Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

Acculturation of Nigerian Immigrants in Minnesota

Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

Acculturation of Nigerian Immigrants in Minnesota

Article excerpt

Introduction

This study takes a quantitative approach to investigating the acculturation of a group of West African immigrants, specifically Nigerian adolescents and youths, living in Minnesota. Similar other studies have been done with the Hispanics, Arabians, and East Africans, to name a few. The results gathered from this study will be compared to the study by Nyang (2010) on the acculturation of East-African groups (Ethiopians and Somalis) in Minnesota, in order to make an extrapolation between Nigerians and Ethiopians and Somalis. It is intended that comparing the three aforesaid groups, would support the drawing of inferences on why they were different or similar.

Acculturation has become a very important topic in cross-cultural psychology as it relates to how people who develop in a different culture come to adapt to another cultural context, psychologically and sociologically.

The term acculturation is used to describe the process of adaptation or even assimilation of an individual with different ethnic background, who come into prolonged and firsthand contact with another culture (Berry, 1989; Dana, 1996; Redfield, Linton, & Herskovits, 1939). In Dana's (1996) study, she proposed that specific phases are presented in the process of acculturation. Those phases are pre-contact, contact, conflict, crisis, and adaptation. She found that stress was a presenting factor in the contact, conflict and crisis phases. These factors, although relevant, are, however, not explored in this study.

In Berry and Sam (1997), acculturation is the change that has resulted from migration, colonization, or other form of intercultural experience. Additionally, the term acculturation includes two dimensions: psychological acculturation and adaptation. That is, the psychological changes and outcome that results from experiencing acculturation. Dana (1996) suggested that acculturation yield different form of adaptation. They are separated, marginalized, integrated, bicultural, and assimilated. These are used to determine the extent to which one is Anglo-acculturated.

African Immigrants in America

America represents a big melting pot. Between 1980 and 1995, more than half of the foreign-born that resides in the Unites States came to this country (Arthur, 2000). That is, the number of immigrants coming to the United States has more than doubled. In Gordon's (1998) study, the number of Nigerians coming to the United States in the 1970s was around 670. This population increased to 6,818 in 1995. Noticeably, Africans make significant contribution to the economic enrichment in this country--specifically in engineering, medicine, and higher education, to name a few. Unknown to many in this country, Africans are becoming some of the most educated people in this continent (Arthur, 2000; Rumbaut, 1994).

The migration of Africans does not represent a monolithic entity in that the different cultures and countries in Africa represent the dynamic differences among these migrant groups. Most Africans who migrated to the United States do so voluntarily to seek better lives and to pursue economic goals (Arthur, 2000). As a result, they become more successful than they were. Hence, they share the economic benefit that results from their migratory experience with both their families and the local community that they left back in Africa. In doing so, they become the agent of change they seek through their active engagement with the social, political, and economic development of their culture of origin.

Nigerians represents 17% of African immigrant population living in the United States compared to less than 1%in the 1970s. The observed trend has shifted largely in the last 20 years (Gordon, 1998). African immigrants come to the United States pursue higher education achievement and economic viability. Then return back to Africa to become contributors of a better political and economic system, which is the goal most engendered before they moved to the United States. …

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