader of the African American populations. In the community that composed of white residents mostly, churches became the major form of protection over the African Americans from prosecution. Since the newly migrated population found themselves to still be in the marginalized social and economic position, black churches evolved from simple religious institutions into a parallel system of both religious beliefs and political pursuits of African Americans. This makes religion even more important in defining the contemporary African American culture. Churches become increasingly associated with the idea of equality and racial advancement.

The emergence of Muslims was due to similar reasons, after the long-term exploitation and discrimination against the African Americans. In the emerging fight against the white, the typical religion of the white race, Christianity, thus became a target for many African Americans as well. For many of them, Christianity was considered a religion of the slave owners. To find a replacement of Christianity, Islam emerged as the best option. Although African Americans would love to trace back to their religious roots in West Africa, it was simply impossible for them to restore the long-lost faith in West African religions and gods. Therefore, Islam from North Africa successfully emerged as the most powerful religious and cultural force for African Americans. Moreover, Islam also has the history of being positioned at the opposite of Christianity, making it even more suitable for African Americans in search for a political weapon.

A social stratification within the African Americans had emerged by the 20th century. The group that was better integrated with the white society were mainly Christians. In comparison, the group that was at the bottom of society were seeking religious salvation and freedom. These groups were more dominant in number, making it much easier for Islam to spread in the US. Besides, the beliefs and rules of Islam is simple and straightforward, making it much easier to be adopted by new members. Islam also has the characteristic of high cohesiveness and exclusiveness. Such factors of the religion were exaggerated to suit the political needs, coating the political conflicts with religion . The African Islam in the US is in fact very different from the original teachings of Islam. This is to suit the specific needs of African Americans. The purpose behind the religion, is to integrate the forces of individual African Americans into a social force, to help them forge a new identity and get rid of the white dominated history.

Entering the 20th century, the African American Muslim culture became more associated with the Civil Rights Movement. Religious figures such as Malcom X became the inspiration for a number of Black right activists. Meanwhile, on the Christianity side, Martin Luther King emerged as the religious and political leader of the African American population. Comparing the two forces, the latter lead by Christianity obviously gained more support and became more successful in achieving its political pursuits. However, both religious forces have contributed greatly to the African American religious culture nowadays. Despite the loss of authentic African religion on the macro level, Christianity and Islam became the two major religions of the African Americans. Integrating religion with the African ethnicity, political pursuits and civil rights beliefs, a unique religious culture has been formed.

Spirituals, or soul music may be one of the greatest contributions of African American cultures in the US culture. Upon their initial entrance into the American continent, African slaves did not have no freedom. Therefore, the best way for them to express their feelings became music. With the cruelty of the slave owners, the need for spirituals is not only for self-expression, but for the unity and collaboration of individuals through music . Spirituals are not only used for singing and religious purposes, but also for teaching, praying and even cursing. It became an essential element of communication in addition to language. Spirituals are able to bring out the cohesiveness in the black community, installing a sense of belonging in them. It encouraged the African Americans to help each other in fighting injustice and achieve collective goals. There are different names for African American music throughout history, “soul music” is merely one of these names that feels pertinent to capture both the characteristics of the music itself and the African American populations. Before the Civil War, soul music was mainly in the form of singing by slaves in plantations. Although these slaves received no education, they were able to pass on ideas and stories about their cultural origins through singing.

With the victory of Civil War and emancipation, African Americans received more opportunities to be educated. In the 1870s, African American singing groups became the new music trend in the US, producing a number of deeply emotional songs. Singers like Paul Robeson in the early 20th century further established the status of spirituals in formal concerts. The influence of spirituals continued, with the invention of Blues, ragtime and Jazz. Some features of spirituals have become frequent elements in classical music. Entering the 21st century, the cultural influence has developed beyond the black community, and become a mainstream feature of US culture. Singing techniques originally used by black singers are now applied by different ethnics. There are even white artists who achieved success through the adoption of styles that are traditionally believed to be exclusive to African American culture, including rapping and hip-hop. It has become increasingly different to single out a music culture or style that is purely under the black influence nowadays, which is a sign of successful cultural integration.

Other cultural influences of the African American culture include folklores that originate from African. Some folk stories get to remain untouched, while others were modified and added new elements. However, the common elements of these folklores are the celebration of traditional values that are the most important in African culture, including wisdom, honor, and the victories . Folklores are commonly associated with soul music, which contain tales and stories as lyrics. African American folklores have adopted numerous different forms, including songs, storytelling, ballads and rapping. In addition to the original stories from Africa, additions have been made along the way. The folktales of African Americans have become a live history over the struggles of African Americans through enslavement, reconstruction of the African identity in the US after emancipation, and the post-reconstruction period till the present day.

In conclusion, the African cultural elements in the US may not be the African culture in the original and geological sense. With the adaptation and creative spirits of African Americans, and the influence of new environments, African American culture has become an important component in the US culture. this essay first explored why African American culture was able to survive the alien environment, leading to the argument that common cultural backgrounds and the formation of families were the main reason for African culture to sustain. The major influences of African American culture include language, religion, and music. Each of these aspects contain unique African characteristics, and have contributed significantly to the US culture as an entirety.

Bibliography

Abdullah, Zain. "African "Soul Brothers" in the 'Hood: Immigration, Islam, and the Black Encounter." Anthropological Quarterly 82, no. 1 (2009): 37-62.

Chande, Abdin. "Islam in the African American Community: Negotiating between Black Nationalism and Historical Islam." Islamic Studies 47, no. 2 (2008): 221-241.

Flynn, Joseph E. "Who Leads this Dance: Reflecting on the Influence of African Americans on Popular Culture." Black History Bulletin 74, no. 1 (2011): 32.

Green, Lisa. "Research on African American English since 1998: Origins, Description, Theory, and Practice." Journal of English Linguistics 32, no. 3 (2004): 210-229.

Hickey, Pamela J. and Vicki McQuitty. "Embracing African American English." English Journal 106, no. 2 (2016): 99.

Jones, Arthur C. "The Foundational Influence of Spirituals in African-American Culture: A Psychological Perspective." Black Music Research Journal 24, no. 2 (2004): 251-260.

Nelson, Louis P. "The Architectures of Black Identity: Buildings, Slavery, and Freedom in the Caribbean and the American South." Winterthur Portfolio 45, no. 2/3 (2011): 177-194.

Ogunleye, Tolagbe. "African American Folklore: Its Role in Reconstructing African American History." Journal of Black Studies 27, no. 4 (1997): 435-455.

Patricks. S. De Walt. "In Search of an Authentic African American and/or Black Identity: Perspectives of First Generation U.S.-Born Africans Attending a Predominantly White Institution." Journal of Black Studies 42, no. 3 (2011): 479-503.

Tolnay, Stewart E. "The African American "Great Migration" and Beyond." Annual Review of Sociology 29, (2003): 209-232.

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