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African American Culture (SLP) James Goggans

African American Culture (SLP)

James Goggans

Trident University

Instructor: Dr. Maria Luque

MHS504 Scholarly Writing in the Health Sciences

24 April 2022






Heritage Overview


Most African Americans currently in the USA originated from Sub-Saharan Africa. Most of them are descendants of the people who were brought to America as slaves between the 17th and 19th centuries (King, 2020). They initially came into the US as slaves and later revolted before getting recognition as one of the American races.


Most Black Americans reside in Ney York, Texas, California, Illinois, Georgia, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, and Louisiana. Texas has the highest population of African Americans, with 14% of the total population being African Americans.


The African Americans originated from sub-Saharan Africa, a savannah with grasslands and scattered trees region. Most of the region is a vast plateau, and the land area has an altitude of fewer than 500 feet. Majorly in South America, their current residence is characterized by large mountains and a relatively flat interior.


The labor of African Americans has been foundational and significant to the growth of the economy of America. The original immigrants built the country’s infrastructure, producing the most lucrative products, such as tobacco and cotton. Today, African Americans significantly contribute across all industries, including agriculture and service.


African Americans have made significant strides in American politics. The current congress includes 57 African American representatives, a high increase from 1965. The fifteenth amendment to the country’s constitution allowed all male citizens to vote, and African Americans have since become politically active. In 2008, Barack Obama broke history and became the first African American to clinch the presidency in America.


The educational status among African Americans is both a witness of continuous achievement and disparities in the US. The number of African Americans who have studied to advanced levels and got good jobs increased. In 2016, a study revealed that the number of Blacks aged 25 or older who attained a bachelor’s or associate degree has risen significantly since 1996. However, there are disparities in terms of the nature of schools, and they also face discrimination in schools.


African American workers are employed in various sectors and contribute significantly to the economy of the country. According to research, most of the members of this community occupy office and administrative positions (Pedulla & Pager, 2019). Other occupations with a significant number of blacks include sales, transportation, management, food preparation, and related occupations.




Dominant Language

The dominant language among African Americans is African American English(Ebonics). The umbrella term refers to the varieties of English that people of African origin speak in the US.


There are seven main dialects associated with African Americans: African-American vernacular English, Standard English, Appalachian English, Outer Banks English, Nova Scotian English, Older Africa-American English, and Gullah. The dialects vary linguistically, generationally, stylistically, geographically, and other factors.

Contextual Use

The context or setting plays a significant role in deriving the meaning of words used by African Americans. Some words can only make sense if one understands the context, and other words can be used in one context and not the other.


The good pattern among African Americans English contains variations in pitch and volume. Their voices can range from very loud and deep to very quiet. The correctness of the volume and tone depends on the speaking situation.

Spatial Distancing

African Americans are comfortable speaking with less distance between themselves. For this reason, African Americans may not keep a distance between themselves and the people they are speaking with because they do not mind getting close. African American children also tend to stand closer to each other when talking than whites.

Eye Contact

African Americans are believed to make more frequent eye contact when speaking than listening. Their failure to maintain eye contact when listening has led to being labeled as resistant or less interested. The overall amount or length of eye contact is not different from the dominant cultures.

Facial Expressions

African Americans exhibit all the basic facial expressions. They tend to smile more, and Whites may have difficulties telling when they are smiling genuinely and faking.


African Americans have several ways of greeting each other. They may nod, grip, or give a dap, especially for males. The up nod is usually used to let the other person know you have seen them, and a grip is used to show a closer connection. Females may shake their hands or hug, depending on the closeness


African Americans are present-oriented and are more likely to take short-term measures. Studies indicate that African Americans perceive them to be less susceptible to future consequences and take short-term measures (Purnell & Fenkl, 2019). In healthcare, it is revealed that African Americans are present-oriented regarding the daily management of hypertension.


African Americans may keep time, but they are associated with smaller phase delays than whites. For this reason, they are more likely to delay a meeting. Researchers attribute this to the relationship-oriented nature of African Americans, which makes them more relaxed on this issue. When others are angry for being late, an African American is likely to be puzzled.


Most African Americans use names that are common with the wider American culture. Most of the names are derived from the Bible. Other names have Arabic, French, European, or Muslim origins. Most African Americans have an English name that is usually given at birth and a second name that is more intimate.


African Americans embrace touch and other forms of physical contact. Friends and family members may hug and kiss each other on the cheek. Colleagues may hug, but it depends on the connectedness between parties. In formal settings, handshakes are more preferred than hugs. Research also shows that blacks touch their children for a longer time and more frequently compared to other cultures.






King, S. (2020). From African American vernacular English to African American language: Rethinking the study of race and language in African Americans’ Speech. Annual Review of Linguistics, 6, 285-300.

Pedulla, D. S., & Pager, D. (2019). Race and networks in the job search process. American Sociological Review, 84(6), 983-1012.

Purnell, L. D., & Fenkl, E. A. (2019). People of African American Heritage. In Handbook for Culturally Competent Care (pp. 27-39). Springer, Cham.

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