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Black social movements Essay

Race is used by social scientists to refer to distinctions drawn from physical appearance (skin color, eye shape, physiognomy), and ethnicity is used to refer to distinctions based on national origin, language, religion, food, and other cultural markers. “Race has a quasi-biological status and among psychologists, the use of race terminology is hotly debated In the United States, race is also a socially defined, politically oppressive categorization scheme that individuals must negotiate while creating their identities. ” (Frable , 1997, 139)

Before the Black Power Phase of the Black Social Movement, blacks displayed a decidedly dualistic worldview. After 1968, a trend toward a black perspective, which is almost as significant as the dualistic frame, becomes apparent. A reactionary, extreme pro white position is seldom advocated: The dualistic, integrationist ethic was perhaps stronger in the past than it is today, although it is probably still the dominant ideology among blacks. Finally, over the past 25+ years, a nationalistic black oriented ideology has become increasingly important in discussions of black affairs.

The racial and ethnic identity terms are often used inappropriately in psychology. While black immigrants to the United States may have a racial identity as black, their ethnic identity reflects their country of origin; racial identity is much more likely to be problematic in the United States than ethnic identity. Whether a researcher assesses racial identity, ethnic identity, or some combination may only be clear after reading the Methods section of their report. EVIDENCE OF IDENTITY CHANGE: 1968-PRESENT

The Black Social Movement had two phases: (1) the Civil Rights Phase, which lasted from 1954-1967 and (2) the Black Power Phase, which began to take hold from 1965-1967. (See Exhibit 1) 118 or 73% were conducted during the period 1968-1977. Of these, 22 (19%) were Black group oriented, 84 (71%) were personal self-worth related and 12 (10%) applied personal self-worth and Black group oriented measures on the same sample. A significant number of both Black group and personal self-worth studies from this period show blacks with an increased in-group orientation and adequate to above average levels of self-esteem.

(Allen et al, pg. 161)The Black Movement has increased the probability that more blacks will superimpose a black orientation upon a greater variety of situations. As a perspective, the extent to which the world view of the mainstream group (Americanism) has been internalized by a Black person is not one of self-rejection as it was in the past. As a result, some 20 years later and as a side product of the mind set change, Hip-hop (music) was created in the mid-seventies as black social movements began to take less noticeable role in the African-American communities and mainstream media, and replaced by electoral politics.

“It has deep sixties cultural and political roots; Gil Scott-Heron and The Last Poets are considered the forebears of rap. But once the institutions that supported radical movements collapsed or turned their attention elsewhere, the seeds of hip- hop were left to germinate in American society at large-fed by its materialism, misogyny and a new, more insidious kind of state violence. ” (Ards, 1999, p. 11) This suggests racial motivation impetus more of a political-cultural propensity rather than a psychological trait.

All along, even during the racial segregation and Jim Crow, Blacks have consistently had a high sense of personal worth. The Black Movement probably had a less dramatic effect on the personal identity as opposed to the reference group orientation of black people as whole. Blacks have had, and continue to have, a multifaceted reference group orientation that determine behavior depending upon the situation being confronted. BLACK ELITE LIBERAL CONCEPT “Is this America? Land of the Free and Home of the Brave?

” Fannie Lou Hamer’s question still rivets attention, for it is at once radical and conservative, communitarian and individualistic, a plaintive cry and a hardened protest, fiercely American and defiant of America. (Robinson, 1997, p. 179) While not a new paradigm in and of itself (and while certainly reductionist), Cedric J. Robinson, in Black Movement in America, calls for framework forces one to consider social movements. He points out that the very success of black activism during the Civil War would point the way toward future divisions within black political culture.

Both free black leaders and the masses of Southern slaves who rebelled against their masters turned a white war into a battle over slavery and racial injustice. (Newman, 1999, 683) Slavery’s destruction, ironically, removed a common focus of protest, and more importantly, enticed certain “black elites” to accept the “liberal concept” of changing American political culture by trying to join it and reform it from within. These elite representatives were “largely irrelevant” in Robinson’s eyes, for the black masses focused on community-building and autonomy (Robinson, 1997, p. 92).

The black social movements of the 60’s and 70’s single indicator of common social beliefs may simply be related with other dimensions and intangibles yet to be discovered or even recognized. In brief, due to the impact of during the ten to fifteen year span, black consciousness and awareness had become so pervasive throughout the black population that by the late seventies…” a single item tapping common-fate solidarity was adequate to capture a fully politicized sense of group consciousness. Of course, other changes in the political landscape may also contribute to such a shift.

For instance, collective political efficacy among black Americans may have been enhanced by the growing number of black elected officials. ” (Bobo & Gilliam 1990) A generation has almost passed since the social activisms of the late 50’s and upheaval turbulent 60s and birth of modern day public black social movement. There are now thousands of black elected and appointed officials throughout the United States. Southern presidents have been elected to the White House since 1976, both of whom received the overwhelming support of the African American electorate.

A great deal of literature has been devoted to the position that Black working people and the poor challenged the “system” by establishing, ad hoc or organized significant black social movements that were rooted simultaneously in a political and social tempest. However, thus knowing that a person has a strong black identity will not inform the listener about the nature of his/her personal identity; however, it gives considerable insight into the person’s value system, political posture, and cultural stance. REFERENCE(S) Deborrah E.

S. Frable , 1997, Article Title: Gender, Racial Ethnic, Sexual andClass Identities. Journal Title: Annual Review of Psychology. Volume: 48. Page Number: 139+. Angela Ards, 1999, Organizing the Hip-Hop Generation. Magazine Title: The Nation. Volume: 269. Issue: 4. Publication Date: July 26,1999 Page Number: 11. Cedric J. Robinson, 1997, Black Movements in America. (New York: Routledge,. p. 179, 92 ) Rich Newman, 1999, Black Movements in America. Journal Title: The Historian. Volume: 61. Issue: 3. Publication Page Number: 683.

Walter Recharde Allen, Geraldine Kearse Brookins, Margaret Beale Spencer,1985, Beginnings: The Social and Affective Development of Black Children. Publisher: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Place of Publication: Hillsdale, NJ. Bobo, Lawrence. 1988 “Attitudes Toward The Black Political Movement: Trends, Meaning, and Effects on Racial Policy Preferences. ” Social Psychology Quarterly 51:287-302. Gilliam, Franklin D. , and Kenny J. Whitby. 1989 . “Race, Class, and Attitudes Toward Social Welfare Spending: An Ethclass Interpretation. ” Social Science Quarterly 70:88-100.

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