The Idea of Cultural Imperialism: A Triangulation of Cultural Relativity Theory in Regards to the Black Race Developing Its Own Identity

Krystal Monique Montgomery


Philosophy can be defined as the critical study of the basic principles and concepts of a particular branch of knowledge, especially with a view to improve or reconstitute them. Philosophy can be constructed in many different ways based on the experiences and knowledge of one’s society. But how can one define philosophy if never knowing the true culture and experiences of his/her history? The Black race in America has not adopted a true philosophy (world view). The culture has been misunderstood because of the many changes it has undergone throughout history. Mental slavery, conditioned equality and resistance within the community have been a barrier to developing a true identity. White supremacy and cultural imperialism have had a major impact on Black history/culture. The Cultural Relativity Theory is the principle that an individual’s beliefs and activities should be understood in terms of his or her own culture. The hypothesis tested here is that the Black community lacking its own authentic identity is difficult for one to understand because of mental slavery and having been conditioned to believe that freedom is defined from the European standpoint. This paper tests this hypothesis by using a triangulation approach employing the history of the Black community from slavery to the present. Based on findings generated from surveys, observations, and expert interviews, the research suggests that African Americans have been conditioned to feel free and become content without a known philosophy and/or worldview. Thus, this essay aims to open the door to developing an idea for African Americans to be freed from mental slavery and develop their own true identity.


African Americans, European Americans, Cultural Relativity, Self-Identity

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