Diverse cultures encompass diverse cultural, social and political beliefs. These beliefs can culminate to inter-cultural tensions in cases of inter-cultural interactions. Different sources of inter-cultural tensions exist in the United States but the most prevalent of all is racism. Racism is identified as one of the major inter-cultural tension issues since the slave and colonial era in America (Hornung, 2007). Although in mid-20th century racism discrimination was banned, a considerable American population potion still holds racist and prejudistic attitudes. Psychological impacts of racism are the reasons behind the fully etched vice that cannot be eliminated completely from America. The widely acknowledged racial discrimination is against African Americans by the white Americans. This is because they exhibit different cultural beliefs adopted from their forefathers who existed during the slave and colonial era. African Americans make up the largest American racial minority. This paper will focus on the inter-cultural tension between the white and African Americans and how history and communication have impacted this tension.
The two cultural group identities involved in the racism inter-cultural tension are African Americans and white Americans. African Americans are American citizens whose ancestry is of Sub-Saharan African. As per the information acquired from an informal interview of an African American, most African Americans originate from captive Africans who were held in America against their consent from 1619 to1865 (Hornung, 2007). The black Caribbeans who immigrated to America are also identified as African Americans owing to their Central and West African roots. Recently immigrated people from South America and Africa who pride on their African descent are also identified as African Americans. Black history month is celebrated in February with most emphasis put on enlightening people on the historical context of African Americans. Since the slavery and colonial era, most African Americans have not managed to acquire the social status enjoyed by the White Americans owing to their magnitude as a minority race.
As per information acquired from a white American who was informally interviewed, White Americans encompass the American citizens of a Caucasian origin, whose descent is North Africa, Europe and Middle East. Americans of Hispanic and Latino descent are not identified as white Americans. These citizens are included in the group of White Mexican Americans (Hornung, 2007). White Americans make up 80% of the American population therefore making them the majority race. Initially, the construction of the white Americans was meant for distancing slave owners from slaves. Owing to their identity as the majority race, white Americans have always discriminated against the other minority races in America as they believe that they possess more rights than other races. The white Americans begun to discriminate against other Americans since the colonial and slave era and these attitudes though having been subjected to substantive changes, still exist in the minds of a substantial portion of white Americans.
The American society’s diverse aspects have been infiltrated by racism whose magnitude is not expected to decrease in future. Racism can only be identified as an institutional ideology that does not only encompass the evil treatment of another individual but subsist as its fostering lies on the hands of the government and other institutions. Racial discrimination between the African Americans and white Americans can be identified as an inter-cultural tension (Hornung, 2007). This is because the white Americans feel that due to their biological stratification, they are superior to African Americans as they are people of color. In modern America, racism has been reduced significantly but this does not mean that it no longer exists. The current American president is an African American. This does not mean that the inter-cultural tension between the white Americans and the black Americans has been eliminated completely.
White and African American neighborhoods still exist in America. African Americans are restricted from living in the white neighborhoods and if one is spotted, they are arrested with the pretence of their purported intention of committing a crime. White Americans cannot venture into exclusive African American neighborhood for fear of losing their lives. Inter-cultural tension still exists in education with some schools being set exclusively for African Americans or white Americans only (Hornung, 2007). Some families due to being of African American descent have been subjected to vandalism and racist epithets. Consequently, the same cases are happening to white Americans especially those who are brave enough to live in African American neighborhoods. Many inter-cultural couples are still being subjected to discrimination and yet it is the modern America in which every person’s freedom should be always augmented by the government. This reflects on the fact that inter-cultural tension between the African Americans and White Americans still exists in the current world.
Historically, the inter-cultural tension between the white and African Americans begun during the colonial and slave era with the institution of slavery. Most African Americans migrated to America as slaves (Hornung, 2007). They worked for a living in the white colonialist plantations and did not receive any wages for their work but earned their keep. Before the institution of slavery, Anon-white and African Americans were treated with an equal status by the white Americans. On the onset of the institution of slavery, the immigrants were converted into slaves who were regarded to as the white mans property. In 1865, following the declaration of the13th Amendment, slavery was abolished. After slavery, the African status was stigmatized up to the late 20th century. In this case, discriminatory practices still existed with educational disparities, housing and employment disparities, criminal acts against African Americans and Jim Crow laws. Due to the historical division that was born between the White and African Americans, inter-cultural tension has spread to the modern world because it is still being experienced today but at a lower magnitude than that of the colonial, slavery and post-emancipation era.
The main tools utilized by mass media are communication and language. A pernicious public perception has been created towards the African Americans by mass media. The media instead of focusing on positive African American attributes focuses on African American gang violence, anti-social behavior, drug abuse and crime, and this has worked hard towards convincing the white Americans of their superiority (Hornung, 2007). This considerably augments the inter-cultural tension that exists between African Americans and White Americans. The historical oppression of racial discrimination has been substantially perpetrated by the media because of the diverse ideas it plants into the minds of the public. Language is another factor that considerably impacts on the inter-cultural tension. This is because for African Americans, words like Negro are termed to be racist as long as they are uttered by a white American. However, for the African Americans, the words are utilized to identify them as brothers. Street slung, which is a form of language, is exclusively utilized by African Americans and they find it offensive when a white American utilizes it.
Inter-cultural tension is one aspect of life that has affected many communities in the world. This is because different communities adopt and exhibit different cultural beliefs and when the cultural beliefs conflict, inter-cultural tension culminates. Racism, which was etched into the American minds during the colonial and slave era, has been a major source of inter-cultural tension between African Americans and white Americans (Hornung, 2007). African Americans make up the largest minority race while white Americans constitute the majority race. The historical aspect of slavery is the main contributor of the inter-cultural tension between African Americans and white Americans. The role of mass media in communication has contributed to the diverse ideologies adopted by the two races increasing inter-cultural tension between them. The two races use different forms of language and this contributes substantially to the tension between them. In conclusion, racism is a source of inter-cultural tension between the African Americans and white Americans and it can only be eliminated through the elimination of the slavery ideologies etched in the minds of most Americans.
Hornung, Alfred. Inter-cultural America. Heidelberg: Winter, 2007. Print.