Despite Gerald Early providing several arguments in the first part of the essay, he leaves them without response, giving slight disproof for them. In fact, the conclusion of the essay is built on the last argument, which is “the group memory of institutionalized racism”. However, neglecting the argument does not make it wrong automatically. That is why it seems reasonable to make an insight into the questions begged in the first part of an essay.
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“Do they have a need for a certain level of representation because they are a minority?”, asks Early. Joana Bordas, an author of Salsa, Soul, and Spirit: Leadership for a Multicultural Age, a fascinating book about communities of color within American society, pays much attention to the issues of individualism and collective identity. She gives a notion of collectivistic and individualistic cultures (not in political, but in psychological and social dimension), mentioning that communities of a color tend more to collectivistic culture, so-called We-culture. For these communities, being together was not only a peculiarity of culture, but also a means to survive. Thus, this sensation of integrity stays in the culture of modern Latino and African American communities:
Black people faced discrimination and racism by “sticking together… When walking into a room, although Black people may not know each other, they recognize they are related through a common history, faith, and culture (Bordas, 2007).
African Americans keep an ancient “ubuntu” principle, which says that everything an individual does, influences the whole community; they are the bearers of reconciliation spirit. It looks like, instead of criticizing and denying, it would be useful to consider these principles while developing modern management approaches in society.
Early mentions the role of famous African American sportsmen for the whole community. Bordas calls leaders of the communities of color “guardians of public values” and marks their extremely important role for the community’s integration and self-determination. Thus, the importance of leaders is defined by African American culture itself. Moreover, African American citizens struggled for the opportunity to take leading positions for a long time, that is why their successful representatives become heroes for them.
The author also rejects the assumption that a game is too slow for the African American. This seems also groundless, as different perceptions of time, space and velocity may also take place. History of African Americans tells about hard work, intensive physical activity, which is a reason for physical strength, endurance and quick reaction. Not accidentally, African Americans prefer football and basketball.
It is necessary to understand the difference between “similar” and united. White and black communities have different histories and different cultures, which inevitably influences their contemporary way of life. However, it is not necessary to be “similar” in the diverse society; it is sufficient to be “united”. And the key issue in uniting diversity is understanding.
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Understanding African American culture is a point of African American study. Today one can use a wide range of excellent sources in order to deepen personal notions of this wise culture.
The African American community carried on a centuries-old struggle for rights and opportunities similar to those of the white population. When it finally has reached what it wanted, it has indisputable right to chose, whether to use them or not. Rich and wise culture traditions are actively kept by African American citizens and define their modern preferences in everyday life. To have similar rights means not to visit the same sports games, but to be free in personal choice.
Juana Bordas. (2007). Salsa, soul, and spirit : Leadership for a multicultural age. San Francisco, Ca: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.