Historically, the interaction and relationships between African Americans was vulnerable to the impact of their ethnocentrism. In actuality, the impact of ethnocentrism on their relationships is still very significant. At this point, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that African Americans learn the concept of ethnocentrism from the early childhood and, in the course of life, they grow conscious of the righteousness of this concept because they feel their exclusion from the mainstream culture and society at large. On the other hand, ethnocentrism affects consistently their relationships and interaction that leads to the elaboration of specific patterns of behavior, which often aim at distinguishing their difference from the whites and belongingness to the blacks.
First of all, it is worth mentioning the fact that African Americans develop their ethnocentrism from the early childhood. They learn that they are different from the whites and other racial groups in the US. At the same time, they learn that they cannot count for the support of any other racial groups but their own. The African American brotherhood or sisterhood is the key concept, which defines the relationships between African Americans. They feel being a part of the one and the same community, whereas other non-African Americans are perceived as being hostile. As a result, African Americans attempt to develop the relationships of their brotherhood/sisterhood, to the extent, when they develop their own cultural norms and traditions and reject the dominant ideology and cultural norms. In such a situation, they develop their own language, model of behavior, fashion and other issues, which distinguish them from other groups and make them feel being a part of the African American community.
In such a context, their relationships are traditionally close and emotional. They develop their own language and style to distinguish themselves from others. The intended difference from other racial groups make African Americans feel not just different but rather quite estranged. This is probably why close interpersonal relationships with each other are so important for them. In fact, African Americans appreciate their relationships, their reputation, and their image in the African American community above all. For instance, African American males always attempt to look being strong and independent to show their power. Hence, this model of behavior may lead to the conflicts within the African American community, when interests and ambitions of its representatives come into clashes.
Furthermore, the development of interpersonal relationships is very important for African Americans because they always strive to gain the recognition of their community members. In this regard, they are very concerned with their image and often they have to create the image the community will accept, instead of staying themselves like they want to be. Therefore, the community plays an important part in the life of African Americans.
On the other hand, they are accustomed to feel being a sort of outcasts, whereas their marginalization makes their interaction and relationships quite complex because they often violate the rules accepted in the society, although they attempt to follow rules that are established in their small communities. In the course of time, ethnocentrism of African Americans contributes to their seclusion and they focus on their community solely avoiding any contacts with other communities, which they often view as being hostile to them.
Roszak, T. (2002). Where The Wasteland Ends. New York: Routledge.