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What Is African American Identity



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Some, like W. Du Bois, favored keeping the term Negro and transforming it into something positive — an affirmation of their perseverance as a people and their freedom. Negro became the predominant identifier of people of African descent for much of the first half of the 20th century, and even then descendants of enslaved people from Africa waged a yearslong campaign before getting most of society, including The Times, to capitalize it. With the rise of the Black Power movement in the mids, the word black, once seen as an insult for many African-Americans, started winning embrace. In just a few years, it became the predominant descriptor of black people as Negro became obsolete. For proponents of capitalizing black, there are grammatical reasons — it is a proper noun, referring to a specific group of people with a shared political identity, shaped by colonialism and slavery.

But some see it as a moral issue as well. It confers a sense of power and respect to black people, who have often been relegated to the lowest rungs of society through racist systems, black scholars say. Vilna Bashi Treitler, a professor of black studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, said that racial categories were fabricated, created to denigrate people considered to be nonwhite. In her first two books, Crystal M. Fleming, a sociologist and author, lowercased black in part because of academic differences between race and ethnicity.

But the more she researched, the more those distinctions became blurred in her mind. She came to see race as a concept that could signify a politically and culturally meaningful identity. Now Dr. She has decided to use Black. Part of the reason, she said, was her desire to honor black experiences and speak with moral clarity about antiracism. Another reason was more basic, born in the urgency of the current moment. Additionally, the researchers observed an average European ancestry of Altogether, genetic studies suggest that African Americans are a genetically diverse people. Shriver , around 58 percent of African Americans have at least Africans bearing the E-V38 E1b1a likely traversed across the Sahara , from east to west , approximately 19, years ago.

This lineage is most common today among Northwestern European males. According to an mtDNA study by Salas et al. As with the paternal DNA of African Americans, contributions from other parts of the continent to their maternal gene pool are insignificant. Formal political, economic and social discrimination against minorities has been present throughout American history. Leland T. Throughout the history of the United States race has been used by Whites for legitimizing and creating difference and social, economic and political exclusion.

African Americans have improved their social and economic standing significantly since the civil rights movement and recent decades have witnessed the expansion of a robust, African-American middle class across the United States. Unprecedented access to higher education and employment in addition to representation in the highest levels of American government has been gained by African Americans in the post—civil rights era. One of the most serious and long-standing issues within African-American communities is poverty. Poverty is associated with higher rates of marital stress and dissolution, physical and mental health problems, disability , cognitive deficits , low educational attainment , and crime.

African Americans have a long and diverse history of business ownership. Although the first African-American business is unknown, slaves captured from West Africa are believed to have established commercial enterprises as peddlers and skilled craftspeople as far back as the 17th century. Around , Booker T. Washington became the most famous proponent of African-American businesses. His critic and rival W. DuBois also commended business as a vehicle for African-American advancement. Forty percent of prison inmates are African American.

Although in the last decade Black youth have had lower rates of cannabis marijuana consumption than Whites of the same age, they have disproportionately higher arrest rates than Whites: in , for example, Blacks were 3. After over 50 years, marriage rates for all Americans began to decline while divorce rates and out-of-wedlock births have climbed. After more than 70 years of racial parity Black marriage rates began to fall behind Whites.

The first ever anti-miscegenation law was passed by the Maryland General Assembly in , criminalizing interracial marriage. Supreme Court in Loving v. Since Obama's endorsement there has been a rapid growth in support for same-sex marriage among African Americans. Polls in North Carolina , [] Pennsylvania , [] Missouri , [] Maryland , [] Ohio , [] Florida, [] and Nevada [] have also shown an increase in support for same sex marriage among African Americans.

On November 6, , Maryland , Maine , and Washington all voted for approve of same-sex marriage, along with Minnesota rejecting a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Black Americans hold far more conservative opinions on abortion, extramarital sex , and raising children out of wedlock than Democrats as a whole. African Americans have fought in every war in the history of the United States.

The gains made by African Americans in the civil rights movement and in the Black Power movement not only obtained certain rights for African Americans, but changed American society in far-reaching and fundamentally important ways. Prior to the s, Black Americans in the South were subject to de jure discrimination, or Jim Crow laws. They were often the victims of extreme cruelty and violence, sometimes resulting in deaths: by the post World War II era, African Americans became increasingly discontented with their long-standing inequality. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr. The civil rights movement marked an enormous change in American social, political, economic and civic life. It brought with it boycotts , sit-ins , nonviolent demonstrations and marches, court battles, bombings and other violence; prompted worldwide media coverage and intense public debate; forged enduring civic, economic and religious alliances; and disrupted and realigned the nation's two major political parties.

Over time, it has changed in fundamental ways the manner in which Blacks and Whites interact with and relate to one another. The movement resulted in the removal of codified, de jure racial segregation and discrimination from American life and law, and heavily influenced other groups and movements in struggles for civil rights and social equality within American society, including the Free Speech Movement , the disabled , the women's movement , and migrant workers.

Some activists and academics contend that American news media coverage of African-American news, concerns, or dilemmas is inadequate, [] [] [] or that the news media present distorted images of African Americans. To combat this, Robert L. On Sunday mornings, BET would broadcast Christian programming; the network would also broadcast non-affiliated Christian programs during the early morning hours daily. TV One's original programming was formally focused on lifestyle and entertainment-oriented shows, movies, fashion, and music programming. The network also reruns classic series from as far back as the s to current series such as Empire and Sister Circle. Urban One is one of the nation's largest radio broadcasting companies and the largest African-American-owned radio broadcasting company in the United States.

It is the first African-American video news site that focuses on underrepresented stories in existing national news. The Grio consists of a broad spectrum of original video packages, news articles, and contributor blogs on topics including breaking news, politics, health, business, entertainment and Black History. From their earliest presence in North America, African Americans have significantly contributed literature, art, agricultural skills, cuisine, clothing styles, music, language, and social and technological innovation to American culture. The cultivation and use of many agricultural products in the United States, such as yams , peanuts, rice, okra , sorghum , grits , watermelon , indigo dyes , and cotton, can be traced to West African and African-American influences.

Notable examples include George Washington Carver , who created products from peanuts, products from sweet potatoes, and 75 products from pecans; and George Crum , a local legend incorrectly associates him with the creation of the potato chip in It is closely related to the cuisine of the Southern United States. The descriptive terminology may have originated in the mids, when soul was a common definer used to describe African-American culture for example, soul music. African Americans were the first peoples in the United States to make fried chicken, along with Scottish immigrants to the South. Although the Scottish had been frying chicken before they emigrated, they lacked the spices and flavor that African Americans had used when preparing the meal.

The Scottish American settlers therefore adopted the African-American method of seasoning chicken. African-American English is a variety dialect , ethnolect , and sociolect of American English , commonly spoken by urban working-class and largely bi-dialectal middle-class African Americans. African-American English evolved during the antebellum period through interaction between speakers of 16th- and 17th-century English of Great Britain and Ireland and various West African languages. As a result, the variety shares parts of its grammar and phonology with the Southern American English dialect.

African-American English differs from Standard American English SAE in certain pronunciation characteristics, tense usage, and grammatical structures, which were derived from West African languages particularly those belonging to the Niger-Congo family. Virtually all habitual speakers of African-American English can understand and communicate in Standard American English. As with all linguistic forms, AAVE's usage is influenced by various factors, including geographical, educational and socioeconomic background, as well as formality of setting. African-American names are part of the cultural traditions of African Americans.

Prior to the s, and s, most African-American names closely resembled those used within European American culture. With the rise of s civil rights movement, there was a dramatic increase in names of various origins. By the s, and s, it had become common among African Americans to invent new names for themselves, although many of these invented names took elements from popular existing names. Even with the rise of inventive names, it is still common for African Americans to use biblical, historical, or traditional European names. Punctuation marks are seen more often within African-American names than other American names, such as the names Mo'nique and D'Andre. Religious affiliation of African Americans in []. The majority of African Americans are Protestant , many of whom follow the historically Black churches.

Black congregations were first established by freed slaves at the end of the 17th century, and later when slavery was abolished more African Americans were allowed to create a unique form of Christianity that was culturally influenced by African spiritual traditions. According to a survey, more than half of the African-American population are part of the historically Black churches.

Pentecostals are distributed among several different religious bodies, with the Church of God in Christ as the largest among them by far. Some African Americans follow Islam. Malcolm X is considered the first person to start the movement among African Americans towards mainstream Islam, after he left the Nation and made the pilgrimage to Mecca. Muslim population , [] the majority are Sunni or orthodox Muslims, some of these identify under the community of W.

Deen Mohammed. There is also a small group of African-American Jews , making up less than 0. Confirmed atheists are less than one half of one-percent, similar to numbers for Hispanics. African-American music is one of the most pervasive African-American cultural influences in the United States today and is among the most dominant in mainstream popular music. African-American-derived musical forms have also influenced and been incorporated into virtually every other popular music genre in the world, including country and techno. African-American genres are the most important ethnic vernacular tradition in America, as they have developed independent of African traditions from which they arise more so than any other immigrant groups, including Europeans; make up the broadest and longest lasting range of styles in America; and have, historically, been more influential, interculturally, geographically, and economically, than other American vernacular traditions.

African Americans have also had an important role in American dance. Bill T. Likewise, Alvin Ailey 's artistic work, including his "Revelations" based on his experience growing up as an African American in the South during the s, has had a significant influence on modern dance. Another form of dance, Stepping , is an African-American tradition whose performance and competition has been formalized through the traditionally Black fraternities and sororities at universities. Many African-American authors have written stories, poems, and essays influenced by their experiences as African Americans.

African-American literature is a major genre in American literature. African-American inventors have created many widely used devices in the world and have contributed to international innovation. Norbert Rillieux created the technique for converting sugar cane juice into white sugar crystals. Moreover, Rillieux left Louisiana in and went to France, where he spent ten years working with the Champollions deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphics from the Rosetta Stone. By , over 1, inventions were patented by Black Americans. Among the most notable inventors were Jan Matzeliger , who developed the first machine to mass-produce shoes, [] and Elijah McCoy , who invented automatic lubrication devices for steam engines.

Morgan developed the first automatic traffic signal and gas mask. Lewis Howard Latimer invented an improvement for the incandescent light bulb. A few other notable examples include the first successful open heart surgery , performed by Dr. Mark Dean holds three of the original nine patents on the computer on which all PCs are based. Gregory was also on the team that pioneered the microwave instrumentation landing system. The term African American , coined by Jesse Jackson in the s, [] carries important political overtones.

Earlier terms used to describe Americans of African ancestry referred more to skin color than to ancestry, and were conferred upon the group by colonists and Americans of European ancestry; people with dark skins were considered inferior in fact and in law. Other terms such as colored , person of color , or negro were included in the wording of various laws and legal decisions which some thought were being used as tools of White supremacy and oppression. Published in , the book's use of this phrase predates any other yet identified by more than 50 years. In the s, the term African American was advanced on the model of, for example, German American or Irish American , to give descendants of American slaves , and other American Blacks who lived through the slavery era, a heritage and a cultural base.

Subsequently, major media outlets adopted its use. Surveys show that the majority of Black Americans have no preference for African American versus Black American , [] although they have a slight preference for the latter in personal settings and the former in more formal settings. Some argued further that, because of the historical circumstances surrounding the capture, enslavement, and systematic attempts to de-Africanize Blacks in the United States under chattel slavery , most African Americans are unable to trace their ancestry to any specific African nation ; hence, the entire continent serves as a geographic marker.

Du Bois , and George Padmore. The term Afro- Usonian , and variations of such, are more rarely used. Since , in an attempt to keep up with changing social opinion, the United States government has officially classified Black people revised to Black or African American in as "having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa. Census Bureau , adhere to the Office of Management and Budget standards on race in their data collection and tabulation efforts. The ICC plan was to reach the three groups by acknowledging that each group has its own sense of community that is based on geography and ethnicity.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation of the U. Department of Commerce , derived from the Office of Management and Budget classification. Historically, " race mixing " between Black and White people was taboo in the United States. So-called anti-miscegenation laws , barring Blacks and Whites from marrying or having sex, were established in colonial America as early as , [] and endured in many Southern states until the Supreme Court ruled them unconstitutional in Loving v. Virginia The taboo among American Whites surrounding White-Black relations is a historical consequence of the oppression and racial segregation of African Americans. After the Emancipation Proclamation , Chinese American men married African American women in high proportions to their total marriage numbers due to few Chinese American women being in the United States.

Drymon, many African Americans identify as having Scots-Irish ancestry. Racially mixed marriages have become increasingly accepted in the United States since the civil rights movement and up to the present day. In her book The End of Blackness , as well as in an essay on the liberal website Salon , [] author Debra Dickerson has argued that the term Black should refer strictly to the descendants of Africans who were brought to America as slaves, and not to the sons and daughters of Black immigrants who lack that ancestry.

Thus, under her definition, President Barack Obama , who is the son of a Kenyan immigrant , is not Black. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who was famously mistaken for a "recent American immigrant" by French President Nicolas Sarkozy , [] said "descendants of slaves did not get much of a head start, and I think you continue to see some of the effects of that. Before the independence of the Thirteen Colonies until the abolition of slavery in , an African-American slave was commonly known as a negro. Free negro was the legal status in the territory of an African-American person who was not a slave.

By the s, the term was commonly capitalized Negro ; but by the mids, it was considered disparaging. By the end of the 20th century, negro had come to be considered inappropriate and was rarely used and perceived as a pejorative. There are many other deliberately insulting terms, many of which were in common use e. One exception is the use, among the Black community, of the slur nigger rendered as nigga , representing the pronunciation of the word in African-American English. This usage has been popularized by American rap and hip-hop music cultures and is used as part of an in-group lexicon and speech. It is not necessarily derogatory and, when used among Black people, the word is often used to mean "homie" or "friend.

Acceptance of intra-group usage of the word nigga is still debated, although it has established a foothold among younger generations. However, trends indicate that usage of the term in intragroup settings is increasing even among White youth due to the popularity of rap and hip hop culture. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Redirected from African-American. Americans of ancestry from Black ethnic groups of Africa. Proportion of African Americans in each U. Black schools Historically black colleges and universities Fraternities Stepping.

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