Black social movements Essay

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Black social movements Essay
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  • University/College:
    University of Arkansas System

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Words: 1237

  • Pages: 5

Black social movements

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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Black Social Movements Essay

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Black Social Movements Essay
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  • University/College:
    University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Words: 1282

  • Pages: 5

Black Social Movements

The political and social structure of the United States can be difficult to comprehend. How does one rationalize that in 1776, America declared its independence from England by stating, in part that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness,” yet, in 1818, in the very same country, Frederick Douglass is born a slave? (Jefferson, 2004 p. 612; Library). It appears that under certain circumstances, it is not self-evident that the Right to Liberty is unalienable.

Fortunately, America has progressed, and while it would be difficult to support the position that Blacks have arrived at a point of complete equity with Whites, it is safe to say that giant strides have been made, but these strides have required action in the form of organized social movements. Blumer (1939) stated that “social movements can be viewed as collective enterprises to establish a new order of life. They have their inception in the condition of unrest, and derive their motive power on one hand from dissatisfaction with the current form of life, and on the other hand, from wishes and hopes for a new scheme or system of living” (p.

199). This analysis captures the meaning and significance of today’s Black social movements: that while the Black community now enjoys an increased equality and level of privilege when compared with what it was allowed in the recent past, there remains significant ground to be covered before true parity can be reached. The awareness of this need within the Black community has created both unrest and dissatisfaction, but past successes in the fight for social equality have nurtured a desire for even more change.

One of the most influential areas of modern, American society is the media—specifically television—and it is here that an important social movement can be traced: the increased inclusion of Blacks on T. V. During the 1950’s, shows like I Love Lucy, The Honeymooners, and Dick Clark’s American Bandstand all premiered (List of years in television). Each of these shows featured characters and storylines that dealt with an America that was portrayed as White.

Moving into the 1960’s, a time of great advances in the Nation’s struggle for racial equality, the television fare featured the premier of The Dick Van Dyke Show, Green Acres, and the original Star Trek (List of years in television). This decade’s entertainment also featured a predominantly White world-view; however, Star Trek’s promise “to go where no man has gone before” was as much a testament to the people, issues, and possibilities that were at the forefront of social improvement as it was a reference to space travel (Star Trek: The Original Series).

To the credit of Star Trek’s creator, Gene Roddenberry, his multi-racial, multi-gender crew, included Nichelle Nichols as Lieutenant Uhura, a stunning, articulate, high-ranking, black woman whose role it was to keep lines of communication open. This was a step in the right direction for Blacks as it allowed White America to absorb a new concept: Blacks are intelligent, responsible, and worthy of authority; they do not exist merely to dust, clear tables, and act as the butt of jokes.

Currently, the face of television has become far more diverse, and there are networks such as BET (Black Entertainment Television) that cater to and feature Blacks. It is my belief that the change that has taken place in television media over the last half-century can be attributed to the increased awareness of those who once had sole control of the medium (Whites), coupled with the increase in buying power of Blacks, and the desire on the part of Blacks to assume command of part of television (e. g. BET).

The fact that Blacks desire greater representation and control within television media is part of the ongoing, modern social movement towards equality that the Black community embraces. What does this all mean? Primarily, it means that social changes come about slowly, pushed by two forces: natural social change, and active social movements. It was natural that at some point someone would include a character like Lieutenant Uhura in a series, but along with this natural progression, more action was needed.

There was only one Uhura on television, but there were thousands of Black women like her out in the world. This is why networks such as BET are so important: they represent an active social movement in the Black community; an insistence that part of the focus, part of the power, and part of the control be in the hands of Blacks. It may be true that our Nation’s Declaration of Independence seemed to say one thing but represent another; however, Frederick Douglass survived the mixed message and went on to contribute significantly to American history and ideals.

Today’s Blacks are aware of a truth Douglass understood: that to make strides, one must work within the framework of the majority, while never doubting the singular strength of an individual’s effect on a nation. Without the early encouragement of his Master’s wife, Douglass may not have been introduced to the desire to learn, but that desire led Douglass to greater pursuits (Douglass, 2004, pp. 62-65).

The Black community is now represented in local, state, and federal government: a sign that the community is working individually (i. e. running and voting), and within the framework of the majority (i. e. the established government and its rules) to improve its position within the United States of America. Schools are filled with a variety of ethnicities, both in front of the classroom and seated within it, and Blacks are embracing the need to educate themselves to ensure better jobs, financial success, and future opportunities.

Essentially, the focus of today’s Black social movements can be viewed as those actions that fall within the context of the majority’s framework and are designed to allow members of the Black community greater parity within this frameowrk. At the same time, these actions are being encouraged and supported on an individual by individual basis, so that the overall strength of each person can be added to the collective, and both might benefit from natural social change as well as active social movements. References Blumer, H. (1939).

Collective behavior. In R. E. Park (Ed. ), An outline f the principles of Sociology. (pp. 199). New York, NY: Barnes and Noble. Douglass, F. (2004). Learning to read and write. In Comley, N. , Hamilto, D. , Klaus, C. H. , Scholes, R. , & Sommers, N. (Eds. ), Fields of reading: motives for writing. (pp. 62-66). Boston, Mass. : Bedford. Jefferson, T. (2004). The Declaration of Independence. In Comley, N. , Hamilto, D. , Klaus, C. H. , Scholes, R. , & Sommers, N. (Eds. ), Fields of reading: motives for writing. (pp. 612-615). Boston, Mass.

: Bedford. Library of Congress, The. The Frederick Douglass papers. Timeline. Retrieved September 12, 2006, from http://rs6. loc. gov/ammem/doughtml/timeline. html. List of years in television. (2006, September 11). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved September 12, 2006, from http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/ List_of_years_in_television. Star Trek: The Original Series. (2006, September 11). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved September 12, 2006, from http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/ Star_Trek:_The_Original_Series.

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