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Ethnographic Narrative - Essay Example

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Religion, community, education and family are all factors that play a huge role in African culture, as well as African American culture. These factors have played a huge role in the evolution of family life in the United States for my family. …
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Ethnographic Narrative
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Ethnographic Narrative

Download file to see previous pages... In 1990, my minister father along with his wife and six children emigrated from Malawi. As one of their children, I have lived with them in the suburbs of Indiana into my forties, as I am unemployed. My family will be my ethnographic project for African Americans, especially my mother as an unemployed African American woman. My parents struggled to adapt to the US as traditional parents, especially having to raise one American born and six African born children, including myself. Enculturation, education and religion in both the United States and Malawi, are issues that create stress and concern among the immigrated parents, as well as their children.
He décor in the house was of a Victorian nature with a cherry coffee table, pink floral couches, a dining set, a rug, lace doilies and silk floral arrangement that matched the sofa. I was concerned about this when growing up, and especially in my adulthood, as I expected a hint of culture reflected in their home décor. However, the house always had traditional food, as well as products, mostly from Central Africa. Tea was made in an African manner, meaning that it had a lot of milk and tea leaves. This was indicative of the manner in which most African American immigrants try to blend in with the society but still maintain their traditions (Greenhow, 2010).
My mother is very open about the major differences concerned in raising her children in both the United States and Malawi. One of the biggest differences that she experienced had to do with her pregnancy period (Greenhow, 2010). In Malawi, her family and friends would gather and enjoy their time together, but there were no formal parties of this sort in the United States. The baby items that she received for her United States born child included clothes, bottle warmers, diaper bags, carrying packs, and strollers. She never utilized the stroller since back in Africa; she carried her children on her back, not pushing them from one place using a cart as she referred to the stroller. She had the opinion that, unlike back home where concern was more on caring for pregnancy and the mother, in the U.S., more time and money were allocated to acquire items, which were needed by the baby. With her first six children, I included, she felt that the surrounding culture in Africa benefited them more, with a native language, Christian values found in school, church and the community. Back, in Africa, not only were we able to make friends rapidly, but parents befriended the other parents and sometimes, they were considered as part of the family (Greenhow, 2010). Here in the United States, my youngest sister, Kate, has gone through a starkly different experience. Before Kindergarten, she only spoke Swahili in the house, watched minimal TV and asked for little. She made her best friends in the church, especially the few that spoke Swahili as she was encouraged by her parents. They had few worries regarding Kate’s interaction with the children that came to our Holiness church. She always emphasized the rest of her children’s strength in their grounding back in Malawi, as well as our strength in numbers. However, as she enters fourth grade, my mother has begun to worry more about her. Being raised almost as an only child because of the new environment she was born in, my mother feels that she possesses a more American outlook towards life. Kate also finds difficultly when socializing compared to us since my parents worry about her safety, when she goes visiting at a friend’s house or playing outside. A good example of a difference between American parents and African parents is their lack of concern for making friends with the parents of their children’s playmates. Kate is also increasingly influenced by fashion trends, unlike us who wear African apparel most of the time. The strength of growing up together is what creates a strong bond between African Americans and their culture (Greenhow, 2010). Therefore, most traditional parents will work hard to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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