IV. Conclusion

Because commitment to the civic ethos alone has failed to guarantee equal opportunity for African Americans, it is critical for them to attempt to seek solutions in alternative commitments and identifications. Self-improvement through the conventional channels of the free market remains an option. However, resorting to the community for identification and self-esteem should not be considered to counter this effort. It can well be an ideal space to start a constructive criticism of the current social, economic, and cultural hierarchies.

*379 Despite its seeming anarchical and impulsive character, black “anti-citizenship” in this article is seen as a full-blown strategy of resistance against white cultural hegemony. In a multiethnic society, the civic ideology cannot be an exclusive source of cultural identity. By designing new strategies to reinvent and preserve their history, African Americans create infinite opportunities for equal cultural partnership with the superordinate groups. Blacks have been victims of the civic ethos and the humanistic universals upon which it is built because they have been constantly denied opportunities to take pride in an autonomous cultural identity. The denigration of specific patterns of black social behavior has been a source of tension between blacks and whites for decades, as it has promoted the growth of radical ideologies that might have exacerbated hostilities.

However plausible it might seem, the black self-help proposition remains unrealistically optimistic, as the history of black economic performance demonstrates that the odds for this disadvantaged community to achieve efficient integration are incontrovertibly flimsy when most societal forces work against it. The “free market solution” to the problem of integration is hardly any solution at all. In the absence of drastic policy measures to go about the problem of family break-up and some of the issues associated with it, such as poverty and anti-social behavior, self-help clearly provides few clues as to how to break down the initial disadvantage that comes with prejudice and marginalization.