Uniqueness of the Black Americans
Many changes have taken place in American society over the past century, bringing about deep and lasting transformations in the cultural landscape. Perhaps the single most significant change has been the demographic diversification of the country’s population, as indicated by the most recent census data, which shows that the current usage of the term “minority” may soon become obsolete. At the same time that non-white groups increased precipitously in number, the advent of the era of multiculturalism has sparked a renewed recognition and appreciation of the many different groups that have contributed to the growth and development of the country.
Although these changes have had profound implications for many racial and ethnic groups in the United States, it is African American culture that has emerged as a powerful phenomenon. Economically, the artifacts of twenty-first century African-American culture are a force to be reckoned with, with many Black recording artists, actors, authors, and artists claiming critical praise and garnering record sales revenues. Even more ubiquitous has been the influence of African-American vernacular and fashion, with hip-hop cultural signifiers becoming a touchstone for teenagers of all races in every region of the country.
The recent flowering of the influence of African-American culture has been unprecedented in its scope, but African-American culture is an entity that has been centuries in the making. Since the moment that the earliest generations of enslaved Africans arrived in colonial America, the forces of these two dynamic cultures began to form an amalgamation that is unique among the broad array of racial and ethnic identities typically seen in this country of immigrants.