African-American Culture

Principles of Health Science-4th Period

Introduction to the stunning African American Culture

The ongoing history of African-Americans contains a plethora of rich culture, cuisine, religion and health beliefs, and many other unique cultural aspects. African-American culture is a blending of African roots as well as the western influence of European American culture.

Cultural Overview

*African-American History: The development of the African-American culture starts its beginning through the African slave trade. This culture forms under the pressure of trying to stay connected to African roots, while absorbing the European American culture of the United States during the times of racial discrimination. African-American culture is a melting pot of sorts of cultural influences that come from both Africa and the United States.

  • Language: English is typically the primary language spoken in African-American households, however there are many different native African languages are spoken among the population (Swahili, Yoruba, Bantu, and etc.)
  • Music: African-American music uses a lot of traditional African instruments and the topic of many songs are written to express the historical racial struggle of the people. The genres of African-American music vary in many diverse aspects and an example of one that is heavily influenced by this culture would be jazz.
  • Art: Similar to the topics of music, African-American art is created to depict the racial struggle of the people from history and even to the current events of the present. African-American art also takes a big focus on the dark complexion of its people to emphasize personal beauty and the importance to take pride in being different from the majority.
  • Food: African-American food is typically immediately associated with the term "soul food", which generally consists of fried chicken, collard greens, cornbread, yams, and more. The reason for the development of the term "soul food" comes from the deep history behind the slavery in African-Americans. During the times of slavery, slaves were not provided the best quality of food and depended on food items that were inexpensive and easy to access (farming and subsistence food gathering practices). Besides "soul food", other traditional African dishes are eaten among the population that depend on the origin of the people themselves.
  • Religion: Religion itself has no boundaries, but the most common religious practice for African-Americans is Christianity (most are Catholic or Baptist). However, there are many African-Americans who are Islamic as well and others who are Buddhist, Jewish, and etc.
  • Holidays and Observances: African-Americans celebrate common American holidays depending on the situation of whom it is concerning (which can include Christian holidays like Christmas and Easter and other ones as well). The birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. is a big day that is observed/celebrated to honor the civil rights efforts of his work. Black History Month is also a celebration that was created to bring focus to the culture/experience of African-Americans.
  • Family: The value of family is very important to African-American culture and is emphasized due to the history in slavery. During slavery, many slaves were separated from their families and many of them fought hard to stay together and those were separated spent a lot of time to be reunited after slavery was abolished. In African-American families, people are often given titles to address one another in consideration of respect regardless of blood relation or not (this derives from traditional African societies that emphasize on the concept of respecting elders).

Health Care

  • Health Concepts- Illnesses and diseases are often considered to be related to bad luck, poverty, fate, chance, and many other negative aspects that could affect one’s life in a defective and inferior way. To have good health involves having a good harmony with nature, mind, body, and spirit.

  • Health Practices/Usual Treatments-

  • For itchy, irritated skin- Apple cider vinegar

  • If sick- drink Sprite and Gatorade

  • Coconut oil is used for things such as weight loss, better skin, fighting stress and infection.

  • Onions are used to cure acne, nausea, fever, heat strokes, and the common coughs and cold.

  • Mustard and mustard seed can be used for flu, colds, and to warm up as well as to improve digestion.

  • Causes of Illnesses-

  • Many illnesses come naturally and called/believed to be natural illnesses.

  • Some illnesses are also believed to be an effect of supernatural forces. These are called "occult illnesses".
  • Responses to Pain-
  • It is very common to just hold pain in physically and mentally.
  • Beliefs about Death-
  • Death is seen as "a rite of passage wherein the soul passes into but another phase of continuous existence. The soul leaves the material world and crosses over into the spiritual world"- said by an African Psychiatrist. The actions of those on earth directly correlates to whether or not the soul is going to go to heaven or not.

Health Care System

Main health issues:

  • Cancer

  • Stroke

  • Heart diseases


  • Diabetes

Health Care System:

  • A larger share of African-Americans lack health care and are less likely to receive it than your average white person.

  • Over 103 million African-Americans suffer in the health care system.

Views and Treatment:

  • Many African-Americans cannot receive proper treatments due to the discrimination within some insurance companies and certain practices.


  • For African-Americans, HIV/AIDS are the leading cause of death

  • At least 15% of African Americans develop diabetes by the age of 20

  • Almost half of all African-Americans suffer from Hypertension


*Some pictures utilized all come from copyright free images that do not require credit for use.