American Creed: Cultural tradition and immigration

Do you have many different cultural traditions that your family may have brought over to America that are very important to you? Join me in learning how cultural tradition and immigration plays a role in elements of diverse Americans' identity

By Jessica A. from Royal Oak High School in Michigan

The American Creed is a statement of the defining element of American identity. So what does that mean to you? Cultural traditions and immigration plays a role in how diverse Americans understand defining elements of their American identity. For families immigrating to the U.S. it is important that their cultural traditions aren't left behind; “I wanted a better life for you guys" Exact words from my father when asked why he came to America. These words establish a connection to the idea of why higher expectations are put upon many Nigerian-American children, because their parents believe that immigrating to America gives their family a better life and a chance for their American dream to be fulfilled. So why higher expectations? According to "Why Nigerian immigrants are the most successful ethnic group in the U.S". "Higher expectation tends to lead to higher results according to psychology" So by encouraging the idea of keeping cultural tradition alive; not forgetting one's roots and establishing a sense that dreams can always be fulfilled. Nigerian Americans can establish an idea of what elements truly define their American identity.

Despite the assumptions about Nigerians and Nigerian-Americans made by many individuals, Nigerians are actually on the path to the most successful ethnic group in the U.S. According to the article “The most successful ethnic group in the U.S. may surprise you” by Molly Fosco she stated that “Today, 29 percent of Nigerian-Americans over the age of 25 hold a graduate degree, compared to 11 percent of the overall U.S. population, according to the Migrations Policy Institute. Among Nigerian-American professionals, 45 percent work in education services, the 2016 American Community Survey found, and many are professors at top universities. Nigerians are entering the medical field in the U.S. at an increased rate, leaving their home country to work in American hospitals, where they can earn more and work in better facilities. A growing number of Nigerian-Americans are becoming entrepreneurs and CEOs, building tech companies in the U.S. to help people back home.” This shows that Nigerians really do immigrate to this country to achieve their American dream and make not only their family proud but their culture proud as well. Something stated in the why you should care portion of this article that really stood out was this statement: “Because you don’t know what it means to hustle … until you meet a Nigerian-American.” Not only is this statement very bold; it is very true as well, Nigerian-Americans understand why it's important to take control of all the opportunities and chances they are given and that's why they’re fastly becoming one of the most successful ethnic groups that have settled in America. My father's purpose for coming to America is what’s allowing me to continue keeping Nigerian culture alive while stepping up to high expectations through the voices of my ancestors.

The same article even went on to state the racial stereotype made by President Trump and how Trump's comments isn’t stopping Nigerians from immigrating to America and keeping cultural traditions and expectations alive while achieving their American dream. “It hasn’t been easy — the racist stereotypes are far from gone. Last year, President Donald Trump reportedly said in an Oval Office discussion that Nigerians would never go back to “their huts” once they saw America. But overt racism hasn’t stopped Nigerian-Americans from creating jobs, treating patients, teaching students and contributing to local communities in their new home, all while confidently emerging as one of the country’s most successful immigrant communities, with a median household income of $62,351, compared to $57,617 nationally, as of 2015.” This piece of evidence relates to the claim that cultural traditions and immigration plays a role in how diverse Americans understand the defining elements of their American identity because, it shows diverse Americans that they can make something out of themselves though the opportunities presented to them despite where they came from. America is very known to the world as this huge melting pot with many immigrants, so if America truly is a melting pot it is important that Americans be accepting. From experience of being a child of Nigerian immigrants, it's been cases where acceptance wasn’t shown or stereotypes were made.

Nigerian and Nigerian-Americans are keeping their cultural traditions alive through the process of sharing and educating people in the U.S. on Nigerian Cuisine. In the article titled “Akara Bean Cakes and Spicy Ogbono Soup: Nigerian Cuisine is going global” By Molly Fosco it was stated that:“To most, dishes like akara bean cakes and spicy ogbono soup might be just exotic-sounding names, but they’re beginning to tickle taste buds at Nigerian restaurants popping up in major cities, from London to Toronto to New Orleans. For years, delicacies from Ethiopia and Morocco were the African cuisines most widely available in the West. Now a band of Nigerian immigrant chefs are propping up their country’s tastes as the next big African cuisine...”In the U.S., chef Tunde Wey, 34, is shining light on Nigerian cuisine — and more. His New Orleans pop-up food stall Saartj, launched this year.” This relates to my claim because it shows that Nigerians and Nigerian Americans are finding defining elements of their American identity by assimilating into the American culture but also bringing along their own traditions as well. Something stated in the why you should care portion of this article that really stood out was this statement: “Like Thai, Indian and Ethiopian before it, Nigerian cuisine is emerging as the next go-to ethnic food.” This statement proves the American creed definition to be true because it shows that Nigerian Cuisine which plays a major role in Nigerian tradition is emerging to be next go to ethnic food for many individuals in America which gives it a “defining element of American identity.”

In conclusion, cultural traditions and immigration plays a role in how diverse Americans understand the defining elements of their American identity because traditions and immigration is the building block for identifying the role their identity plays in America.

Royal Oak High School

AP Lang 2019

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