Title of paper

Ethiopians’ Self-Identification and Pan-African Consciousness in the Diaspora: The Case of Washington D.C.

Presenter's country

United States

Start Date

27-5-2016 1:30 PM

End Date

27-5-2016 2:35 PM

Location

Hall I

Submission type

Presentation

Abstract

This paper looks at ethnic and racial identities of Ethiopians in Washington D.C. metro area in relation to upward social mobility and their socio-political involvement in their country of origin. The findings indicate that identity can influence upward social mobility as well as social and political involvement. World Systems theory and Marxist theory of migration are used to show that ‘race’ is the marker in the United States where the mode of production is capitalism. Ethiopians’ self-identification in terms of race and ethnicity does not matter necessarily because the state and the system of production in the United States locates them along a racialized spectrum of belonging. Since class is mediated by race, racial identity is not something they want to take on but it is forced up on them. As part of the larger population of Black immigrants, Ethiopians find themselves branded into a certain category by the dominant society and thus bond along racial, regional or ethnic lines. As the researcher observed during his internship at the Government of the District of Columbia Mayor’s Office on African Affairs (MOAA), although Ethiopians tend to associate more within themselves socially, they appreciate their collective identity in the work place and other public spaces. Building on Bryce-Laporte’s (1993) “new Pan-Africanism” – referring to a bond of African diaspora groups based on their experiences of racism and to some extent classicism, this research argues that bonding with African and African American communities may help the Ethiopian diaspora community to move upward in the social hierarchy. The study also draws on the broader implication of Ethiopia’s Pan-African consciousness claiming that the country’s future development is closely connected to its ability to make a common cause – not just at political level – with African nations regionally, continentally and globally.

This paper looks at ethnic and racial identities of Ethiopians in Washington D.C. metro area in relation to upward social mobility and their socio-political involvement in their country of origin. The findings indicate that identity can influence upward social mobility as well as social and political involvement. World Systems theory and Marxist theory of migration are used to show that ‘race’ is the marker in the United States where the mode of production is capitalism. Ethiopians’ self-identification in terms of race and ethnicity does not matter necessarily because the state and the system of production in the United States locates them along a racialized spectrum of belonging. Since class is mediated by race, racial identity is not something they want to take on but it is forced up on them. As part of the larger population of Black immigrants, Ethiopians find themselves branded into a certain category by the dominant society and thus bond along racial, regional or ethnic lines. As the researcher observed during his internship at the Government of the District of Columbia Mayor’s Office on African Affairs (MOAA), although Ethiopians tend to associate more within themselves socially, they appreciate their collective identity in the work place and other public spaces. Building on Bryce-Laporte’s (1993) “new Pan-Africanism” – referring to a bond of African diaspora groups based on their experiences of racism and to some extent classicism, this research argues that bonding with African and African American communities may help the Ethiopian diaspora community to move upward in the social hierarchy. The study also draws on the broader implication of Ethiopia’s Pan-African consciousness claiming that the country’s development is closely connected to its ability to make a common cause – not just at political level – with African nations regionally, continentally and globally.

Keywords

Ethiopia, identity, diaspora, Pan-Africanism, Upward Social Mobility and Socio-political involvement

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May 27th, 1:30 PM May 27th, 2:35 PM

Ethiopians’ Self-Identification and Pan-African Consciousness in the Diaspora: The Case of Washington D.C.

Hall I

This paper looks at ethnic and racial identities of Ethiopians in Washington D.C. metro area in relation to upward social mobility and their socio-political involvement in their country of origin. The findings indicate that identity can influence upward social mobility as well as social and political involvement. World Systems theory and Marxist theory of migration are used to show that ‘race’ is the marker in the United States where the mode of production is capitalism. Ethiopians’ self-identification in terms of race and ethnicity does not matter necessarily because the state and the system of production in the United States locates them along a racialized spectrum of belonging. Since class is mediated by race, racial identity is not something they want to take on but it is forced up on them. As part of the larger population of Black immigrants, Ethiopians find themselves branded into a certain category by the dominant society and thus bond along racial, regional or ethnic lines. As the researcher observed during his internship at the Government of the District of Columbia Mayor’s Office on African Affairs (MOAA), although Ethiopians tend to associate more within themselves socially, they appreciate their collective identity in the work place and other public spaces. Building on Bryce-Laporte’s (1993) “new Pan-Africanism” – referring to a bond of African diaspora groups based on their experiences of racism and to some extent classicism, this research argues that bonding with African and African American communities may help the Ethiopian diaspora community to move upward in the social hierarchy. The study also draws on the broader implication of Ethiopia’s Pan-African consciousness claiming that the country’s future development is closely connected to its ability to make a common cause – not just at political level – with African nations regionally, continentally and globally.

This paper looks at ethnic and racial identities of Ethiopians in Washington D.C. metro area in relation to upward social mobility and their socio-political involvement in their country of origin. The findings indicate that identity can influence upward social mobility as well as social and political involvement. World Systems theory and Marxist theory of migration are used to show that ‘race’ is the marker in the United States where the mode of production is capitalism. Ethiopians’ self-identification in terms of race and ethnicity does not matter necessarily because the state and the system of production in the United States locates them along a racialized spectrum of belonging. Since class is mediated by race, racial identity is not something they want to take on but it is forced up on them. As part of the larger population of Black immigrants, Ethiopians find themselves branded into a certain category by the dominant society and thus bond along racial, regional or ethnic lines. As the researcher observed during his internship at the Government of the District of Columbia Mayor’s Office on African Affairs (MOAA), although Ethiopians tend to associate more within themselves socially, they appreciate their collective identity in the work place and other public spaces. Building on Bryce-Laporte’s (1993) “new Pan-Africanism” – referring to a bond of African diaspora groups based on their experiences of racism and to some extent classicism, this research argues that bonding with African and African American communities may help the Ethiopian diaspora community to move upward in the social hierarchy. The study also draws on the broader implication of Ethiopia’s Pan-African consciousness claiming that the country’s development is closely connected to its ability to make a common cause – not just at political level – with African nations regionally, continentally and globally.