Neither Here Nor There: Perspectives on Identity by the Young Eritrean and Ethiopian Diaspora in America

October 1, 2009

Why you should submit. You. Yeah YOU sitting there reading this.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Habesha Diaspora @ 2:57 am

Why should you submit something to this project anyway?

First of all, it’s not just about you. Okay, so your submission is all about you. Granted. But the purpose of your submission is about more than just you. You may be shy and feel embarrassed to have something you wrote be published in a book. What if people think its stupid or something? I won’t take this excuse as a personal vendetta against the taste of my sister or myself. But in case the general public doesn’t agree with what we think is good, you can always publish ANONYMOUSLY! Yeah, you know that thing where great works are published but we never know who wrote them to begin with? We’ll have to know who you are when you submit it, of course, but we vow not to leak that information to anyone else if you so choose.

Listen, we are very excited about putting this book together and all but we want you to understand that this project is an opportunity. Heaven forgive me, but how many times have you wanted to yell at an “elder” and say “Listen, Lady! I didn’t grow up back home! How the heck am I supposed to know its another saint’s day?!” Or get in the face of a classmate because he or she tried to berate you for not knowing the lyrics to some played-out 80’s rap song. “Helllooo?! I didn’t speak English ‘till the 90’s, you culturally-insensitive hypocrite!” So maybe that’s just me being a bit…histrionic. But I know you know that feeling I’m talking about; dealing with unrealistic expectations and not getting credit for adapting in ways people do not realize. This book is one way to not just release that frustration, but show the world who we are. We are a beautiful generation born from the sacrifices of generations before us. Though all of us may not have turned out exactly the way our path had been envisioned by those who sacrificed for us, we have forged our own paths and we’re making a huge impact in this little world of ours called America. How many times has a stranger approached you to ask “Are you Ethiopian/Eritrean/Somalian/?” They know because they met someone who was Ethiopian/Eritrean/Somalian and that someone made a difference in their lives. Maybe that someone is you.

So, I say get out of your box. Be brave. Be courageous. Not just for yourself but for that someone out there who needs to hear your voice to realize its okay to just be him/herself. You never know who you will reach, but if you don’t try we’re always just going to be separate entities floating around in this world of potential. Discover something about yourself today. Discover something about someone else. Submit something. Not only do you have absolutely nothing to lose, but its an opportunity for you to grow as a person.

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