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In: Film and Music

Submitted By coco292
Words 1438
Pages 6
Sophie Baker
Final paper


This film is meant to highlight the specific challenge of living in America as an Ethiopian Immigrant. Since 2002, 17,221 children were adopted from Ethiopia. In addition, 134,547 Ethiopian immigrants were living in America in 2007. This film is intended to be a resource for adoptive parents and community members who work with immigrants. This includes schoolteachers, doctors, counselors, and employers.

Background on Ethiopia:

There are 90 individual languages spoken in Ethiopia. Ethiopia is broken down into different tribes. Each tribe has an individual language, But Amharic is the language that primary schools use. The music of Ethiopia is extremely diverse, with each of the country's 80 ethnic groups being associated with unique sounds. The main sport in Ethiopia is football(soccer). The best-known Ethiopia cuisine consists of various vegetable or meat side dishes and entrées, usually a wat, or thick stew, served atop injera, a large sourdough flatbread made of teff flour. One does not eat with utensils, but instead uses injera to scoop up the entrées and side dishes.

Radiet is 16 years old and has come to the states to get a better education and to have a family. She has been brought up without a family. Her dream is to have a good education and to explore another country. She is looking for a cultural change and value dimension through the different cultures.

Interviewer: My interviewer is Kathryn Sorrels. He wrote the intercultural communication book for our class. There is an interview so that he can see how Radiet interacts though both cultures.

View of coming to America:
Radiet has told me that coming to the states was a huge change for her. She said that everything was really huge even they people. The weirdest thing for was the rules in a household. The food was a new thing for her too. When she got situated in the house she said that the bathroom rules were interesting, she did not know how to use a toothbrush. She made a statement about the gender roles in America. The gender roles in America are very different from Ethiopia. In America the father of the house is most important, But in Ethiopia the women is the head of the house. The man goes to work and hangouts while the wife works and helps the children.

Arriving back in Ethiopia: Radiet said it was weird returning back because she was use to all of the huge things in America and returning back to a place where there wasn’t a lot there. Radiet said that coming back home was home sweet home and Ethiopia will always be her home but there were two different worlds out there.

Topics of interest:

Food: Cultural insight: Ethiopians eat with their right hand instead of with utensils. Before dinner, Ethiopian hosts bring a pitcher to the table for their guests to wash their hands.

Interview subjects: Adoptive parents and guidance counselors, ESL teachers helping students adjust to American culture. Filming should be of Ethiopian kids eating with their familes.

Questions to help adoptive family or those helping with assimilation and integration:

For adoptive parents:(Do you allow your children to eat with thier hands?)(Do you ever insist that your children use utensils even though they are use to eating with their right hand?) (Do you take your kids to Ethiopian resturants?)For counselors, employers, teachers etc: (Should immigrants that continue to use their hands be marginalized? At what point do immigrants need to adapt to their new culture’s food and styles of eating?)

Cultural insight: Ethiopians do not like to share any unpleasant bad news. Often, it is culturally acceptable to lie or hide an unpleasant truth.

Interview subjects: adoptive parents who have struggles with adoptive kids lying. Employers who have difficulty communcaiting with their immigrant employees.

Questions to help adoptive family or those helping with assimilation and integration:

For Adoptive parents: (Is there something important that you need to tell me that happened at school?) (Your lunch was not eaten, was there a reason why?)

For employers :(Did someone offend you at work but you were afraid to let your supervisor know?) When talking to a woman they might not be comfortable or experienced at driving. (How much time did you experience driving in Ethiopia?)

Non Verbal:

Cultural insight: Children in Ethiopian do not make eye contact with adults because it disrespectful. In America, it is respectful to not look people in the eye. This cultural difference could cause problems especially in adoptive families.

Interview subjects: Adoptive families whose kids struggle with eye contact. Counselors and employers

For adoptive parents:( Are your kids afraid to look you in the eye?) (Do they avoid serious questions with you?) (How can you make them more comfortable talking to Americans while looking them in the eye?)

For those working with immigrants: (How can we appreciate the culture shock the immigrant may be facing? (How can we help those particularly who are low skilled laborers to be comfortable asking questions of those in authorities?) (How can refugees who may be involuntary migrants adjust to an American melting pot, find other migrant networks, and acculturate and learn to decode non-verbal cues like the meaning of eye contact?)

Cultural dress/ behavior:

Cultural insight: Ethiopians are modest dressers. Men always wear their nicest pants in public. They would never were sweatpants out in public. They always wear their nice shoes. They no do not wear tennis shoes. Women wear very modest clothing. They wear long skirts and long sleeves to cover themselves up all the way. They do not show their shoulders. In America if you were to wear spagetti straps in Ethiopia you would be showing disrespect.

Interview subjects: English speaking adult Ethiopians who are living in America and can explain cultural dress norms in Ethiopia.

Adoptive parents: (When is okay to tell your children what to wear?) (Do adoptive parent near to wear different kind of clothing?) (Would a bikini be offensive to the child?) (How is Ethiopian culture different from African American culture?)(What other ways do you preserve the Ethiopian culture?)
Relationships/ family roles:

Cultural insight: In Ethiopia the men of the house are the head of the house. In the house the children do not speak to the father unless they are spoken to. The older brother is responsible for taking care of all of the other family members and protecting them from any danger. He often will not marry until his sisters are married and cared for.

Interview Subjects: Adult Ethiopians living in America who can explain family roles to adoptive families and counselors. Adoptive families who have successfully integrated children into their homes.

First two weeks in the States:

Cultural insight: The first two weeks are the hardest for people to get used to because they are the weeks that you have to learn quick.

Interview subjects: (Is it okay to have your child sleep alone?) (How do you teach your kid how to use the toilet?) (How do you teach your adoptive kids to respect the authority in the household?)(How do you teach your kids to use the shower and bath?) (How to tell you’re adoptive kids the rules of how your family is run?)


Interview subjects: People talking about the positives of adoption and the immigrants into the coming of America.

Worked Cited

"An Immigrant's Adjustment to American Life." Http:// N.p., n.d. Web. "Ethiopia." Http:// N.p., July 2009. Web. Personal interview
J. Baker, personal communication, November 24, 2012)

Killion, Crystal. "Helping Adopted Children Thrive." Weblog post. N.p., n.d. Web. Radostitz, Rita. "My Ethiopian Daughters." Http:// N.p., n.d. Web. Sorrells, Kathryn. (2013). Intercultural Communication Globalization and social justice :Los Angeles: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Terrazas, Aaron. "African Immigrants in the United States." Http:// N.p., n.d. Web. --------------------------------------------
[ 1 ].
[ 2 ].
[ 3 ].
[ 4 ]. J. Baker
[ 5 ]. Sorrells, Kathryn. (2013). Intercultural Communication Globalization and social justice :Los Angeles: SAGE Publications, Inc.
[ 6 ]. J. Baker
[ 7 ]. My Ethiopian Daughters
[ 8 ]. Helping Adopted Children Thrive…...

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