Exploring hatred, inequality, and powerlessness with campaigns

Exploring
the connections between culture and power is essential to understanding the
complexity of today’s culture. The importance between the relationship of
culture and power can be understood by the past historical events that have
influenced the acculturation and integration of the current culture of African
American, American Indians, and Hispanic American in the United States.

The
Bourdieu’s concept theory seeks to show how social agents develop strategies
which are adapted to the needs of the social worlds that they inhabit. Culture
is defined as the norms or socially acceptable behaviors that are learned and
found in society. The French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu sought to explain how
the deeply ingrained habits, skills, and dispositions that we possess due to
our life experiences guide our behavior and way of thinking. Culture is thought
to be constantly changing and evolving and is a social rather than an
individual process.

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We
came into this world as a blank slate without a language, values or morality.
We were born with no concept of hate, religion, love, race, or social class,
without any of the essential orientations that influence and help determine the
type of people we will be. Contact with others allows us to learn how to be
members of a community and capacitate us to become participants in our society.

African
American history is marked by segregation, exploitation, and abuse. However,
African American citizens have fought to overcome hatred, inequality, and
powerlessness with campaigns such as the Civil Rights Movement. They were
shipped to America, singled out by others in society, and treated unequally because
of differences in their physical and cultural characteristics. They encompass a
large diverse range of cultures from countries in Africa. However, they share a
history of enslavement and racial oppression (I don’t understand this sentence-
however, who shares it?).

African
Americans have their own history centering on their experience of slavery and
exposure to laws such as Jim Crow Law and De Jure Segregation which aimed to
exclude them from opportunities and privileges freely granted to the whites.
The African culture that is present in America is rich and distinctive and
shares a cultural pattern of music and dance, language, cultural practices and
self-expression which may have stemmed from their difficult past and the
struggle for survival.

African
Americans were influenced by the American-European and African Culture as they
interacted under slavery. But there are many features and characteristics of
African American culture that set them apart. Their common experience as slaves
in America served as the foundation for their cultural value system. This
system of values has been handed down from Africans to their American-born
offspring. They were once excluded from White society and institutions so they
developed institutions that served their specific needs.

African
American culture and language has been largely eradicated and this is mainly
due to the fact that as slaves in the U.S they had few opportunities to
preserve their heritage and native language, therefore, they acculturated
quickly. However, as segregation laws changed, the African American community
had more autonomy to create a new distinct culture. Because they were brought in from a
different country and had been enslaved for so long, they lost their native customs,
had no homeland to return to, and no native language which remained. These
individuals are not completely
integrated into the areas of residential, job and educational opportunities due
to discrimination and racial stigma that still hinder them from reaching their
full potential.

American
Indians were the first to immigrate to America. They had a culture rich in
values such as sharing and cooperation. They lived in peace until the Europeans
began to immigrate to the United States. As the Europeans colonized the
Americas they pushed the American Indians off of their land and forced them
into reservations. While in these reservations, the American Indians were
subject to coercive acculturation and boarding schools that aimed to eliminate
their language, religion, institution and unique culture. They were forced to
live in conditions that were unequal and offered poor education, jobs, and
inadequate healthcare.

American
Indians survived the forced acculturation set upon them and resisted the coerced
Americanization. In some ways, the American Indians had to make adjustments and
follow the changes that were imposed for the sake of their survival. However,
they were not fully acculturated and managed to keep many of their original
language and culture elements. After the failed acculturation attempt on the
American Indians, the Indian Reorganization Act was implemented to restore to
Indians the management of their land and included provisions intended to create
a sound economic foundation for the inhabitants of the reservations.
Furthermore,
discrimination against American Indians is still present but not as publicly
expressed as in the past. The main reason why American Indian problems still
persist is due mostly because of the indifference among other people, such as
other citizens who only have a vague understanding of the difficulties they are
facing.

 

Hispanic American constitutes
a large number of the present Unites States population. They have been
migrating from places such as Mexico, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. There is a
cultural difference between the Hispanic American communities. Cubans that
enter the United States come from a Spanish speaking country and they seem to
settle in and adjust to the American way of life quite easily. They do keep
much of their traditions and pass these customs on to their children.

The Mexican population
in the United States consists primarily of those that have entered the country
illegally. The fact of entering illegally has caused a huge strain on the
Mexican American community because even if they are born here they are still
labeled as illegal aliens. The acculturation process of this population has
been slow and they tend to keep their language, religion, and customs, which
they then pass on to their children. In the labor force, Mexican American are
marked due to their cultural and racial differences which makes them more
susceptible to exploitation. Due to their low level of education, they are
usually seen working in the farm and construction industry.

The Puerto Rican
community is somewhat different than the other Hispanic American communities
due to their dual citizenship. Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States
and its inhabitants are legal U.S citizens. The primary language in the island
is Spanish, however, the second language spoken there is English. The lower
rank status of Puerto Ricans is seen in the occupational, educational and
residential opportunities. They also have a hard time climbing the corporate
ladder. Because of the linguistic and cultural differences in their culture,
Puerto Ricans are seen as immigrants and are not considered as part of the
melting pot.

As we begin the 21st
century, the dilemmas of America’s minority groups remain perhaps the primary
unresolved domestic issue facing the nation. America is seen as a country that
offers equal opportunity to all and minority groups are thought to lack success
because they are not trying hard enough. This false notion blurs the real issue
of inequality in American and blames the problemed group as the issue and not
society.