When anyone hears the word culture, the immediate response is to think about the group’s physical attributes like food, expressions, and practices. What we fail to include in our interpretation of culture is what it means on an institutional level. The textbook definition says that culture is the art or other manifestations of human intellectual achievement, regarded collectively. In my 17 years of living, I have discerned that culture is, in fact, the manifestation of intellectual achievement, but it’s also the default perception of you as a person based on what history has to say. What people see when they look at you is an example. As a young Black man in this society, it seems like I’m seen as someone who needs saving; someone who needs to rely on the pity of others to become successful. In a way, this is a result of my “culture.” Lots of people think that’s all that culture does for a person, but I think there is more that culture has to offer.
Black culture is as monumental as they come. Sure, historically we’ve been through a lot, but all of that strife is what paved the way for so many great things. The Civil Rights Movement practically formed the society that we live in today and many everyday items that we use were created by Black people. Automatic elevator doors, traffic lights, home security systems, refrigerators and central heating furnaces are all examples of Black culture’s creativity at work. That’s what I love about Black culture; we have so much creativity that other people catch on and admire what we do so much that they jump in too. Food trends, style trends, and music trends are just a few examples. “We’ve been the blueprint for influence for so long and it’s beautiful,” said Trinity Jalan, a junior at Global Citizen Experience (GCE) Lab School. Not only do we impact the creativity of other people, we uplift each other and give each other hope. Our culture, I would say, is one of the most constructive and cooperative cultures there is. Just the way we have so much love for each other and other people is unparalleled. No matter what happens, we find a way to spread love and positive messaging.
Zion Pope, a junior at Lake View High School, said, “Black culture is so dope because it lays out all of our progression. You can see our entire timeline in relation to how far we’ve come, how our ideas about the world have changed, and how we influence society itself. We are a people of complexity and that won’t change.”
Being a part of Black culture gives me such a warm feeling that can’t be acquired any other way. There are some faults that we continue to have, but there are too many good things about the Black community to be compiled into one article. Be proud to bear your melanin.
By Jayden Hammond, Junior, GCE Lab School