What are some of the main cultures of African Americans?

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Jessica Pope eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The question of whether or not African-Americans have a unique, distinct, and identifiable culture is controversial. Some scholars theorize an Afrocentric theory of culture. Dr. Molefi K. Asante, professor of African-American studies at Temple University, is a pioneer of the Afrocentric theory of culture. He argues that African-Americans share a culture that is distinct from -- and in some ways oppositional to -- Euro-American culture. Other scholars believe that all Americans share a distinctly American national culture in which racial identity is not a significant determining factor.

Despite the controversial nature of the claim of African American culture, most people agree that certain subcultures birthed within the African-American community are important. The sub-culture of hip-hop, for example, has been an important factor in the development of American music, and has been influential in terms of American politics and social movement.

The African-American church has been extremely critical to American social and political development, particularly in the era of the Civil Rights movement. The African-American church continues to influence American politics and also serves as a strong system of support and community for many African-Americans.

Other subcultures include African-American academia, the African-American activist community, and African-American youth culture. Each of these subcultures provides various outlets for the expression of identity, ideology, and belonging.