African-American Culture & My Family Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

SIX: How does your family culture affect the formation of gender roles? There are many families in the African-American community that consist only of a mother. It is no secret that in a large number of Black families, the father is gone. I am blessed because my parents have pretty much shared responsibilities for the home and our income; we have no gender issues.

SEVEN: Is a language other than English used in your household? No

EIGHT: Give examples of nonverbal communication that you can trace to your culture. Typically African-Americans make strong eye contact with each other. Certainly in my family they do. Culturally it is true that African-Americans use more eye contact when they are talking and less when listening. Also, African-Americans touch or hug on greeting.

NINE: How does your family trace its roots? My family knows our roots and we learn all we need to know from our grandparents; our grandparents kept personal biographies so we are pretty much up-to-date.

TEN: How does your culture teach you to relate to people in other communities? Are there rules and expectations on how to treat people outside our own culture and community? We know for example that other cultures are not as apt to want to be touched on greeting. Asians, for example, when you buy something at the 7-11 store, won't hand you the change. They will put it on the counter. In their culture, they don't want to touch the other person especially if he is a stranger. That is one example. We also know Asians don't make eye contact like we do; you show respect by avoiding eye contact.

ELEVEN: What are some of the values and attitudes related to work in your culture. What kind of work is meaningful? How important is work or professional standing in the ways that members of your community develop a self-concept? We go to work and interact according to the values and ethics in our workplace, and I don't see that there is any particular cultural (African-American) style or pattern regarding work. Work that is honest and productive is meaningful work. There are many African-Americans right now that are struggling and out of work, which hurts the dignity of the person, along with the ability to be self-sustaining.

TWELVE: How important is leisure? What activities do you take part in? I like to go bowling, I read a lot and I write poetry. Like a lot of African-American families, we watch sports on TV (NFL, NBA), we go to sporting events. Leisure after a week's work is as important to us as it is to any culture -- it is vital. We all need our down time and to get away from work.

THIRTEEN: How much does your cultural community embrace technology? We count on technology, on our mobile phones, our computers, our electronic devices. It's not a cultural thing -- it's a modern day, middle class American thing.

FOURTEEN: How adaptive is your cultural community to social and cultural changes? I would say the African-American community has made more adjustments to social and cultural change than just about any other culture in America. We are always hoping for positive change.

FIFTEEN: Are members of your culture able to preserve a sense of distinctive cultural identity in a pluralistic environment? We absolutely are able to keep our values and our cultural identity. At least in our family, we preserve our heritage and our values on a daily basis.

SIXTEEN: Overall, what do you think you like best about your culture? How is this a source of cultural pride? Frankly I am a person who gets along well with people in and out of my culture. And I like the music, entertainment and literature our culture has produced. I take pride (as do my parents) in the wonderful contributions to the American society that members of the African-American community have made. I speak of the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama, Dr. King and Coretta Scott King, Shirley Chisholm, Colin Powell, Langston Hughes, Toni Morrison, and so many more.

SEVENTEEN: What is the most important thing you learned about how your own culture affects your self-concept and how your communicate? African-Americans tend to be very outgoing, musically and creatively talented, and we are very friendly if they see someone else is open to friendliness. My self-concept is very healthy and I am proud of…

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