Migration and Racial Formations Research Paper

Pages: 2 (688 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Race

¶ … Migration and Racial Formations among Somali Immigrants in North America by Adbi Kusow (2006) examines how Somali immigrants view their own identity in light of how they are perceived once they have arrived in North America. The author notes that the identity choice for these immigrants is complicated by views in the U.S. Of Somalis as "black," a group with which Somalis do not traditionally identify. This creates identity confusion for many Somali immigrants. While skin colour is one of the primary differentiators of social stratification in North America, in Africa tribal or religious affiliation is more common. In Somalia tribal affiliation is the norm. This is exacerbated by the reality that Somalia as a sovereign state did not exist until 1960 and for most its history since then it would reasonably be categorized as a failed state. There is little national identity for Somalis, when compared with ethnic and tribal identity. That most are Muslim further differentiates them from what most North Americans would consider to be "black" identity.

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Somalis tend to view themselves in terms of ethnic or tribal identity. Respondents in the study noted that many had never met a white person, and never known about friction between blacks and whites. The entire concept of defining somebody by their skin colour never occurred to them, partly because nobody knew anyone of a different skin colour. There is in fact some confusion about the entire idea of using skin colour as a means of social stratification as the concept is entirely unknown in Somalia -- the respondents would only have learned of it upon arriving in North America and many still have only rudimentary understanding of the concept or do not accept it.

TOPIC: Research Paper on Migration and Racial Formations Among Assignment

Race is, however, embedded in the U.S. construction of identity. For centuries, the U.S. was a slave state, and as such one's race was a critical differentiator of the rights that one would have. There was even a "one-drop rule," wherein one drop of black blood would make somebody be considered to be black, even if they… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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