- Immigration Issue
- Analysis of the African-American ethnic group
- Evidence of Ethnicity in Takaki’s book “A Different Mirror”
- American identity and achievements
- The challenges of ethnicity
- Future prospects of the groups in today’s multicultural America
- Introduction to Nigeria’s ethnical problem
- Formation of ethnic groups in Nigeria
- The challenges of ethnicity in Nigeria
- Future prospects of the groups in today’s multicultural Nigeria
- Work cited:
In America, there is a great racial division between people and it is evident without having to involve research. People will look at each other and pinpoint that someone’s complexion is foreign. They glance at each other on the streets and the looks on their faces automatically indicate presence of a racial divide or some form of insecurity.
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This paper reviews different perspectives on the issue of ethnicity in both America and Nigeria and compares the different cultural groups under the two different ethnical settings. Although America is known to be home for millions of foreigners, arguably all Americans have a trace from foreign land such as Africa, Asia or Europe.
Ethnicity is an issue that bothers many and creates tension even among the settled Indigenous people who have been in their native land for ages. In line with Takaki’s writing “A different mirror” (54), the Native Americans were as a result of settlements by people of various ethnic groups such as Africans, pilgrims and Asians in the nineteen sixties. History would point out that some of the settlements were incidental such as Christopher Columbus mistaken landing at an Island in America, thinking it was Asia.
It is quite often to find people in the street inquiring about racial backgrounds indirectly by asking others where they come from, just as they would comfortably exchange some greeting lines with strangers. According to Takaki (57), Americans have the history of the past which make them view America as “European in ancestry”. In the illusion of labelling countries or ethnic boundaries, people have built a concept that America is defined as white.
Today America has radically changed which are evident at the leadership level. The reality has resided on people’s minds and racism is not ubiquitous as the majority can trace their background to other countries. People no longer judge others by their looks. We are all equal but this change has however originated form a far end.
Analysis of the African-American ethnic group
As per history, Takaki indicated that African-Americans were brought to America back in 1619 as slaves or servants hired under an agreement but ended up as slaves. According to Takaki, slavery originated as a hidden agenda. The whites were frightened by the racial significance but the consequences were evident during the nineteenth century when there was political debate over slavery.
On a close reference to Takaki’s writing, Africans must have been great contributors to the economy due to the labour force for farming. Although the debate almost drowned the nation, the issue of African –Americans segregation was still evident through their civil rights associations to push for equal civil rights and social ranks.
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African –Americans were actually the minority group but their struggle had a huge impact over the America’s social, political and moral vision for liberation. From his jail cell, Martin Luther king expressed his concern over freedom and fought for civil rights which are evident of the America’s fate today.
According to Takaki, this is a group that has hugely contributed to America’s ethnical and racial diversity. One such example illustrated in his writing include the cruelty one black man had to undergo of being denied lecture classes at Harvard Medical school due to complainers among his fellow students. In spite of the cruelty, he endured the humiliation and abandoned his dreams of returning back to Africa to become a national volunteer and joined the army.
Evidence of Ethnicity in Takaki’s book “A Different Mirror”
In his analysis, Takaki indicated the issue of Japanese-Americans being placed in confinement camps during the World War II unlike their German and Italian- Americans
Tahiti rhetorically inquires the outcome of Americans being left out of their culture. For instance description of a society one does not belong to or feel to be part of. After a visit to the American Virginia shore, Takaki indicated that, it was evident that America belongs to different ethnical groups or races and this is the reason behind various transformation of the national identity. Americans invitation, reaction or response made people view themselves on a different mirror. In line with America’s history illustrated by Takaki, there is a good indication that the diverse groups are able to pull together and view a common past regarding lives and circumstances.
Takaki expressed some concern pertaining language where there is lending or trading of languages as indicated in the Shakespeare’s writing “Tempest” which was expressed as a metaphor of undertakings in the new settled America.
The issue of racial degradation is evident when the black people face a negative crowd describing racism, discrimination, isolation and hostility. According Takaki (108), these are the stereotypes that contribute to poverty and thus strengthen prejudice. Blacks were portrayed to lack freedom and thus the reason for lack of proper skilled jobs.
Irish immigrants were anti-blacks supporters, violent and thus racists and this is evident when they compete for the unskilled labour positions. Enslaved women were forced into being subjects for satisfaction of erotic needs of their masters.
The Chinese did not move to America as slaves, they migrated and Takaki indicates them being refereed to as pernicious by the president to discourage their invasion. They were regarded as a weaker race and this was enough evidence of ethnicity. There were also dishonest claims that the Chinese labour had commanded a higher market prize which was just a claim to eliminate them. In his writing, Takaki regards this as a scapegoat over racism. The Americans were envious of other nationalities.
Ethnicity is also evident when Americans refer to their land as “Occupied Mexico”. The issue of racism is also evident when the U.S. War department tries to evacuate Japanese from the Pearl Harbour only to indicate the act as unjustifiable after evaluating its effect on the economy taking into consideration that majority of the Hawaiians were Japanese immigrants. The issue was traced to fear for competition among Americans bearing in mind the loyalty, handwork ethics and honesty of the Japanese.
The Asian-Americans participated in the World War II and racism comments were evident when there were claims that the Americans were never in need of the selective volunteer services of Indians.
Lastly one main quotation by Takaki in his book is the inquiry about the delayed dream. He wished to find out what promised changes had taken place or did the promises just get ignored? He conclusively stated the importance of stopping those who distort the reflecting glass instead of blaming or hating the image. A mirror that reflects reality does not distort the past and thus promotes future advancement.
American identity and achievements
America is drastically changing from the original concept to an ethnic concept of the way people think of themselves. People have realized their sense of belonging and their nation. One can feel proud to be an American due to lack of ethnicity. Perplexity has carried away most Americans such that their national identity and its future are more important.
The challenges of ethnicity
Philosophically we can argue that with these great trends to fight ethnicity, would black become ‘more black’ to a point where the issue of ethnicity is circumvented back to status quo? This is one ethical challenge that need to be addressed urgently especially in the higher learning institutions where young minds have not yet settled and interaction is quite high.
One other main ethnical challenge people would have to face in future is the issue of culture. The multiplicity of cultures would either threaten or strengthen social unity. Most citizens would prefer a more homogeneous united home with shared symbols and information. Most Americans advocate for unity. Would the longed for unity sacrifice American literate culture? The same Americans who support unity would still have to support multicultural education as a way of raising competent and informed children.
Most institutions will encourage multicultural studies because intellectuals need to learn racial diversity. Multicultural studies are also known to allow people to include different groups’ view-point and understand the American history in a better way.
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Future prospects of the groups in today’s multicultural America
There is ample need for the existing ethnical groups to develop a way of learning, understanding, appreciation and accepting each other’s ethnic group. This would involve the culture, history and economic background. This is also a way of gathering information in pursuit for an accurate history. In line with Takaki (17), the future of America with regard to ethnicity depends on which mirror people will decide to reflect their images on. America belongs to many races or groups and by allowing different people to mingle freely within, then the national identity changes time to time to accommodate all and allow reflections from different mirrors which create the same image.
Introduction to Nigeria’s ethnical problem
This is a country that is arguable one of the world’s most ethnically diverse country. The county is hardly hit by ethnicity to an extent that is has become a common scholarly variable included in all subjects because of its diverse effects. According to Lewis et al (5), ethnicity has become a critical subject of history and study in Nigeria because of its impact.
In relation to Lewis et al (4), Ethnicity is recruiting or giving aid to with the aim of obtaining back some gain in certain circumstances such as contests, debates or when people need to work together. It is a term that may be used to refer to tribalism or communalism especially in the African setting. Unlike in the American setup, Nigeria ethnicity is an aspect of identification, classification for religious, institutional, intelligence or state power. This is the main reason it is not a matter of shared or common tail but trait for categorization or self-identification.
Formation of ethnic groups in Nigeria
Ethnic groups date back in time when there was existence of kinship leadership styles in Africa. Just like in America, ethnicity is traceable to the immigration patterns in Nigeria. The traces were identifiable in relation to the activities people engaged in, colonial authorities, missionaries and political institutions.
The challenges of ethnicity in Nigeria
Unlike in America, the ethnical conflicts in developing countries such as Nigeria are borne from the fact that the founders of ethnic groups had varied cultural practices and believe. Initially there was lack of civilization and this caused bloody misunderstanding or mutual hostility with regard to differences in language and believes. People conflict not on the principals of disagreeing on matters of interest but because of their historical backgrounds. The enormity is carried from the historical point of view and not disputes about principals of interest.
Future prospects of the groups in today’s multicultural Nigeria
The future prospects to solve the issue of ethnicity are argued to be provision of settlement schemes where ethnic groups will be encouraged to share and work together. On the other hand the modernization theory crusades for advancement of more charismatic leadership among national parties, political movements and youth movements. This would enforce better communication grounds and need for more compelling modernization. The cultural practices that kill social being ought to be done away with.
Most of us would agree that modernization would be a key factor to eliminating ethnicity buy in the Nigerian setting, it is not. Today there is political divide along the social status brought about by modernization as opposed to the anticipated cultural diversity. This is a major challenge to the issue of ethnicity since social growth or modernization is expected to promote elimination of ethnicity but it currently appears to support it.
Most critics would point to the modernization as the main contributory factor to today’s ethnicity but colonialism can also be another main cause in Nigeria. This can be evident through the discrimination in the job market, remunerations, housing, recreation centres, churches and even burial grounds.
Lewis, Peter, Etannibi Alemika, and Michael Bratton. Down to Earth: Changes in Attitudes toward Democracy and Markets in Nigeria, Lagos: AFROBAROMETER & USAID. 2002.
Takaki, Ronald. A different Mirror: a History of Multicultural America. Britain: Back Bay and Co. 2008.