Cultural conflicts of African youth in the U.S.

by Jennifer Abiram

To escape many pressing issues in their native countries such as abject poverty, lack of basic services, crime and corruption, millions of Africans move into the United States of America. Some migrate with their young children while others start families here in the U.S.
The main objective for the migration of such a large number of people is to obtain a better life for themselves and their families. As much as this nation has to offer, the transition process for African youth is not easy.
In the academic and educational fields African students face many challenges. This is especially noticeable where African youth were born and bred in nations with differing teaching and study methods. For example, Akua Sarpong, came from Ghana to the US three months ago . She struggles to maintain an A average in her Language Arts and Social Studies classes.
However, she does exceptionally well in her Science and Math classes. Akua shies away from answering questions and getting involved in class discussions because of the fear of being misunderstood and possibly mocked for her ‘funny’ tone.
She has a lower grade for these classes because she has scored low in class participation, reducing her grade average. Irrespective of academic excellence, the typical African youth has to deal with culture conflicts, language barriers and an unfamiliar education system. Instead of consuming fufu and African chicken soup, American cuisine like pizza, fried chicken and hamburgers are consumed to fit in with the cool crowd. This can lead to tensions with parents as children refuse to prepare and eat food from home and eat more fast foods.
Fashion trends, jewelry and hairstyles makes one subject to being bullied and ridiculed if one does not fit-in with the ‘cool’ crowd. Parents’ intervention or decision on “acceptable friends” is seen as “intrusion” or interference that could create tensions at home. Irrespective of cultural conflicts, there is all the time an avenue to resolve them. The Center for the Study of Youth and Political Conflict that aims toward students in middle and high school is one such area. Africa is considered the youngest continent with seventy percent of the population being below thirty years old.
The large numbers of African youth in the U.S. must be encouraged to host campaigns and awareness programs at parks and community centers. in hopes of integrating and fostering tolerance and acceptance of diverse cultures. African role models such as Akosua Busia, Lupita Nyong’o and Djimon Hounsou who excel in their respective fields, must one way or the other engage the up and coming youth in mentoring programs.In conclusion, given potential cultural conflicts at home and elsewhere, African youth in the US should be directed and guided to facilitate their integration into mainstream America. After all, where one come from does not have to define where one is going.
Sources/ References:
1.Palgrave Macmillan, global academic publisher for scholarship, research and professional learning.
2.Center for the study of youth and political conflict.

Jennifer Abiram is a 12th grader in the New Jersey Public educational System

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Posted by on Jan 12 2015. Filed under Community News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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