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Compare and Contrast Essay: Difference and Similarities Between African and American Cultures

Differences and Similarities between African and American Cultures

Culture is defined as the social behaviors and norms that steer a particular community. Culture establishes a character of a person. In the diverse societies present in the world, culture has both similarities and differences. To identify a culture, there are various aspects of it to be put under consideration. The elements portray the features to utilize while comparing and contrasting cultures. Culture can be outlined using religion, food, language, politics, morals, and sports. African culture has a lot of similarities in their way of life as compared to American. African and American culture is one of the most diverse in the world. The two cultures have interacted in the past and have extended their interaction to date, facilitating some similarities in their cultures. During the colonization regime, both Africans and Americans were colonized by the Europeans, and they left a significant trace of their culture in this region. The paper will outline the difference and similarities between African and American cultures.


Religion hands phraseology to several cultures. Religion is a unit that provides a guide to human life by establishing rules and guidelines that steer religious communities. Christianity was introduced to Africa through missionaries during the pre-colonial era. Later, colonization kicked in. At that time, people were required to join Christianity or be a slave. A similar demographic happened in America (Harris, 2018). A good number of Americans, particularly those settled in the north, have faith in Christianity. Both Africans and Americans share the same religious holidays. They both acknowledge the birth of Jesus and the Easter holidays. They both have a similar way of blithe and worshipping during a religious holiday. The Islamic culture in the American region also has the same holidays as African Muslims and marshals fasting and other ceremonies.

Food is another angle for describing people’s culture. African and American cultures have a significant relationship when it comes to food. In Africa, when a lot of food is prepared, it serves as a sign of celebration. All celebrations registered a significant number of all food types. Slaughtering of a lamp is used to honor special commemoration. Africans graze cows, chickens, and goats in large numbers. The animals were utilized as a source of food since the pre-colonial regime. During the pre-colonial days, most African communities were hunters and gatherers. This form of life established meat as their staple food. They could find quickly cooked vegetables and fruits as part of their diet. Africans would drink and eat their food while raw. But Europeans introduced Africans to cooking when they settled in their land. Americans take the same diet comprising a lot of meat. Harris (2018) suggested that Americans mix white and red meat. Americans domesticate turkeys, which are slaughtered at the time of the special event. Chicken is also on the menu of Americans’ diet. As part of their daily meal, America has a high demand for fish and seafood, the same as Africans.


Africa hosts 30% of the world’s language. Swahili is the most spoken language in Africa. The north part of Africa practice Afro-Asiatic languages (Spring, 2017). The Niger-Congo language is the largest ethnic language in the world. The language is also used in Western, Central, Eastern, and Southern Africa and includes the Bantu language. Nilo-Saharan comprises 140 languages scattered in Eastern and Central Africa. The oldest language is believed to be used by the Khoisan community, who are only situated in South Africa. It is also a minor language. Africa consists of hundreds of languages, and if dialects practiced by several ethnic families are also considered, the numbers grow. These languages and dialects do not portray equal importance. A few and others use some by millions. In America, there is no official language. Even though many languages are practiced in America, daily spoken non-English languages are Spanish, Chinese, French, and German. Ninety percent of the United States speaks and understands English. Language difference is a strong point between African and American cultures.

Music is a universal language that cuts across all boundaries. It is another culture between these two continents. American music was formulated by Native Americans that inhabited North America. The message in American music is always like a story, which creates a difference from that of Africans. According to Spring (2017), Americans shifted from old ways of singing to regular singing, which involved singing through notes, in parts, and meters other than hymn arrangements, which were considered tuneless and meterless. African music consists of different forms of drums. This makes their music concentrate much on rhythm, tone, and timbre.

In conclusion, language and culture are elements used in understanding people’s way of life and the effective way of approaching one another. Research on African and American culture has portrayed remarkable similarities and differences between the two continents. They were both colonized by European nations, with Britain settling on large parts of these two continents. The British introduced all the food, moral values, governance, language, and religion that the two continents practice. After the Europeans left, the two cultures established their own norms. The result led to some cultural diversity between the two. Even though their culture is diverse at some point, there exist similarities in culture and language that they can both embrace and appreciate.


Harris, A. (2018). Description and Comparison in Cultural Anthropology. Routledge.

Spring, J. (2017). The Intersection of Cultures. Routledge.


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