question archive Historical Victimization,Though it is common knowledge that in America’s past, African Americans were abducted, kidnapped, imprisoned, brought across the Atlantic under ghastly conditions, and systematically disjointed from loved ones and those who were familiar to them, enslaved and brutalized as a people, it is surprising and appalling that it is not understood how this historical victimization has impacted the psyche and cultural development of the African American community
Historical Victimization,Though it is common knowledge that in America’s past, African Americans were abducted, kidnapped, imprisoned, brought across the Atlantic under ghastly conditions, and systematically disjointed from loved ones and those who were familiar to them, enslaved and brutalized as a people, it is surprising and appalling that it is not understood how this historical victimization has impacted the psyche and cultural development of the African American community. The widespread, intentional, and total disintegration of the original African community once brought to the United States caused family and generational ties to be lost forever. Furthermore, throughout American history, the one-down position of African Americans has been taken as a norm in America. Consider, for instance, that even early American presidents owned African American slaves (Marable, 2002).
During this time, African American slaves lived under a set of laws known as the Slave Codes. These codes had some variation among the different states, but the general points were similar. Some of the common edicts of Slave Codes were that slaves were considered property, not people. Slaves did not have the legal standing to testify in court against a Caucasian, they could not form contracts, or leave the plantation without express permission (Public Broadcasting Service, 2008). To further demonstrate the severity of the historical victimization that African Americans endured as slaves, consider that the killing of a slave was seldom considered murder and the rape of a slave women was considered a simple form of trespass and nothing more (Public Broadcasting System, 2008).
Even years and generations later, it took the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s to address the continued inequalities that persisted after the abolishment of slavery. These changes still did not result in substantial effort for wealth redistribution along racial lines, or help to provide cultural reorientation addressing race and racism (Winant, 2004, p. 21). Rather, racial injustices were simply seen as an outcome of prejudiced attitudes, which placed the outcomes of inequality as the responsibility of individual persons on a case-by-case basis, not a macro and structural bases. Naturally then, this left the gate open for persons to carry on a racially driven agenda, but on a covert rather than an overt basis. While official laws and Civil Rights may have been overtly established in the United States, very little stopped the covert practices of inequality in society that, while seeming to diminish slowly over generations, have taken an immeasurable toll on the African American population (Winant, 2004).
Domestic Violence in Asian American Families,The customs and norms among many Asian households have typically adhered to a patriarchal system where women are expected to remain subservient. In these types of family arrangements, it may be socially proscribed that the male head of household maintains discipline over the house (McGoldrick et al., 1996). This can translate to the use of physical force to maintain the status hierarchy, thereby “normalizing” domestic violence within such households. Such forms of violence often emerge due to a value conflict between the traditional patriarchal values of husbands and the modern gender equality sought by wives (McGoldrick et al., 1996). Indeed, the prevalence of divorce has increased among many Asian American couples, including those born in their country-of-origin. Police should keep in mind that the reasons for underreporting might be linked to immigration issues and/or fear of the police. This makes these women vulnerable to manipulation, coercion, and abuse. As such, some abusive husbands may take advantage of their immigrant wives’ status before they receive permanent residency (McGoldrick et al., 1996).
Furthermore, it may be that these women are simply not aware of the services and interventions that are available (Shusta et al., 2011). Indeed, it has been found that many Asian women simply use “self-help” forms of coping. In addition, Song (1996) found that roughly 70 percent of battered Asian women reported having little or no knowledge of the services available to them prior to the detection of the perpetrator’s actions. As Shusta et al. (2011) note, “the role of the peace officers in detecting, assessing, and intervening in family violence situations within Asian/Pacific American communities is a critical one…” (p.147). This is particularly true when considering the social constraints against reporting, the fact that many of these women may not be fluent in English, and that they may have little understanding of the U.S. social service system given that their birthplace is likely to be in their own nation-of-origin.