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The history of African Americans can be traced back to the times of the slave trade. During this time, many Africans were being sold and taken to different destinations for forced labour. When the slave trade was eventually declared illegal in the mid of the nineteenth century, some of the freed slaves returned to Africa while the majority were left in the Southern parts of America. Those who were left faced racial discrimination by the white Americans who perceived that their race was superior. This led to massive migration from the South to the North and West where there were more opportunities and racial tolerance. However, this was not the case because soon after migration, there was conflict of interests between the white Americans and the blacks with the position of the African Americans being the subject of the matter.
Significance of the Study of African Americans History
Understanding one's cultural identity is crucial in the development of skills of African American students because it generates self belief and confidence (Bakari, 1997). The study will help to trace the background and identity of the African Americans especially because they were considered to be primitive and not having fully evolved. The black Americans were therefore considered to be inferior (Schultz, S.K. 1999). It is noteworthy that African Americans who were taught about historical racism were fairer in racial relations than those who were not. The African Americans also developed a more positive attitude after the lesson (Bigler, 2007).
The Study of American History
Most American history books do not include the history of the minority groups or those people who were oppressed and discriminated in an attempt to cover up what had happened. Other authors thought that the content was not worth mentioning. Many African Americans thought that for fairness and balance in the studies, it was good to include the history of their culture in the books. They therefore started their own schools where they included their culture.(Ransome, C. L. U. 2000).
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How Lack of Cultural Identity Affects African Americans
Lack of cultural identity among African American students makes them feel isolated when studying in institutions dominated largely by white American students. A student who feels discriminated on the basis of his or her race is more likely to move away from such an institution especially if the institution does not provide for cultural diversity programs. A student is also likely to develop a positive attitude if he feels that other people appreciate his culture (Bakari, 1997).
How the Obama Presidency has changed the Perception
Many people believe that the election of Obama is a sign of development towards ethnic equality and racial tolerance. This is because the electorate put their racial differences apart and together as one in the history of America, they elected the first African American president. The election of Obama is also perceived as a way of encouraging other African Americans to develop their careers. The election of Obama has also opened opportunities for African Americans to participate in national politics regardless of their race (Hunt, & Wilson, 2009).
Understanding one's cultural background is significant to the development of racial equality and promoting racial tolerance between different groups of people. Achievements of human beings should not be gauged on the basis of somebody's race because the potential of human beings is not dependent on one's race. Discriminating and treating human beings differently on the basis of one's race makes that person feel alienated and isolated. Many African Americans have accomplished many great things which show that there is no race which is superior to the other. That perception should therefore be cleared.
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