African American Culture and Heritage in Higher Education Research and Practice

By Kassie Freeman | Go to book overview

in terms of other people does the individual become conscious of his or her own being ( Bennett, 1982, 1993; Holloway, 1990; Mbiti, 1970; Nobles, 1991a, 1991b; Stuckey, 1987).

This philosophical system, commonly referred to as African philosophy, can be defined as "understanding, attitude of mind, logic and perception behind the manner in which African peoples think, act, or speak in different situations of life" ( Mbiti, 1970, p. 5). Nobles ( 1991a) relates Mbiti's definition of African philosophy to the spiritual disposition of a people or "collective consciousness" in which "the decisions and judgments made, values adopted, culture practiced, and the aesthetic forms created are all under the control of the human brain" ( Holloway, 1987, p. 108). Mbiti ( 1970) argues that the collective consciousness ultimately "defines the social behavior a people will express in common--their cultural configuration ( Nobles, 1991a, p. 56). Therefore, the set of guiding beliefs common to the African philosophical orientations (i.e., "unity," "one with nature," and "survival of the people") must be understood in relationship to the African peoples and their environment ( Hatch, 1973; Herskovits, 1948; Nobles, 1991a).

African American culture cannot simply be defined by retained cultural artifacts but must also be defined by the philosophical-psychological linkages between Africans and Africanized Americans ( Asante, 1987; Baldwin, 1991; Bennett, 1982, 1993; Holloway, 1990; Mbiti, 1970; Nobles, 1991a, 1991b; Stuckey, 1987). In other words, "culture is at once both socially constituted (it is a product of present and past activity) and socially constitutive (it is part of the meaningful context in which activity takes place)" ( Roseberry, 1994, p. 42).


REFERENCES

Asante M. K. ( 1987). The Afrocentric idea. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Baldwin J. ( 1991). "The Black self-hatred paradigm revisited: An Afrocentric analysis". In R. Jones (Ed.), Black psychology (n.p.). Berkeley, CA: Cobb & Henry.

Bennett L. Jr. ( 1982). Before the Mayflower: A history of Black America. New York: Penguin Books.

Bennett L. ( 1993). The shaping of Black America. New York: Penguin Books.

Giddings P. ( 1984). When and where I enter: The impact of Black women on race and sex in America. New York: Bantam Books.

Hatch E. ( 1973). Theories of man and culture. New York: Columbia University Press.

Herskovits M. J. ( 1938). Acculturation the study of culture contact. New York: J. J. Augustine.

Herskovits M. J. ( 1948). Man and his works: The science of cultural anthropology. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Holloway J. E. ( 1990). Africanisms in American culture. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Mbiti J. S. ( 1970). African religions and philosophies. Garden City, NY: Anchor Books.

Nobles W. W. ( 1991a). "African philosophy: Foundations for Black psychology". In R. Jones (Ed.), Black psychology (pp. 47-57). Berkeley, CA: Cobb & Henry.

Nobles W. W. ( 1991b). "Extended self: Rethinking the so-called negro self-concept". In R. Jones (Ed.), Black psychology (pp. 295-304). Berkeley, CA: Cobb & Henry.

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