Survival Strategies What are the signs of strength and persistence of survival strategies that African Americans have adopted in countering social and economic challenges? Some of the social and...
What are the signs of strength and persistence of survival strategies that African Americans have adopted in countering social and economic challenges?
Some of the social and economic challenges I am interested in are racism, HIV/Aids, rising unemployment, inequities in the US justice system, and health disparities.
One of the survival strategies emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and still has ramifications today. It was the movement for black nationalism, or "black power." African-Americans became convinced that they could not obtain true equality through the gradualism of the civil rights movement, and encouraged community solidarity, especially in northern cities. The extent to which these approaches have persisted can be seen in the name "African-American" itself-it connotes a multiculturalist approach rather than assimilation.
In recent years, African-Americans have largely fought inequalities through raising awareness through media channels. Activists like Jesse Jackson use their national notoriety to draw attention to examples of racial inquality or injustice. The recent Trayvon Martin shooting case is the latest example of this phenomenon.
While not easily quantifiable, I think African Americans have combated inequities in the US justice system by bringing national awareness to those issues through the media. The Trayvon Martin case is just the latest example in a long line of problems that would have likely been swept under the rug if not for the outcry of people due to media coverage. Instead of being hidden away; however, George Zimmerman has been charged with second degree murder. I really doubt this happens without the "media mobilization" employed by leaders in the African American community.
African-Americans have long recognized the need for education as a survival strategy and a path to economic success. Organizations like the United Negro College and black colleges founded in response to the Morrill Act of 1890 helped clear the way for blacks to pursue high-quality educations long before desegregation went into effect. This equipped African Americans to rise to positions of wealth and political importance in the US, creating a more positive experience for successive generations.
The black church remains the biggest sign of strength and persistence within the black community. This has a lot more to do with the black community as a whole than the actions of individual "leaders" such as Jackson or Al Sharpton. The church is the main line of black self-help.
I did not really consider either number four or number five when I answered this question, but I think both answers are very insightful and absolutely correct. As a teacher I have seen both strategies used frequently.
Certain living arrangements might fit the description of survivial strageties. Moving in with extended family happens in many cultures, including African American cultures, as an economic choice.