Kenyan Immigrants in the United States: Acculturation, Coping Strategies, and Mental Health

By Lilian Odera | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4
Acculturative Stressors Among
Kenyan Immigrants

Thus far, this book has discussed various factors that may be salient to Kenyan immigrants in the United States, as well as how these factors impact the acculturation process. This chapter builds on this previous discussion of the acculturation process by exploring some of the challenges that Kenyan immigrants may encounter upon arriving in the United States. Although the acculturation process may not necessarily be stressful to all immigrants, I posit that given disparities between host and traditional cultures, most immigrants are generally confronted by an array of challenging experiences. Changes in immigration laws, especially during the decade following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, are but some of the factors that may pose challenges to immigrants as they settle in the United States.

Most immigrants often have to cope with the hassles of crosscultural transition as well as the burden of immigrant and minority status (Berry, Kim, Minde, & Mok, 1987). Black immigrants from predominantly Afrocentric nations such as Kenya often enjoy racial dominance in their home country and may not be accustomed to the United States societal categorization of Blacks as racial minorities. More often than not immigrants may have to overcome formidable barriers of social disadvantage and ethnic discrimination to improve their status in the host society. These stressors that result from the acculturation process have been referred to in immigration literature as acculturative stressors (Berry & Kim, 1988; Berry, 1980) and have

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