African-Americans: Anthropological Survey of Tradition, Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

The role of African-American parents has often been characterized as more dominant than those in white families, at least partially due to the difficulty of keeping the family together under pressure. Extended family structures are still more common in African-American families: for economic and later cultural reasons, grandparents are more likely to live with adult children, and. Grandmothers were often asked to function as babysitters, as African-American women were more apt to be forced to work than their white counterparts. However, this multigenerational framework has had a positive effect on many families and created a strong social support structure for families during trying times.

In highly stressful circumstances, such as crime-ridden urban locations, children may be more apt to have children earlier, and to leave school given that their observable role models do not present college as a likely future option. Such has been the case for many African-American young men, who are statistically overrepresented in records of high school drop-outs, and exhibit greater difficulty finding a social niche, compared with their white counterparts.

The need to present African-American young people with role models other than athletes or rap stars (since sports and entertainment are two arenas in which African-Americans have excelled, despite discrimination even in these fields) was spoken of in the current President's address to the school children of the nation. However, merely because America has elected its first African-American president does not mean that discrimination has been eradicated. President Obama's election has provided a vision of hope for many, but the historical legacy of discrimination continues. Civil rights legislation and affirmative action has undeniably changed America. Yet bias against African-Americans, often unconscious, still acts as a barrier to social mobility.

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