Cultural Revolution

This essay has a total of 3374 words and 13 pages.

Cultural Revolution

There are many different cultures in Southwest Florida that one becomes immediately aware
of as they enter the area. They include Native-American, African-American, Protestant,
European, "Cracker", Hispanic-Latino, and Cuban. Because there are so many variations of
these cultures choosing just three was difficult, but for my project I will be focusing on
our African-American, Hispanic-Latino, and "Cracker" populations. During this project I
will address the many and varied differences between these cultures on many different
levels including personal or family differences, social differences and educational
differences. I expect to gain a greater understanding about these cultures during this
process and by gaining this understanding I will be better equipped to combine students
from these cultures into a classroom of learners that are able to succeed on all levels of
History education. Because I do teach World History having a classroom full of diverse
cultures lends itself to a variety of teaching activities and extra curricular learning.

Miami-Dade Community College President Eduardo J. Padron. Said it best when he said "Our
classrooms are laboratories for cultural diversity and the disciplines are enriched when
students contribute various cultural perspectives," It has become increasingly clear that
we must get creative in culturally diverse ways in order to pull all of our students into
the learning culture in equal ways.

I spent several days researching the material that you are about to read. My biggest
source of information was the internet, but I also spoke with several other instructors
and listened to their thoughts and concerns on the matter of cultural diversity in the
classroom. Everyone seemed to have a unique thought or opinion but there where certainly
central themes in the opinions I received. Over all each instructor hoped to provide the
best non-biased education for his or her students. From this group of instructors I did my
best to choose a culturally diverse section. The group was comprised of three males and
three females; one African-American, one Hispanic-Latino, two native Floridians or
"Crackers", one Native American and one European. We met for lunch and discussed cultures
in great depth. It was certainly a fascinating experience. I also took time to read
sections of several books which I have highlighted in the source area of my paper.

The first of my three cultures is the African-American Culture. When we began our
discussion on this culture my first question was what does it mean to be African-American?
The overwhelming answer was this: Just because the color of your skin is black this does
not make you are African- American. The consensus was that while most people with black
skin are of African descent most of our young people today have no idea what it means to
be from Africa or be "African-American. Just as most white people can only trace their
ancestry, but know little about the culture and situations from their heritage.

Those of African-American ancestry have perhaps suffered the greatest tragedies in
American History, but they have also overcome the most. As I am writing this paper we have
a well respected and very intelligent African-American Secretary of State, Mr. Collin
Powell and are set to have an equally intelligent African American in the wings ready to
replace him. Assuming the Dr. Condoleezza Rice is confirmed by the senate she will become
the first female African American to serve in this position.

I am sure that Dr. Martin Luther King would be pleased to see that his dream really is
coming true. In his famous speech, he communicated not only his dream, but the dream of
millions in our nation. "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out
the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are
created equal. I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former
slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table
of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state
sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be
transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four little
children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their
skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today! I have a dream that one
day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping
with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right down in Alabama little
black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white
girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today!"

African American culture in the south has always seemed to dictate inferiority. I am not
sure exactly when this feeling began to be perpetuated, but I see it all the time in and
out of my classroom. There is almost a feeling of lowliness in everything that is
accomplished even though as an educator I often find that quite the opposite is actually
true.

In DeSoto County we still have a very distinct cultural barrier. If you are not a white
Anglo-Saxon southern person it seems it is automatically assumed that you are not as good.
We still have Klu Klux Klan organizations and very distinct sections of town. This is the
type of town where there is still a great deal of segregation even though at this point it
seems more self imposed than put upon. Another thing that bothers me about the
African-American population in Southwest Florida is the abject poverty that all African
Americans in this area seem to face. There is a high crime and drug rate associated with
the culture. The one thing that I have noticed that is of a positive nature is the sense
of family that African Americans have. They tend to look at after their own and when one
does become a leader there is a true sense of pride and accomplishment among the whole
community. I have discovered in my own classroom that African American students tend to
work harder and placed stronger expectations on themselves than their White or Hispanic
counterparts. Success does not seem to come easy for them, but when it does come it is
celebrated and cherished above all else.

Presently our assistant football coach is African American. He served as a basis for some
of this information because he served on the panel I mentioned earlier. He was raised in
Poverty by a Crack addicted mother and not much hope was given for him to live any other
kind of life. However, he had a skill and someone who believed in him. He and I went to
High School together and at that time 16 years ago we called him flip. We did because he
knew how to handle and "flip" a football. That coupled with a Christian coach who believed
in him propelled him all the way to the NFL. Three years ago he retired from the NFL with
a teaching degree and returned to DeSoto County to make a difference and quite a
difference he has made. This goes to show you that with a sense of community, support and
belonging any child can succeed regardless of the circumstances in their life.

The next culture I think it is important to examine is the culture in Southwest Florida
that is well known. Around Arcadia we call them Florida Crackers. They are a unique breed
of people with a unique culture and heritage and they are mighty proud of it. It seems
there have always been "Crackers" in Florida and Georgia. I looked up their heritage and I
discovered quite a story.

During the English period in Florida, settlers began drifting into the territory from
Georgia and the Carolinas. These early pioneers, mostly of Celtic stock, eventually
evolved into the unique cultural group known as the "Florida Crackers."

There are several legends about the origin of the term "Cracker." Some believe that it
comes from early settlers "Crackin' their corn to make grits,"or from "Crackin' their
whips while herding cattle. "While "grits and cows" were all a part of Cracker life, the
word is actually a 16th Century expression found in Shakespearean literature. A 1594
English play used the term to describe a person who was a "boaster "or" fast talker."

The term has been applied to both Georgia and Florida Crackers; both ethnic groups share
many cultural traits. The earliest reference to Crackers in Florida can be found in the
documents of the Governor of Spanish West Florida. In 1709, the Governor wrote, "These
Crackers are nomadic, like Arabs, distinguished from savages only by their color and
language." The earliest Crackers may have wandered into Florida before the Seminoles if
the references in old Spanish documents are correct. If so, then the Florida Cracker could
be the State's most native group, since the early aboriginal people had died out as a
result of diseases introduced by the early Spanish.

The Seminoles migrated into Florida from the Creek Confederacy in Alabama and Georgia in
the early 1700s. However, according to genealogical research, Crackers vary in tracing
their lineages. A large number can trace their heritage lines back to the first colonists
brought to Georgia in 1733. These English colonists landed at Yamacraw Bluff, near present
day Savannah. After the close of the Second Spanish Period, between the years 1821 and
1855, rugged backwoods folks migrated into the Florida territory from Georgia and the
Carolinas and were quickly assimilated into the Cracker lifestyles.

The Florida Crackers carved a way of life from the Florida wilderness which evolved into a
distinct ethnic culture. There are a number of shared traits between the early Black
Floridians, the Seminoles, and the Crackers. Most notably, these similarities are found in
foods, homeopathic remedies, planting, folklore beliefs, and woodsman skills. As an
Continues for 7 more pages >>




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