ERIC Number: ED086764
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1973-Aug
Reference Count: N/A
Survival as a Way of Life: Some Adaptive Mechanisms Contributing Toward the Perpetuation of Afro-American Culture.
Mithun, J. S.
Black survival cannot be fully understood within the context of social systems and institutions, for blacks could never rely upon them, and probably would not have survived had they chosen to do so. Part of the misunderstanding of Afro-American scholars in their interpretations of black culture has been due to their focusing on institutions and their sore neglect of cultural patterning. Survival can only be understood in the lives of individuals and their patterns of personal social interaction. Until very recently, most research focused on the negative adaptations of those individuals who had failed, both in terms of their own values and those of the larger society. Researchers neglected the majority, the average black, who was surviving against insurmountable obstacles. What enables these blacks to survive ordeals which most middle class whites would find impossible? This study suggests a number of positive adaptive mechanisms contributing to survival, not the least of which is the flexibility, adaptability, and strength of the extended black family. The conclusions in this study are drawn from the data and observations gathered during field work over a period of two years--August 1971 through August 1973--in the Fruitbelt, a black community on the east side of Buffalo, New York. (Author/JM)
Descriptors: Adjustment (to Environment), Anthropology, Black Community, Black Culture, Black Institutions, Disadvantaged Environment, Family Financial Resources, Family Structure, Field Studies, Life Style, Racial Discrimination, Sociocultural Patterns, Urban Environment, Urban Population
ICAES Office, 1126 East 59 Street, Chicago, Ill. 60637 ($1.00)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the IXth International Congress of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences, Chicago, Ill. August-September, 1973