Is The African American Family Slowly Disintegrating?
America, as we know it today, is composed of an eclectic mix of cultures including African, Asian, Hispanic, Native American as well as diverse European cultures. These cultures have amalgamated in some ways, but in other ways certain cultures have established themselves as dominant, immensely contributing to the paradigm shifts in the American culture. The English language, for example, is the language that is prevalently spoken in the United States today; it is traditionally associated with the Yankees who have European descent. Of particular interest in this research, however, is the African component of American culture. Why, for example, don’t Americans speak Portuguese, the language that most of the African Slaves were familiar with? After their emancipation, were the black slaves incapable of propagating their own culture to their children and their children’s children? Are they an inferior race? Or are they simply unmotivated and unwilling to rise above their despondency? These are some of the questions that this research attempts to investigate.
It is a well known fact that social, economic and political ills continue to beset the African American family in all walks of their lives. They constantly experience racial discrimination, unemployment, and various forms of violence. Numerous reports indicate blacks as the perpetrator of crimes. They are faced by issues such as welfare, illegitimacy, a large number of children and, the resulting cycle of poverty (Newman, 150). The figures and the statistics speak for themselves making us all too aware about the plight of the blacks in America. In light of all this, a pertinent question arising from this would be “when and how it all started.” So that if any remedial steps are to be taken, the source of the problem may be clearly defined & understood and then acted upon accordingly. Are their problems a direct result of poor decisions and bad judgments made by their fore fathers? It is highly unlikely. Many people may choose to call it ill fate, more so, those African Americans languishing in poverty in the poorer areas like East Harlem in Manhattan. But according to David Newman in his book, The Sociology of Families, the African American experience is unique because of direct and indirect effects of slavery (150). This brings us to “the when” and “the how’. But before that, what do we mean by the term slavery?
According to the Wikipedia encyclopedia, slavery is defined as involuntary servitude, whether enforced by violence or by other methods. Its roots in America can be traced back to a group of impecunious people of Europeans origin referred to as indentured servants, who worked on a contractual basis to offset a debt resulting from their passage into America. Many of them were not able to repay the debt and therefore remained as indebted or indentured servants throughout their entire lives. Long before this, the Portuguese had...