Comparisonbetween African American Culture and Amish Culture
1.Do your family beliefs change over the generations?
Mymother:Yes our family beliefs have changed over three generations.Specifically, the issue of marriage has changed. In the early days,there was pouring of libation in a marriage occasion unlike nowadayswhere the weddings are conducted in churches.
TheAmish friend:Yes. In the tradition, weddings were done on Tuesdays and Thursdaysaccording to their beliefs but nowadays the weddings are done inwhichever day of the week.
2.How do you recognize educational and occupational status your family?
Mymother:Education in our culture was not of more importance.
TheAmish friend:We strongly believe in education, but formal education is the onlyprovided through the eighth grade and only in our own private school.
3.Which communication methods do you use while communicating?
Mymother: weused pidgins to communicate since we live in a combination of manyslave people. We also spoke southern dialect.
TheAmish friend: wecommunicate in German language although some speak in English afterbeing educated.
4.What are your current family priorities or goals in your culture?
Mymother: Ourfamily goals are to raise up the children, educate them and bringchange in our society.
TheAmish friend: Ourfamily goals are to raise up the children and educate them in orderto bring change in our society.
5.What are the roles of men in your social family?
Mymother: Theroles of the men in the family are to provide for his wife andchildren with clothes, food and shelter and also to be the head thefamily.
TheAmish friend:Their role is taking responsibilities in their family such providingfood, security and shelter.
6.What are the responsibilities of women in your social family?
Mymother: theroles of the women were caring for the children and performinghousehold’s chores. The women slaves worked in the households oftheir masters.
TheAmish Friend:The role of the women in our culture is taking care of theirchildren, elders and their husbands. They also perform household’sactivities.
7.What role do elders and children play in your family?
Mymother: Ourcultural elders are very crucial on weather prediction and teach theyoung people about cultural beliefs. The children help their familymembers where need be.
TheAmish: Ourelders play an important role in giving or taking out curses to orfrom people. They also formed a group which is meant to disciplinecriminals and settle the family disputes.
8.How is the care-giving of elders and children handled in your family?
Mymother: Thewomen care our elder people and children.
TheAmish friend: Thewomen care our elder people and children.
9.How do different family members express spiritual and religiousbeliefs?
Mymother: Inour culture we believe our God as a higher being. The people in ourculture performed rituals such as studying scriptures, singing hymnsand reading devotional prayers.
TheAmish friend:In our culture we worship in members’ homes on large gatherings. Weread the bible but not believe in some verses in the bible. Webelieve in the teachings of Jacob Ammann. We also believe in JesusChrist the son of God.
10.Do you have other lifestyles of living apart from those you haveanalyzed to me about the family?
Mymother: No.we live in a nuclear and extended family.
AnAmish: No.we live in nuclear and extended family.
AfricanAmericans are the descent people who lie in the United States who arealso referred as the blacks. They are the slaves brought in Americaduring the 18thand 19thcenturies. Blacks in America comprises of diverse ethnicities andcultures, which includes immigrants from Caribbean and Africa. TheAmish people are the group of believers who follow the teaching ofJacob Ammann. Jacob Ammann lived during the seventeenth century inSwitzerland. The Amish people are closely related to Mennonites. Thegreater numbers of Amish people who live in United States followtheir customs and refuse to take oaths, perform military service orvote. They shun modern conveniences and technology. Use of buggy andhorse are their means of transport. No use of telephone orelectricity in their homes (Kraybill & Center for AmericanPlaces, 2001). The men usually wear pants with buttons and beardswhile the women wear plain dresses and white head coverings withoutbuttons but used pins to fasten.
Thereasons why I conducted an interview in both our culture and theAmish culture is to analyze the similarities and differences oncustom beliefs in order to respect on each other’s culture. I aimedin understanding how the families, education, conduction of weddings,technological changes among others differ with those in our culture.The use of automobiles, television, electricity, tractors andtelephones consider them as temptation that could create inequalityor cause vanity which are not accepted in most orders (Kraybill &Center for American Places, 2001). Instead, many Amish families sharea telephone in a wooden shanty between lands. However, the New OrderAmish allow use of modern farm machines, use of electricity, owningthe automobiles and the use of telephones.
Amishpeople believed strongly in education but exempted the statecompulsory of attending beyond eighth grade basing on religiousprinciples. Schooling concentrated on the basic writing, reading,geography and math along with vocational training in Amish values andhistory. Education was also considered as an important tool onhomemaking and farming (Kraybill & Center for American Places,2001). In the Amish families, the man worked on the farm while thewife did the cleaning, cooking, washing and other household chores.The father was considered as the head of the family. The Amish peoplespoke German while in the home, although English was taught inschools. Intermarriages among other cultures were prohibited. Divorceor separation after marriage was not permitted.
TheAmish conducted their weddings on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Thecouple’s engagements were usually kept secret until few days priorto the wedding. The bride used her wedding dress on importantoccasions after the wedding. However, the Amish involved no rings,flowers, caterers, makeup, or photography during their weddings(Kraybill & Center for American Places, 2001). After the death ofa person, caskets were made with wood within the local community andfuneral ceremony held in the home of the deceased with no flowers oreulogy. After the burial, the tombstones were not engraved.
InAfrican American, female slaves worked in their master’shouseholds. In their culture, the role of the woman was to besubmissive to her husband. Black females in African American cultureare often the single heads of the households while the men are in theworkforce. The kinship support systems and extended family networksbrought unrelenting obligations to the black women (Pinn, Finley &Alexander, 2009). Stress attacked the black women leading to multiplehealth problems. African American men suffered slavery negativeimpact in the struggle to be intelligent leaders and supporters oftheir families.
Theextended family in the African American culture was an importantresource in the prevention of behavioral change. Unrelated personsare titled as uncle, brother, sister, or aunt. The individuals werecalled upon to lend support in times of death or serious illness andwere believed to bring about behavioral change required to preventthe disease. Female-headed households in black families were many ascompared to that of white families. Education, poverty and genderroles during the slavery time also contributed to the Africa Americanchildren to live in a household of a single parent (Dodge, Hill &McLoyd, 2005). Elderly men and women aged 75 years represent therapidly growing population in America. Older people are notvulnerable to diseases since they define health in the capabilitiesof completing tasks of daily living such as traveling, shopping andself-care. Rearing of children, living in stressful home environmentsand seeking care contribute to chronic disease morbidity andpsychological stress.
Communicationstyles in African American culture include conveying a sense ofconcern of the problem for the person, eye contact, listening and anonjudgmental listening. The sober consideration and the avoidance ofnegative stereotyping of the individual’s opinion are also anothermeans of communicating within the African Americans (Dodge, Hill &McLoyd, 2005). The religions of the African Americans includeChristianity, Islamic, Judaism and others including irreligiousbeliefs.
Conclusively,the cultural behaviors and beliefs between African Americans andAmish people have similarities and differences. The men from the bothcultures played the same role of being the head of the family andproviding for the family. The women also had the similar roles onbeing responsible for household’s chores. Both the nuclear andextended family appeared in both cultures. Education is different onboth cultures. In African American culture people were educated up tohigher levels but in Amish culture a person was supposed to beeducated up to the eighth grade. Technological response differed inboth communities. Amish did not change according to technologicalchanges unlike the African American who adhered to technologicalchanges.
Dodge,K. A., Hill, N. E., & McLoyd, V. C. (2005). AfricanAmerican family life: Ecological and cultural diversity.New York: Guilford Press.
Kraybill,D. B., & Center for American Places. (2001). Theriddle of Amish culture.Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Pinn,A. B., Finley, S. C., & Alexander, T. (2009). AfricanAmerican religious cultures.Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO.