african definition essay

Submitted By Samuel-Otuwa
Words: 1606
Pages: 7

Samuel Otuwa
Africana Studies

Definition Essay

Racial issues among blacks have long been a blatant circumstance of the American experience. Such circumstances range of the horrible realities of African enslavement in the 1700s to the restrictions on human rights such as unfair practices such as literacy tests before being permitted to housing and voting in the 1950s. Fast forward to modern day, and the progress that blacks have initiated in America is evident through legislation like the Voting Rights and Civil Rights Act. Both are pieces of legislation which stemmed from the Civil Rights Movement. Despite the advancement, the repercussions of such mistreatment of blacks by whites are still in effect today. The issue of “internalized racism” comes in part from the pressure of white society wanting blacks to be a “model minority,” while in fact the institution of white society are the ones in “denial” of the ongoing problems that make blacks feel they should not be the “model.” All the terms have derivative complexes from the mistreatment of backs in America. Each term will be defined in context of the paper’s background of black America, as well as analyzed and interconnected with each other term through factual justification attained from a historical basis. The term internalized racism refers to the negative, condescending racial viewpoints that blacks have towards other blacks. Viewpoints such as seeing your own race as lesser than another race, not wanting to be of your own race, and wishing other people in your race were not associated with you are all forms of internalized racism. Internalized racism is in fact an aftermath of white oppression on black Americans that stemmed from racist ideologies of white supremacy. White supremacy is the belief, theory, or doctrine that white people are inherently superior to people from all other racial groups, especially black people, and are therefore rightfully the dominant group in any society. For hundreds of years, blacks were told that they were not equal to their white counterparts. They were told that having “dark skin was a mutation, and were made lower in society” (Smedley 59). These observations, as we know today, are completely absurd. However, such remarks were made and carried on for so long, and even acted on by white authority during periods of slavery where “lighter skinned Africans did not have to engage in harsher labor tasks as darker skinned Africans”(Colorism 1). Plus, majorities of American Congress agreed to the degrading of blacks with Jim Crow Laws and voting laws. Therefore, it is reasonable to see the internalized racism of blacks in previous generations where they would believe that they are not equal to whites or that their darker skin is a mistake. Furthermore, such ideologies from white society carried on in post-slavery eras such as the Industrial Revolution where blacks with lighter skin were more acceptable in society. Therefore, within black communities having fairer skin was seen as a positive physical attribute rather than having darker skin. This colorism among blacks was another form of internalized racism. Also, due to white supremacy, the “black” way of speaking which was primarily through ebonics was seen as uneducated. Therefore, in many Black communities internalized racism would arise when one spoke “white” because other members of the community would frown upon that and assume you were trying to be “white.” The term model minority refers to the “proper” manner in which white society believes blacks should behave. Factors such as dialect, culture, and behavior are all effected under the model minority. The “proper” manner that white society believes blacks should engage in terms of this paper is a manner in which they “keep to themselves, don’t initiate any political change for the betterment of their race, speak without the use of ebonics, etc” (Model Minority). Basically the culture that derived from white