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  • Writer's pictureHarroll Ingram Jr.

Feral Humans: The Foreign Culture of Black Americans

Feral is defined as being in a wild state. Being bestial and brutal like a wild animal. Animals deemed feral are often given that designation after escaping from captivity or domestication. The adjective feral is not always used to describe animals. Sometimes humans are labeled feral. Feral children have been found living in the forest having been raised by wild animals. Those children usually behave like the animals that raised them.

Feral children are said to lack the basic social skills that are normally learned during the enculturation process. Enculturation includes learning the values and norms of the surrounding culture. Feral children are sometimes unable to learn cultural items such as human speech, walking upright, using a toilet, or showing interest in other humans. However, in some cases, feral children have been enculturated. They socially interact and speak the language of the people in their surrounding areas. Those children are sometimes still considered feral when they fail to master the foreign culture. Therefore, although they can mimic the actions of those who enculturated them, they cannot imitate those actions well. For instance, the forest children who were raised by animals and walk on their four limbs cannot move as well as the animals that raised them. A centuries-old example of the making of feral children as a result of enculturation by dissimilar humans can be found when considering the enslavement of children forcibly taken from Africa in the 17th century.

When the Africans, including children, were taken from their homeland and brought to the Americas to serve as slaves they were aware of their natural culture. The mothers and fathers had taught the children to function properly in their homeland amongst their people. However, once in the Americas where a new culture was forced on them, those children were effectively made feral. They were taught minimal social skills and were often not allowed to speak unless spoken to. Their values were certainly different than what they were back home. The loss of their parents, after being sold to faraway plantations, also negatively affected the enculturation of the children. Those effects lasted for generations and continued to hamper the development of the descendants of the enslaved Africans, commonly referred to as black people, well into the 21st century.

Black people today are still maligned for having feral traits. Their social skills are said to be lacking as compared to those of the majority class (i.e., as compared to the descendants of the enslavers who brought the Africans to the Americas). Black people’s values, speech, and even the way they walk differs from the majority class. One might say black people are stuck between cultures. After centuries of unsuccessful attempts to fully adopt the culture of the majority class, perhaps returning to their natural culture would be best for black people.

Numerous black people have taken steps to learn the culture of their African ancestors. After accepting that the enculturation process in the Americas did not impart social skills and other traits that aligned with their souls, those blacks turned to ancient writings and other artifacts to glean cultural information that was spiritually satisfying. Over time, the number of blacks choosing to learn their natural culture has increased and that group has adopted a new designation. They call themselves “Woke”. Being Woke has instilled pride in many black people today and allowed them to rid themselves of the feral, or any other degrading, designation that was once used to describe them.

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