Who is holding the African American Culture Back?
Slavery is a topic that can still heat up a room just by the mention of the name, even 145 years after the African-American culture was set free. John McWhorter and other elite scholars go into detail about how the circumstances of low income, illiteracy, and high crime rates that African-Americans find themselves in, are outcomes of following a “cult of victimology” (Brophy, 2002). Low graduation rates among the African American population aids in the high unemployment rate, influencing a higher risk for health issues and poverty. Even though some may have fallen prey to slavery, the African American culture can overcome history and should take responsibility for their outcomes.
Growing up in a small rural town on the banks of the Wabash River in southern Illinois, I lived amongst 99.5 percent of Caucasian Americans. The only African Americans we had in our small town were the ones that attend our Junior college at Wabash Junior College on a basketball scholarship. If the African-Americans weren’t a big contributor to developing a nationally recognize college, then they wouldn’t have been accepted around town.
I grew up hearing stories about the African American culture from the view of the white man. My grandparents told me that when they were growing up in the early 1900’s, there was a sign hanging on the bridge that connects the state of Illinois to the state of Indiana stating, “Get your black ass out of town, before the sun goes down.” Another story they illustrated was about how lynching would take place at the big oak tree down by the river.
I had a hard time understanding how in the 1970’s, the people of my own town and even my family members would still view them the same way as their ancestors did from many years ago. I was brought up in a family that everyone should be treated equally, but at times I would hear my dad talk about the African American race in a degrading, disapproving manner. I was fortunate enough to have parents that let me watch the series “Roots” when I was seven. Some people saw the popularity of this series as proof that Americans were starting to sympathize with the African-American culture and their history (Davidson & et al., 2008).
From that point on, I was curious about how we as human beings could treat another human being so destructively. Bound and determined not to repeat history, I set out at a young age to never take to heart the opinions of others before I see for myself. I wanted to study and learn as much about history in our country, so I could develop my own opinion on who I am and who I wanted to become.
When I moved to Texas at the young age of twenty, I was thankful that I had done my research and paid attention to my teachers in history class. I went from a small town with little exposure to African Americans and their culture, to working construction in the streets of Stop Six on the Eastside and Como on the Westside of Fort Worth,...