Posted: November 25th, 2022

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(1) There are various interpretations of the meaning of culture, just as there are many facets associated with culture. When considering culture from a sociological viewpoint, it encompasses the shared values, beliefs, languages, communication and practices of a group or geographical area. While there are various elements associated with culture, most individuals typically associate themselves with a particular culture. For instance, those of us who live in the United States often identify themselves as being a part of Weston Culture, while those who live in certain geographic regions identify themselves as being a part of that culture, such as southern culture, which is associated with those who live in the southeast region of the country. There are others who associate culture with ethnicity, such as those who identify themselves as being a part of African American culture.

As a black American, I identify myself as being a part of African American culture in certain aspects. One of the internal characteristics associated with African American culture is the general mistrust of Caucasians, which is held by many who identify as members of this cultural group. This internal characteristic may be a result of the history of conflict and social injustice between the two groups. While this internal characteristic is not visible, it is often internalized subconsciously.

Religion and spirituality are often an external characteristic associated with many who identify themselves as being a part of African American culture. Many African American’s are very open with their religious and cultural beliefs, and often make this a weekly priority. According to the Pew Research Center, 79% of African Americans identify themselves as having religious affiliation, which is higher than other groups in America (Masci, 2018).

There are various social and cultural norm norms which tend to be adhered to by many who identify as being a part of African American culture. “Social and cultural norms are rules or expectations of behavior and thoughts based on shared beliefs within a specific cultural or social group. While often unspoken, norms offer social standards for appropriate and inappropriate behavior that govern what is (and is not) acceptable in interactions among people” (“Addressing the Social and Cultural Norms,” 2018). One of the cultural norms of African American culture is that adult men should marry and have a family. Those that do not adhere to this cultural norm are often looked upon critically, and in many instances are stigmatized, and stereotyped. I would argue that this cultural norm produces negative effects, which in many instances results in individuals disclosing their true identify in order to fit into their respective group.

While my perspective leaves room for argue, I assert that the cultural norm I have mentioned, may be a reason as to why HIV rates are higher among African American males. “Despite the fact that men who have sex with men (MSM) comprise <5% of the male U.S. population, 57% of all new HIV diagnoses in the U.S. occurred in MSM in 20071–3. Among MSM, HIV disproportionately affects African Americans. African Americans comprise approximately 13% of the total U.S. population and nearly an identical proportion of MSM in the General Social Survey (GSS)" (Glick & Golden, 2010). I am essentially arguing that some cultural norms produce adverse effects on members of a particular group.

(2) Like diversity, culture has many dimensions. The concept of culture is a social observable occurrence. “It is often passed from one generation to another and influenced and reshaped by contemporary economic, political, and social shifts” (Kahn, 2015 Ch. 2.1). I would define culture as the way of life of individuals of a particular group. Various ways to consider culture includes religion, language, values, and morals. Art, cuisine, music, and social habits are all characteristics of a particular group of people.

African American culture is the culture that I identify myself to the most. Internal and external characteristics of African American culture has been shown through clothing, language, arts and crafts, music, and cuisine. “Because culture encompasses both tangible and intangible aspects of a society, that society’s political, legal, economic, religious, social, and educational institutions affect it’s culture as well” (Kahn, 2015 Ch. 2.2) Stereotypes that are connected to African American culture are being carriers of all kinds of different diseases.

Although African Americans were considered to be carriers of all kinds of diseases, they were still told to cook food for people to eat. Today, a lot of African Americans are targeted, killed, put in jail, or arrested more than any other race. Some African Americans, male and female are in jail for crimes that they didn’t do due to a person with power being a stereotype. Many African Americans still have a hard time in the world we live in today, other cultures also have a hard time with stereotypes in America today. I must say that I have to thank my mother for raising me to be friends with everyone no matter what a person looks like or the color of their skin.

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