African American Culture and Alternative Dispute Resolution
African American Attitudes about Dispute Resolution and Other Matters That May Affect Mediation
Race and ethnicity are intricately linked to culture. Accordingly, African American people's race and culture are inextricably connected:
[D]ifferent cultures value their common elements differently, insofar as one puts the accent here, another there, and that is the ordering and the relations of elements to one another that determines the differences between the cultures. Thus, culture is not a static entity, but ever changing. The backdrop of this process is the continuous and unifying stream in [African American] life which is a combination of Africa, the American south, slavery, poverty, migration, and racism. It is a stream expressed in music, family life, language, love, religion, and countless other manifestations of a people's orientation to the world that constitutes [African American] culture.
In the previous section, I concluded that culture is of critical importance in mediation of family issues. Because race and culture are intertwined, race becomes an integral part of mediation too.
Empirical studies have shown that race affects negotiations. For example, when adversaries are members of the same race, they bargain more cooperatively with one another. Same-race disputants are more cooperative because they trust each other more easily than they trust people of different racial groups. In contrast, intercultural adversaries endeavor to "maintain a certain face or posture in the eyes of someone different." This posturing influences the parties' efforts to solve their problem.
(Excerpted from: African Americans "Are Not Carbon Copies" of White Americans - the Role of African American Culture in Mediation of Family Disputes , 13 Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution 405, 420-435 (1998) (280 Footnotes))