Makayla Fails
Dr. Carr
Intro to African American Studies
February 2, 2017
How Do We Undertake the Study of African Experiences?
Abstract:
So what does this big question mean? "How do we undertake the study of African Experiences?" What we basically have here is a simple question asking, "Where do we start when learning about African experiences?" Where we start is one of the most important factors of this subject. Dr. John Henrik Clarke once said, "If you start your history with slavery, everything since then looks like progress (Lecture)," and that is exactly what I believe most of us in this world have done. We all think that just because we aren't considered "slaves" anymore, and that we are now "free", this means that our lives and the condition of our lives have gotten better, but that is not completely the case. I think visually, the world may have gotten slightly better, but that is about it. By this I mean that we do not always visually see how blacks are treated. The thoughts that go through the minds of white people could very well be the same as they were back in the 1700s, and some of them still openly express these thoughts. The only difference now is, there are laws and regulations that "all" Americans are "supposed" to follow, which does not allow for every one of their thoughts to be made publicly acceptable. So now we ask again, "Where do we start?" We need not to start before slavery, but right when slavery started. We need to look at all that was experienced at that time in order to really understand the entire process that Africans went through. We need to understand what really happened.

Critical Review of Scholarship:
We have reviewed a number or readings for this first framing question, one of them being, Something Torn and New by Ngugi Wa Thiong'o. This book talks about how the main goal of Europeans was to overpower the African culture by imprinting their culture and ways of living into the souls of the Africans. When discussing this book in class, we basically came up with the conclusion that the Europeans took everything away from the Africans. So not only did they take their freedom, they took their languages, their memories, and their culture. So when I say the Europeans wanted to "overpower" the African culture, they wanted to completely wipe it out as if it never existed. This book helps you to realize how much the Africans value their language, memories, culture, and their identity as a whole.
The next reading that I will be using to answer the first framing question is, What Black Studies is Not: Moving from Crisis to Liberation in Africana Intellectual Work by Greg Carr. Overall, this reading helps to teach us that what most of us think would fall under the category of African American Studies are wrong. It helps eliminate the things in which people believe Africana studies to be, allowing room for new knowledge and a deeper understanding of the topic. These things help individuals to begin to grasp the African experience as a whole, not just the things society wants to showcase which goes along with the "progression" we "seem" to see in America.
Lastly, I will be using content mentioned during lecture to help further answer this first framing question.


Discussion:
Within this discussion, I will be using the six conceptual categories to further help explain my answer to the question, "How do we undertake the study of African Experiences. The first conceptual category is Social Structure, which helps to understand how the citizens were organized. I am not sure if there is a specific name for the social structure that existed during slavery, so I am going to explain how I visualize it the best can. I feel like most social structures can be explained through the separation of a pyramid, therefore I will explain accordingly. I can see the pyramid only being separated with 4 parts. At the bottom of the pyramid, we would have the slaves that worked out in the fields under such harsh conditions. Then on top of them we would have the slaves that were considered to be "the help". Next would be all