Being an African American lady from the South who had been brought up by her grandparents. I have been deeply introduced into African American world views since my grandparents followed African American cultural beliefs loyally. As a result, they profoundly impacted the African American worldviews in me and other family members, correspondingly to other African American families who resided in the South. Although there are numerous African-American families in the South, many of them have unrelated worldviews due to their cultural diversity in their ancestral land. Which significantly influences their values, beliefs, attitudes, behaviors and relationships towards their worldviews, irrespective of them being ethnically referred to as African Americans.
Withal, in my developmental family worldview is primarily based on the African and agro-Celtic culture worldviews; since my grandparent were from two different ethnic backgrounds. Therefore, I had to follow their “schemata of interpretation” as they were in one way or another different from other African American families’ worldviews.
Since my developmental family was an extended family comprising of many family members like, my grandparents, uncles, aunties, cousins, nephews and other relatives, everybody was subjected to family interdependence rule. Which was one way of creating a strong bond between the extended family members. For instance, when one family member was in a challenging situation others were supposed to help him or her completely recuperate from the situation. Besides we had the main family rule, I am because you are, and since you are, therefore I am.” This made everybody in the family to maintain good relation, since the instilled rule created a solid connection between all family members. This rule also helped us to resolve all our differences creating a profound unity and enduring love to one another.
The other rule in my family was based on harmony and enduring respect to one another despite the location, age, education, or social life status. This enabled family members to remain united even after many of us departed from our developmental family; we still retained the bond. Consequently, my grandparents were also strict on the power of kindness and forgiveness, where we were instructed to forgive everybody. Even in the face of the utmost prejudice and cruelty of our oppressors, we were taught to treat everybody with compassion (Fogle, L. M., & Mendez, J. L.2006).
Family roles are one of the significant considerations no matter the class you belong; you are supposed to participate in them wholeheartedly. An example, in my family men were given the role to head the family, they were supposed to offer security, economic and financial support in the family unless in the case of a single-parent family. Where woman will assume his family responsibilities.
Moreover, in my family women are given the responsibility to be family decision-makers primarily whatsoever regarding their siblings and other private decisions. Although in case of serious family matters it was my grandparent’s role to make the decision, or the whole family to discuss the issue. Also it was family’s role to ensure that children are taught good morals, family culture and other practices related to our ethnic (Mintz, S. W., & Price, R. 2013).
In my family we believed that “everywhere you go and what you do, the spirit of your deceased ancestors follows you. Thus when you get good luck in your life the spirits are rewarding you for doing good things to them. Nonetheless, in case you face misfortunes in your life, you must continue apologizing to them since it’s a sign that spirits are not happy with you. Consequently, you were supposed to appease to them by pouring down libation asking for forgiveness and good lucks in your life. Since we believed they had supremacies to grant everything you request for inform of ‘good luck.’
These were sequence of activities which involved words, gestures and objects, mostly they were conducted by elders in my community. Since they mainly appealed to traditions and they generally continued to replicate historical precedents. Conversely, in my family we used to celebrate rituals related to rites of passage. Whereby pre-teen and teenage boys and girls used to take traditional lessons to prepare them for adulthood life (Jacobs, C. F., & Kaslow, A. J. 2001).
Birth rituals, these were rituals that we performed after a child is born in my family, where all relatives come together prayed and blessed the baby along with her mother. Mothers and grandmothers were primary sources of information regarding birth rituals and other customs that followed it.
Death rituals, these were funeral traditions rituals which were performed by my community elders after the demise of one of our community members. The primary purpose of this ritual was to chase away the spirit of death in the family and cleanse them in case the deceased died at a tender age. Also, death rituals were used to express our thoughts, beliefs, and feelings about the loss of someone we loved. More so, death rituals aimed at increasing social solidarities and promotion of change in the family and community.
Healing rituals or healing spells; they were performed for emotional, spiritual, or physical healing whenever the family needs help to deal with the aspect of their life. Which they are finding difficult to handle, this ritual was performed by community elders and other conservatives who had traditional skills relating to it.
In my family, we incorporated all modes of communication styles, which includes exchanging information or ideas via speech, writing, and visuals. Also, in my community people momentously mixed languages with African American Vernacular English when communicating among themselves. This Code-switching communication style was also highly adopted in my family too, even though some used dominant communication style without code-switching to any phonics. The main reason why many of my developmental family embraced code-switching communication styles is as a result of language popularity in the South.
Although in most cases emotional expression mostly occurs without awareness, but in my family we were taught how to control some them effectively without getting hurt or hurting others. Also, our grandparents used to teach us how to manage our feelings and which emotions are suitable for which circumstances. Therefore we developed mechanisms for masking seemingly inappropriate expressions. For instance, in my family, it was a taboo for a man to cry in front of kids, women, or other family members despite the intensity of the emotions. Since it will be seen as a sign of weakness for a person who is supposed to lead others.
More so, parents and grandparents were strictly supposed to control their emotion expressions, especially when they are dealing with children to avoid presentation of undesirable impressions to them.
My family’s it subsystems was grouped according to family members age and gender. My grandparents were the family leaders and headed all the family subsystems, and they were supposed to be consulted before any family activity is undertaken. Secondly, other close relatives such as, aunts and uncles were greatly respected as they were second from our grandparents. The third subsystem was the group of my nephews and cousins and other age-mates whom we were almost the same age. In my family we believed that “old age is directly linked with wisdom.’ Withal, respect in the family’s subsystem was granted hierarchically with children being the least in the family subsystem.
Besides, my family subsystem was vital since it was a tool for maintaining respect and also create an everlasting relationship between and within my relatives. Similarly, it helped in regulating information that comes internally or externally. For example, it was the duty of elderly family members within the parental section to the boundary or monitor the information that the siblings receive. Correspondingly Family elderly members also ensured that we (children) do not have access to information that is deemed age-inappropriate or graphic (Bartram, M. H. 1996).
My family interpretation of world view concept
In my family they extremely valued worldviews, since they believed that they have a strong influence and shaping power in their life. They also believed that worldviews unites family thoughts and life. Defining the decent life that must be pursued, conserved, and protected; as it guides thinking, actions and choices of every person who observes them. Per contra, worldviews plays a cardinal role in molding family members and society. This means that worldview serves the evaluation, judging and validating purposes, as well as the provision of psychological reinforcement. Also in my family, worldview is the only thing that bridges the gap between impartial realism outsides our heads and the socially agreed-upon perception of that reality inside our reasoning. Hence to them worldview was like a ‘control box,’ which controls every action that our family member undertakes to ensure that he or she is on the right track.
Which aspect of upbringing do you have in your world view?
As an adult still embrace family rules and emotional expression, since they significantly contribute to how I relate with other people currently. Not only my family members but also other people whom I interact with all the activities I undertake. For instance, the emotional expression has helped me to know how to handle my feelings and to control myself despite being humiliated even when I am on the right track. Additionally, these family rules have helped me to become a morally upright person who is figured as an excellent example in the community.
Further, I don’t have the aspect of believing in rituals, although they sometimes enhance our sense of meaning in our lives as well as connecting our current families to our longer experience. I greatly criticize ritualistic behavior and acts accompanied by them. Since these acts are superficial and worthless to our modern families and societies. Presently changes have developed new symbols and values that are more constructive than traditional rituals, to me some aspects, like death and healing rituals are pastime, and they should be abandoned since the society has developed better ways of solving such issues`.
- Jacobs, C. F., & Kaslow, A. J. (2001). The Spiritual Churches of New Orleans: Origins, Beliefs, and Rituals of an African-American Religion. Univ. of Tennessee Press.
- Bartram, M. H. (1996). Clarifying subsystem boundaries in grandfamilies. Contemporary Family Therapy, 18(2), 267-277.
- Mintz, S. W., & Price, R. (2013). The birth of African-American culture. In African-American Religion (pp. 46-62). Routledge.
- Hecht, M. L., Collier, M. J., & Ribeau, S. A. (1993). African American communication: Ethnic identity and cultural interpretation. Sage Publications, Inc.
- Fogle, L. M., & Mendez, J. L. (2006). Assessing the play beliefs of African American mothers with preschool children. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 21(4), 507-518.
- Julian, T. W., McKenry, P. C., & McKelvey, M. W. (1994). Cultural variations in parenting: perceptions of Caucasian, African-American, Hispanic, and Asian-American parents. Family Relations, 30-37.
- Landrine, H., & Klonoff, E. A. (1994). The African American acculturation scale: Development, reliability, and validity. Journal of Black Psychology, 20(2), 104-127.