The Struggles of Cultural Assimilation of Nigerian Women in America

Topics: Nigeria, Cultural identity, Identity Pages: 11 (4402 words) Published: December 16, 2011

In this articled will attempt to explain the historical oppression of the Nigerian woman in her home country and how each little Nigerian girl is brought up to submit to the men in her life for her entire life span ,living in the background without a voice but many duties. It will explain how this woman moves to America and finds new freedoms and is presented with the option of assimilating into the new culture or maintain her country’s ways. The identity formation, issues and challenges are subjected to the theories of personality and social change. As the Nigerian woman finds herself in America and trying to understand her new surrounding and to adjust to the new freedoms that she encounters, she must also make the decisions of how much of assimilation of the new culture and how much retention of her own culture does she acquire. This article will show how the course in diversity has equipped and prepared this student to be more competent in working with this population.

In reviewing the research on immigrant women and Nigerian women as a whole for comparison I interviewed 50 women to see if these women agreed with the documented research; 15 women from Nigeria residence in US for more than 10 years, 10 women from Nigeria residence in US for less than 10 years, 8 women born in US with Nigerian parents, 10 women from different countries of Africa, 3 women from Hattie, 2 women from the Dominican Republic, and 3 women from America who have traveled or lived abroad. All of the fore mention women were asked questions gleamed from the documented writings of the cited researchers. The research supports the hypothesis that these women suffer depression and rejection due to cultural differences. The complication of trying to thrive in a society that is different from their cultural up bring and retaining their cultural identity intact posses the issues of identity. The women are faced with the vast opportunity of the western woman. In the eyes of the Nigerian woman she sees her counterpart working and managing a household and having a clear and challenging voice in the home. The Nigerian woman witness that the uplifted head and confident voice of the American woman is leading to promotions (Harvey & Allard, 2009) and the image of the success looks and dresses different than she does. It is not to be said that the Nigerian women are not in position of leadership in their country, but it is so underrepresented and when a women does make to that level she still loses her identity as she takes the role of the men who are in leadership in order to effective (Nekby, L., Rödin, M., & Özcan, G. 2009). This is an ongoing trail for the Nigerian women as they continue to adapt to new cultural identities in and out of their country. In the interviewing process it was discovered that Nigerian women who have been in the country for more than 10 years report that they have made a way to work in the community and maintain their cultural identity. Some report that when they first got to America that it was hard because they were affluent in their country and had little say about the decisions for their life but here none of that mattered and they had to start over. One thing that ring true for them all is that they found a new freedom in the women they encountered. Culture shock as explained by the women was an understatement to describe the feelings they had as they tried to maneuver through all of the different attitudes and beliefs. Group identity defined by these women was reference to how they perceived their inclusion into the majority group and how they reflected on their position in their own cultural group (Tatum,M, L., 2000). The women who came to America at an older age report that it was harder for them to adapt to the freedom that the culture offered. One lady expressed that she saw a woman instructing her husband to complete some chores and used a demanding tone, “I thought, oh my what a...
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