In this paper I will study African Americans as a minority group and their attitudes to the majority group, presented by white Americans. The United States of America consist of people of different nationalities, that is why it is called “a melting pot”. Ethnocentrism is still present in the American society despite multinational origin of the USA. The term “ethnocentrism” has a lot of interpretations, but they can be reduced to one meaning and it means to look down at people, who are different from you, and put your ethnic group in the center of the universe. Ethnocentrism leads to miscommunication, appearance of stereotypes and these factors have a serious damage on the cross-cultural communication. We Can Write Custom Term Papers on African Americans! In general, there is nothing bad in patriotism and good attitude to your motherland and people who inhabit it. These feelings are even laudable. Problems appear when this love to your country, people or social group is expressed by the prejudice of the others.
Unfortunately, distinction between true patriotism and ethnocentrism is very subtle and we can see poor consequences of the substitution of these notions on the example of Nazi terror. Ethnocentrism is a wrong way of thinking, as it creates false assumptions about the superiority of one group above all the others. Colonization of America started in the 17th century. A lot of people came here to find shelter and start a new life. Immigrants and slaves from different countries and various social backgrounds came to the land, which late got the name of the United States of America. Despite the fact that the United States of America was initially proclaimed as a country of liberty and equal opportunities from its very beginning, such shameful things as slavery and segregation were accepted in this country. America is a rather young country. Its written history is only a few hundred years old. It is still often called “The New World”.
America is known as the land of great opportunities and high level of development. America claims to fight for the democracy all over the world, though its history was the hotbed for the slavery. In this way, America has become one of few countries of the world, which made a great leap from slavery to democracy. However, in spite of democratic ideals, which made the basement of the American country, it turned to slavery. Slaves, brought from African continent, served as a cheap labor force in the newly created country. The physical labor of slaves was used by the most Southerners. That is why it was impossible to abandon slavery right at once. The changes of behavior of the slave owners did not happen until the end of the civil war. Founding Brothers had to make a difficult choice when they decided not to mention slavery issue in the Constitution. The issue of slavery became that compromise that gave Northern and Southern states an opportunity to agree on a federal government.
The year 1776 is the year of American Revolution and American Independence, The Revolutionary War is sometimes called “The Tobacco war”. “Newly arrived immigrants had found themselves perpetually in debt to British merchants; by 1776, growers owed the mercantile houses millions of pounds. British tobacco taxes were a further grievance” (Henretta 69). American citizens proved their right for economical and political freedom and put much effort to defend it. As a result of the impositions of the British, America showed that it was ready to fight for their independence and their freedom. Several years later the petition of Quakers had broken the silence when they addressed it to the new Congress. Quakers had raised the question of human liberty and equal rights and demanded the abolishment of the slavery institution. In 1866 Johnson, who supported the Southern leaders and the Congress which supported the interest of the African-Americans, withstood for the control of Reconstruction process.
Northern voters gave a smashing victory to the Radical Republicans in the Congress that gave the Congress a possibility to control the reconstruction. The Reconstruction Act was passed in 1867 that divided the states into five military districts. Each district was obliged to accept the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution. These amendments guaranteed freedoms to the African-Americans and also it provided the equal attitude to the black and white citizens of the country. Fragile balance reached in the creation of the young American country was a unique combination of different visions and values of its founding fathers. Abolishment of slavery did not resolve the problem of racism and discrimination. Race still created a big abyss in the relations between the black and white population of the country. The slavery was cancelled but a new social model has not been built yet and African-Americans had to find their way to survive and their place in the social ladder.