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If Africans were Europeanized through slavery, to what extent were European colonists...

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jakande | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted March 19, 2013 at 1:04 AM via web

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If Africans were Europeanized through slavery, to what extent were European colonists Africanized?


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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 19, 2013 at 1:25 AM (Answer #1)

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It is clearly true that African slaves were Europeanized to a great degree.  They typically learned to speak English and became Christian.  Their descendants born in the New World were born into a society dominated by Europeans.  However, the African slaves also had an impact on white society, even if it was not as great as white society’s impact on them.

Slaves, of course, often cooked for their masters.  This meant that African cooking influenced the food culture of the South.  African Americans are given credit for introducing such things as fried chicken, barbeque, and collard and mustard greens into the Southern diet.  They are credited with making Southern food more highly spiced than food from other places.

The slaves also had a great influence on music and dance in the South.  For example, the banjo is an instrument that was developed from an African musical instrument.  When playing European instruments, black musicians also inserted aspects of their own native musical tradition.  African dance styles also influenced the whites who saw them performed.

Blacks also Africanized their masters in other ways.  The fact that many plantation children were raised by black caregivers had an influence on their speech patterns, for example.  Some linguists believe that the Southern way of speaking was heavily influenced by African speech patterns.

Thus, Africans had a strong influence on European colonists even if the reverse influence was more obvious and more prevalent.

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