Everywhere you go, you can see snatches of our lifestyles. Trends that whitesoriginally wanted no part of are now being reproduced at alarming rates. Hip hopartists sell more albums through their white fan bases than through black fans.
Unfortunately, from what mainstream America sees, and consequently the rest ofthe world, black culture is no more than foul-mouthed thugs, poor, singlemothers and booty shaking. While white America may have taken a liking to themost superficial aspects of black culture, they have yet to understand andaccept the deeper, more complex facets.
The black American culture, like any other culture, draws extensively from thepast. Trendy traditions like cornrows and hoop earrings date as far back as ourpre-slavery days in Africa. More recent traditions such as Kwanzaa and MartinLuther King, Jr. Day offer opportunities for black Americans to celebrate aheritage mainstream America doesn’t recognize.
Contrary to popular beliefs, not all black men are athletes, rappers and drugdealers. True, we have our fair share of each of these, but no more than ourwhite counterparts. Even if our surgeons, mayors and entrepreneurs arenonexistent on TV, they do exist.
Statisticians love pointing out the apparent collapse of the black family,noting how many of us are raised by grandparents and other older, extendedfamily members. They neglect, of course, to analyze the many cultural lessons welearn from their presences in our lives. Without the elders in our families, whowould know the recipe for candied yams? How can we be proud of where we’re goingif they didn’t tell us where they had been?
Despite the negative views from people who don’t understand it, the culture ofblack America will continue to evolve. Through the successes of black graduates,the election of more blacks to higher political positions and the philanthropicsupport of black artists, filmmakers and business owners, we can change the faceof our culture as it’s seen by the world.
Marie Frasier, 20, is a junior English education student from Columbus, Ohio.She is the Opinions Editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.