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date: 10 July 2020

Black Nationalism. 

Source:
The Oxford Companion to United States History
Author(s):
William L. Van DeburgWilliam L. Van Deburg

An important ideology in African American history, black nationalism is grounded in the belief that efforts to operate within a political system deemed racist and unresponsive to black needs are doomed to failure. Adapting traditional nationalist tenets to their own situation as members of a racially defined minority population, most African American nationalists have equated “racial” with “national” identities and goals. Joined by ties of history, kinship, and culture, they have viewed themselves as wholly differentiated from competing social and ethnic groups. These common racial ties have been manifested in political movements arguing for the creation of an autonomous nation-state or a transnational union of states; in the creation of race-based economic, educational, and religious entities; and in the promotion of distinctive cultural productions. Seeking to turn alleged racial deficits (skin color, cultural traits) into wellsprings of strength, black nationalists have worked to enhance in-group values while shunning those promoted by the larger society. Critics of these efforts to encourage black sociocultural autonomy have charged that black nationalism's separatist orientation has discouraged interracial cooperation and hindered the creation of pluralistic society in which each component supports and enriches all others. Nationalists countered by noting many ... ...

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