African-Jews in United States Cultural Analysis Essay
African-Jews in United States Cultural Analysis
African culture and the Jews cultural denominations have become prominent components of the society. Historical background illustrates the great attention that has been placed towards these two cultural origins. In this study, the cultural heritage analysis revolves under the African and Jewish background of an individual living in American culture. During the end of slavery and the start of migration of African blacks to Northern cities during 1940s, a well directed opposition has been initiated towards the black or African culture.
Meanwhile, on the same year, of World War II, Jews have also become the center of Germans’ racial spotlight. To start with, the mixture of two historically oppressed cultural origins becomes the main concern of this cultural heritage analysis, especially on how these individuals face under confrontation of culture from the American society. In overview of these cultural backgrounds mentioned, African American tradition has definitely become part of the progressing American culture with their vast contribution in the society of whites.
The heritage of black society has been acknowledged with oppressed perspectives from whites. In fact, according to Kivel (2002), the 1940 assault of White Americans towards the Black society is triggered by the White’s accusations of their culture being exploited by Black society (p. 133). The African culture has contributed significant appropriation of music (e. g. blues, jazz, rock and roll and rap), dance, fashion, and various elements of African style that eventually enriched White society.
Meanwhile, the cultural origin of Jews has solemnly relied on religious attachments and spiritual acknowledgements of monogamous worship. Ashkenazi Jews from Central and Eastern Europe comprise the most prominent cultural heritage of Jews in the United States. While those hybridized among African culture are considered the smallest population American Jews community. Mizrahi Jews or Mizrahim defines the mixture of Jewish and African/ Asian races. Most cultural practices of Mizrahi or African Jews originate more on the Jewish inclinations than the cultural blend.
The language being utilized is most of the time Judeo-Arabic, while the cultural practices are more inclined to spiritual Judaism. Besides the physical trademark of African heritage, African-Jewish families are most of the time recognized as sole Jewish unit. As for African Jews’ society, the racial component is very much disregarded through the equal distributions of rights and humanitarian appropriateness being rendered to every member of their pact. In sociological perspective, the merging of African and Jews culture is considered as the outcome of the historical 1960s Civil War against racial discrimination.
According to Mirzoeff (2002), African and Jewish cultures have generated a sense of cultural diaspora due to the hybridization of both discriminated cultural backgrounds (Anglo-Saxons versus Negros) (p. 206). Meanwhile, the structural and cultural differences between African and Jewish cultural backgrounds still manage to co-exist in a family setup. African-Jewish families usually center intense regards over spiritual and religious life. Despite of the vast differences on cultural setup, African Jew families still foster balanced patterns of relationships and way of life towards each conflicting cultural backgrounds (e.
g. Jewish’s Judaism and African’s Muslim inclinations) (Schellekens and Ansons, 2007 p. 56). The Condition of the Culture in the United States African-Jewish families are most of the time confronted by culturally-based conflicts due to wide differences on their beliefs and patterns of living. However, most families choose to surface their Jewish beliefs and traditions than the African backgrounds. African-Jewish families most of the time identify themselves as a branch of Jewish lineage with more inclination to Jewish practices, such as Judaism practices and strong familial ties.
According to Stasiulis and Davis (1995), Mizrahi Jews or African Jews comprises a small population among Jewish American society. Moreover, the identification this Jewish branch is most of the time less likely due to their close attachments to either American or Jewish patterns of living and cultural practices (p. 310). Mizrahi Jews are able to penetrate the American society in 1890s to 1960s though the vast waves of Jewish immigrants. Most Jewish migrations are brought by the massive Jewish persecutions of Germans during the World War II.
The widely recognized cultural diversities present in the United States and the country’s multi-cultural orientations have made the country the best possible Jewish settlements. African-Jews have been included in every major Jewish influx in the United States, and African introduction towards Jewish community has greatly expanded during the Jewish residency in United States. Meanwhile, due to the vast numbers of Jewish immigrant (approximated to be 5 million from European, Middle Eastern, and minority Jewish tribes) American society regarded their entry as an absolute threat to American cultural setup.
In addition, the racial civil war between Black and Whites was, at that time, intensively progressing with Whites claims of threats from Black community. Hence, the persecution against Jewish community increased, especially against the African-Jewish families. According to sociological analysts (Kraemer, 1999), the oppression against African-Jews was brought by the trademarks of African skin and the physical features embedded among these Jews (p. 134). Adding into the reasons of oppression against African-Jews are the religious traditions of Judaism from Jewish faith and the whites’ view of Jews as a threat to their society.
Judaism neglected Christ as the Messiah or the sent God, which gravely conflicted with the Christian faith of Americans. African-Jewish families were more inclined to Judaism practices, such as patriarchal family approach, strong familial ties, conservative positions of women, etc. , than the Islamic beliefs of their African lineage. According to Mirzoeff (2002), the zealousness of both cultural origins had become one of the most identified qualities among African Jews; hence, religion played as a significant structural core among these families (p. 205).
Meanwhile, in terms of gender orientations, African-Jews settle on absolute patriarchy wherein males are considered the top-most authority among other members of the family. Jewish patriarchy is far more recognized and evident than African way of familial authority, although African patterns of gender expression are still inclined under the same principle of patriarchy. According to Yosef (2004), men from Mizrahi tribes believed in the fantasy that patriarchy and phallocentricism might alleviate them from the discrimination or oppression imposed by the foreign society and other Jewish tribes (e.
g. Askenazi) (p. 98). In addition, the Judaism religion regarded the patriarchal position of their main religious persona, Moses, and the doctrines of the Old Testaments, which greatly contributed to their perspective of Men’s position in the society and the women’s roles to serve and obey their male counterparts. Society and the Cultural Heritage Oppression, discriminations and racial prejudices against African-Jewish origins were implicated not only by other foreign cultures, but also some of their tribe diversities.
From 1940s to 1970s, the societal dispositions of African-Jews or Mizrahi tribe were under the lower class of Jewish society. Jewish blend with African and/or Oriental traditions had cost these individuals the deprivation of their equal rights and position in the society, and even branded them as third-generation lower class. The past prevailing stereotypes of African and Jewish hybridization had considered these individuals as absolute abomination to cultural tradition of Jewish tribes. According to Mizrah and Rich (2003), Jews who married or at least had an affair with non-Jews were already neglecting the Jewish customs (p.
97). Ashkenazi Jews regarded Mizrahi tribes, especially the women, as lower Jewish tribes and eventually deprived them from acquiring equal rights and appropriate treatment from Jewish community. Meanwhile, the African component of Mizrahi Jews was confronted by whites’ discrimination of oppressive views. The stereotypes on African blacks as slaves to whites had affected the class placement of Africa-Jewish families within the American society as well as the Jewish community. African-Jewish setup of family is mostly inclined to patriarchy and orientalistic perspectives.
From the Jewish point of view, families are viewed as the key concept on the survival of their Judaism and for the passing of customs and core values from generation to generation. Jewish families consider the need of implementing a chain of Jewish marriages and procreation of Jewish children in order to ensure the survival of their cultural standards. According to Mizrah and Rich (2003), Jewish families tend to break off contact with family members who are perceived to have breached their commitment to the family harmony (p. 130). Meanwhile, African families consider the multi-extension of kinship.
The indigenous concept of African family involves the parents, children, grandparents, uncles, aunts, brothers and sisters and other immediate relatives. The evolution of the two cultural origins of Jews and African families is greatly influenced by their placement in their external society and their experiences of oppression and discrimination. African families are able to maintain their closeness due to the isolating treatment of whites against their community, while Jews are able to maintain the sanctity and purity of their religion through familial extensions.
From African-Jewish setup, the differences on religious beliefs are most of the time the major issue of differences. Most of the families settle this issue by having an agreement priori to marriage or at least by compromising to the beliefs of either. Lastly, from the personal point of view, such cultural setup is at risk of confronting vast issues of arguments due to differences and can be very difficult to maintain for both parties. When I was around 12 years old, I wanted to marry a person the same race as I am.
Still, that perspective remains unchanged since I believe that my life can be less complicated if my partner and I will have the same cultural backgrounds. With such perspective, I am confronted with one option of dating or mating someone who is with the same lineage as I am. Summary Document Overview of Cultural Heritage In the summary of the latter discussion, African-Jewish individuals are confronted with vast number of issues from their historical origin up to the present management of their own families.
Considering the historical point of view, African and Jewish community had all become victims of racial prejudices, discriminations and oppressive societal stereotypes. Such conditions had contributed to the emphasized oppression of African-Jewish families. • African families were discriminated by White society due to their intensive influence and modification on White cultural background. These contributions were mostly in the side of music, dances, fashion and social perspectives on Black community. • Jews were discriminated by German due to their racial background and the competition airing between these two cultures.
Meanwhile, the American society had also oppressed Jewish society upon their vast migration during the 1920s to 1960s. In addition, the Judaism of Jews conflicts with the Christianity beliefs of Americans. In terms of sexual orientations, the stand of patriarchy became the main point of similarity between the two cultural origins. The concept of family was greatly regarded and respected by both parties due to the belief of family as the core of the survival of their culture and religion. • Jewish families are very much consecrated and linked by their strong faith and zealous inclinations to Judaism.
Families are viewed as the key on preserving the Judaism and the lineage of Jewish customs; hence, Jewish families are strict in choosing their partners or mates. • African families are identified with their multi-extended family approach. The typical African family setup involves Grandparents, parents, children, aunts, uncles and other close relatives under one roof. African-Jewish families had learned to isolate their families from the external consorts of society. • Jews who had married non-Jews, such as Mizrahi Jews, were confronted by oppression of Ashkenazi Jews and other conservative tribes.
Mizrahi Jews and the traditional Jewish community usually transferred the Jewish faith and practices to their next lineage in order to maintain the strongholds of their Judaism and their customs and traditions. • African traditions had learned to conceal their interaction towards other cultural origin due to the massive discrimination and oppression implicated towards their race. References Kivel, P. (2002). Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice. New Society Publishers. Kraemer, D. (1999). The Jewish Family: Metaphor and Memory.
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