Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Ethiopian Assimilation in America

For my 'Micropolitics of Development' course, I had to read a study about the Chinese assimilation in Thailand. I used their measures of assimilation to understand the assimilation of Ethiopians here in America. Are Ethiopians assimilated or is the culture of the new generation as pure as the native Ethiopians? The factors measured in the research are:
1) many first generation Ethiopians can speak Amharic?
2) many first generation Ethiopians regularly practice their parents religion in its pure form?
3) Cultural many first generation ethiopians practice standing up for an elder (norr) or listening to amharic music?
4) many first generation Ethiopians know the history and studies of Ethiopia?

Based on these measures I would say Ethiopians have assimilated in America
*most first generation Ethiopians can not speak Amharic...probably 1 out of 10
*most first generation Ethiopians do not know the history of their country beyond the facts that it was never colonized and that Emperor Haile Selassie ruled in Ethiopia(im sure many do not even know the time period of his rule
*As far as religion, I would say 1 out of 6 practices their parents’ religion (many do not because they cannot understand the language)
*Cultural practices remain alive in first generation Ethiopians but its strength is dying. People do not stand up for elders-norr in amharic- but they do offer their seats to them and give them priority when serving food.

What could be the reasons for such a fast paced assimilation of Ethiopians in US?
A) Ethiopians are sparsely arranged throughout the United States and therefore do not get in contact with other Ethiopians
B) Ethiopians are living in a foreign country where to be economically successful you have to speak English well and you do not have to have Ethiopian customs