People falsely believe that because they see no form of open racism, the black community must have a problem that they need to fix themselves. These people oftentimes show no hatred towards the wealthy and successful black individuals, but rather use them as an example that race is not an issue anymore. The dimensions of racism have changed in the way that today there are no massive Ku Klux Klan marches through Washington DC like the one in 1928, neither is there any significant public group demanding a return to the segregation era politics. No person in his or her right mind would today demand a person to use a different bathroom based on the color of their skin. It, however, does not mean that racism has vanished. Rather, it indicates that the way that it is articulated and shown in public nowadays is less openly hateful. One example of it is the African American culture, which reflects the unique experience of black individuals, and due to the colonial past is often perceived as ‘other’ and deviant from the ‘norm’, which is the Western, or the white American culture.It is common to think today that the phenomenon of colonial possessions is a part of history that colonizing countries should not be proud of. However, colonialism still has its reflection in the relationship between the former colonizer and the colonized, their attitudes, mindsets and beliefs. The analysis of social attitudes towards the elements of black culture through the lenses of postcolonial theory shows that the relationship between the former colonized and the colonizer are still characterized by ambivalence, exoticism, microagression and hegemony. Both white Americans and African Americans believe in the misconception that norms that are commonplace in Western cultures are true and ‘natural’, as opposite to the ‘deviant’ and less sophisticated norms of other cultures. In the meantime, this ‘deviant’ culture is often perceived as exotic and intriguing by the colonizer, which is partly evident from the way white men perceived black women. Such elements of African American culture as black church, black music and black American dialect are often perceived by the dominant ideology as less sophisticated and less worthy. One practical example of this phenomenon are schools that actively try to teach black children the so called ‘standard English’, which by its definition is the language of white Americans. This phenomenon is emphasized in the book Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The whole concept of Americanah, which is the word used to describe Americanized non-American born black individuals, is the result of this misconception in the perception of black and white cultures. Every human being has the desire and right to be proud of their ancestors, as well as to love those people that they have been raised by. Naturally, this basic and understandable aspiration will become more complicated if those ancestors happened to be on the ‘wrong’ side of history.
It is important to note that the postcolonial theory might be helpful in terms of explaining the cultural peculiarities of the former colonized and colonizing countries, as well as the relationship between the two. A long history of colonization has created dichotomy in the colonized/colonizer relationship, where ambivalence, ‘othering’, exoticism and the dominant ideology are commonplace. It is interesting, though, that this dichotomy still have its reflection today, when the global society, at least seemingly, manages to exist without massive acts of xenophobia and inequality. Taking the critical approach to the examination of relationship between black and white cultures helps to highlight those areas of social life and politics that are to be changed in order to eliminate the existence of the colonial heritage in the mindset of the colonized party.
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