Racial-Ethnic Identity and Academic Performance for Contemporary Sub-Saharan Africans in the U.S.

Natasha Rivers, University of Minnesota

This paper incorporates interview and focus group participants' personal testimonies to support findings based on quantitative data extracted from the 1980 to 2000 Integrated Public Use Micro data Sample and 2001-2007 American Community Survey comparing demographic profiles of Ethiopian, Ghanaian, Kenyan, Nigerian and Somalis in the U.S., a bifurcated population. These testimonies highlight the diverse and complex migration experiences of newly arriving, 1.5 and second generation sub-Saharan Africans and their families, in addition to providing a thorough assessment of their adjustment and integration in the U.S., particularly in academic achievement. The data reveal there is a gendered and generational element to self identity and these elements determine how one deals with being perceived racially as African American. These “other” African Americans expand the definition of blackness in the U.S. and have created a transnational relationship to Africa and the U.S., which provides important implications for Africa’s “brain gain” and remittances.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Poster Session 3