The social categories I can identify with are African Americans, European Americans (Whites), and Nigerian Americans. I can identify with African Americans because I am an African American. I can identify with Whites and Nigerian Americans because I have worked very closely with both these racial and ethnic groups. “The term African American refers to individuals who are residents of the U. S. A. , usually raised here, who are of African ancestry, whereas the term Black is more general and can refer to anyone of African ancestry, including recent immigrant” (Education. byu. edu, 2012).
African Americans make up about 14% of the population in the United States (Education. byu. edu, 2012). The ancestors of African Americans were brought to the Americas against their will and enslaved by Whites. They were forcibly taken to Spanish and English colonies in America where they were enslaved and treated as inferiors. For more than two centuries, African Americans suffered from slavery and segregation but continued to have hope (Education. byu. edu, 2012). My ancestors used Religion, mostly Christianity, and Gospel music to help them cope and forget about their suffering for a certain period of time.
Believing in God and singing old Negro spiritual songs, gave them hope that one day they would be free and able to live among and be equal to other races. Blacks were forbidden to attend the same schools as whites, use the same restrooms as whites, ride the front of the bus, vote or go anywhere white people were. The struggle for freedom was a very long and difficult one. Once the NAACP was formed in 1909, they aimed to abolish segregation and discrimination against blacks (“Encyclopedia Britannica’s Guide to Black History”, 2013). African Americans have come a very long way from slavery days. No one would ave ever believed that the United States of America would one day see a Black President elected for not one, but two terms. Although we have a come a long way, we still have a long way to go. Prejudice and discrimination still exists in the world today. Many people discriminate against Blacks because of the stereotypes that were created about them and the way they are portrayed on television in the news. Blacks were most known for being religious, cooking soul food, being athletic and singing. Today, Blacks are known for being criminals and violent, being drug addicts and alcoholics, being poor, uneducated, jobless and unhealthy.
Although all of these things exist among all races, it seems that they are more prevalent among Blacks. When Blacks commit crimes, they are plastered all over the news. But when Whites or another race commit a crime, it is kept quiet unless it is a high profile case. For example, when the young eight year old Jewish boy, Leiby Kletzky, from Brooklyn was found in the refrigerator of another Jewish man from their own community, the story was kept under wraps. Before the police discovered the boy’s body it was a high profile case, then all of a sudden when it was found out to be one of their own kind, the story was no longer in the news.
I have worked with Nigerian Americans for over eleven years. I must say that my experiences with Nigerian Americans have not always been good. From what I have learned, they seem to be rude, they think they are inferior to Blacks and Hipics but they fear the Whites. Most of them are Catholic, they eat foods that seem to have a foul odor, and they speak their own language. I found this to be interesting because I became close friends with two Liberian Americans and they seem to be totally different from Nigerian Americans both in their appearances and their behaviors. Liberians seem to be very polite, clean, and pleasant people.
They only speak English, although they have a very heavy accent when speaking amongst each other because they speak very fast. Liberian women seem to be smaller in stature and dress very nice in American clothing. Nigerian women are very large with large hands and feet, they appear darker, they wear their African clothing often and they do not care too much about appearance. Most Africans do not consider themselves to be African Americans. They do not consider themselves or their ancestors to be a part of the slavery era (“Encyclopedia Britannica’s Guide to Black History”, 2013).
I always believed that everyone from Africa was the same until I began working with them. Most of them seem to love spicy food, they eat whole fish with the head still on it, they love rice and they eat some interesting food. Every year, my job has a cultural diversity event where people of all ethnicities and races bring their food for others to experience. I love learning and trying new things, so I find this event to be very informative and helpful in teaching others about different cultures and beliefs. It also allows everyone to get to know others for themselves which makes a healthier work environment.
As far as my ancestors being discriminated against, my great (x’s 4) grandmother was raped by a slave master and my father’s mother is mixed with Black And White races. My great (x’s 4) grandmother was beaten and repeatedly raped. This is all the information my grandmother gave me. My grandmother and all her sisters and brothers are very, very light and fair skinned with beautiful hair. I always wondered why and when I asked her she told me the story about her grandmother and her grandmother’s mother being raped during slavery by their White slave masters.
Cultural Groups. (2012). Retrieved from http://Education.byu.edu/diversity/culture.html Encyclopedia Britannica’s Guide to Black History. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.Britannica.com/blackhistory
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