I know it's been long since I last posted but for a number of reasons over the holidays I took a mental, physical and otherwise break from everything. I think I am sort of back into the swing of things, school, blogging (maybe) etc.
So over the course of this semester I will be writing on health disparities in cardiovascular disease outcomes, particularly amongst black immigrants to the US and the influence of acculturation on health (I know, that was a mouthful). Some of the things I have come across is that relatively few people care about the health of black immigrants (seeing that I can't find that much on it) and that studies of black immigrants and their health could have some potential for addressing the health of African Americans.
In the course of digging through the literature for information on acculturation and African immigrants (I had to dig very deeply), I came across the African American Acculturation Scale, (AAAS) which I wanted to ignore at first, but sat down and thought about it for a while, especially in light of my own experiences.
I think of myself as a lot of different things, being a first generation American to African immigrants. In the United States, I identify myself as African American, not only in a literal sense, but also partaking in the African American culture which over the past 400 years has come to mean so many different things. I think the African American culture is one of the most diverse, seeing that it comprises of people like me, biracial people, and those who's roots can be traced all the way back to the trans-Atlantic slave trade. It took me a long time to realize this, especially while attending a predominantly black high school where most were from similar backgrounds and found it necessary to to categorize who was "black enough" and who talked or acted like white people. Needless to say, my accent and my inability to rattle off rap lyrics from the top of my head placed me in the latter category. Fortunately, there was a growing silent majority of "blacks" and "whites" at my high school who felt that the definition of blackness is quite flexible.
Apparently in academia, the definition of blackness is not as expansive as I and some of my high school mates believed. According to the AAAS, blackness can be measured in your thoughts toward traditional African American foods, willingness to date outside of your race, and political affiliations. Yes, I sort of see the rationale behind looking at these social and cultural aspects of race in order to determine willingness to engage in certain health practices. But there is a part of me that shudders at the thought of determining who's a traditional African American and who is not. And honestly, I think its somewhat outdated. It almost reminds me of a comment a teacher of mine made when I was in high school in which she wanted to find out if my family was "tribal." (yeah, she actually seriously asked me that - I was too stunned to give her a smart answer like if her family still lived in caves or waved the Confederate flag in front of their house or something like that).
Anyway, those are my initial thoughts on the subject, they may change over time or maybe I might find myself challenging these notions in a more public forum (meaning, beyond my blog).
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