DEBUNKING THE MYTH OF MONOLITHIC IDENTITY IN ORDER TO ADDRESS INADEQUATE LEADERSHIP WITHIN THE AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY
Morgan, Alysia Simone
DEBUNKING THE MYTH OF MONOLITHIC BLACK IDENTITY IN ORDER TO ADDRESS INADEQUATE LEADERSHIP WITHIN THE AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITYAlysia S. Morgan B.A.Gregory Havrilak, Ph.D.ABSTRACTAll peoples are struggling to blast a way through the industrial monopoly of races and nations, but the Negro as a whole has failed to grasp its true significance and seems to delight in filling only that place created for him….– Marcus Garvey, 1978Marcus Garvey had the foresight to predict the inner conflict that would lead to complacency and racial crisis within the African American community. This crisis, manifested by perpetuated notions of monolithic identity, led to a rejection of diversity and poor group self-esteem. As a result, the collective identity of African Americans is disoriented.The body of work to follow expels the myth that being African American in America means having a monolithic sense of identity. It is not only false to suggest all African Americans share one identity, but such perpetuations lead to larger problems for the establishment and functionality of leadership within the community. If a group member happens to also be a member of multiple subgroups (identifiers), they risk not only being discriminated against by mainstream society but also by members of their social group whom share some but not all of their identities.In Chapter one, I debunk the myth that monolithic identity ever existed by exploring the historical and cultural sources of group interests within the African American community. These associations or grouping have origins in the foundation of slavery, expanded through the origination of colorism and the black bourgeoisie, and were cemented through the completion of the Civil Rights Movement. Chapters two and three explore the historical patterns and traditions of black leadership in order to link leadership trends to positive group efficacy and shared interests. Chapter three concludes with a comprehensive explanation of the social undertakings that have lead to the current influx of ineffective leadership. Finally in chapter four, social theory is applied to plight concerning leadership and community efficacy in order to propose solutions to dilemmas within the African American community.While complete restoration of community dynamics is not possible, social theorists referenced in this thesis support the notion that it is possible to make positive strides toward restoring group efficacy and impactful leadership. It is only through appreciating the diversity within the African American community, that those in leadership positions can implement strategies that will restore order, set clear goals, and ensure equal representation on a national level.The self is indeed a threat to group identity.
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