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Sankofa, Cultural Identity, and Education

Sociologists, psychologists, and educators disagree with each other about the extent to which the negative effects of natal alienation, understood as the involuntary separation from one’s sense of self, have been internalized within the psyche of African Americans. While there is substantial agreement that enslaved Africans were deliberately deprived of the ability to fully connect with their history, culture, and traditions, one view is that enslaved people, while alienated, did not necessarily internalize the resulting degradation. An opposing view, however, sees natal alienation as one of the evils of chattel slavery that has left a cruel legacy to those who, as descendants of enslaved Africans, are inextricably linked to the experience. What is not in dispute is the existence of a stubborn achievement ...

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