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Understanding The Somali Culture Essay

2409 words - 10 pages

Somali people have encountered many challenges in the past into the present. These challenges have made them grow as a culture and become stronger as individuals and as a whole. It is important to analyze the culture, the gender roles, and the family roles when working with the Somali community.
To understand the Somali culture it is crucial to know what has happened to them in the past. According to Castel and Kurata throughout history the Somali people have been subjected to harsh oppression by dictators (2004). This dictatorship has caused many to flee the country to the United States find a better home for them and their families (Castel & Kurata, 2004). Many families that have fled ...view middle of the document...

Many Somalis have been stopped in airports or in their cars because they are seen by their stereotypes and not by them just being human beings. Many of the people stereotype Somalis just because they don’t know all the facts about the cultural differences.
There are many customs that the Somali people have in their lives. The Somali culture believes that the name you receive at birth is of great importance. Many Somali parents give their children names that have positive meaning. Traditional Somali names have three parts to them. The first name is specific to the individual (Mbuthia & Maingi, 2012). These would be the names that describe a personality type of physical trait like peaceful, or beautiful. The second name is the same as the child father. The third name that they receive is the name of their paternal grandfather. (Mbuthia & Maingi, 2012)
Another custom that the Somali people take a great pride in is marriage. According to Yassin, Somali marriages can either be arranged or personally chosen. It is common for individuals in Somalia to get married at fifteen years old. Men are able to have more than one wife if they are wealthy enough to do so (2012). This is not as common as it was years ago but here are still a few men that have at least two wives. When Somali women get married the women do not change their name (Mbuthia & Maingi, 2012).
In the Somali culture everyone in the family have distinct roles they are expected to uphold. The men are the head of the household and the main source of income. It is up to the men to hold the job, which takes care of this family. Most men work on a farm whether it is family owned or owned by someone else (Yassin, 2012). The women are expected to stay at home and take care of the children and the daily household chores. If a family owns their own farm the women are expected to help take care of it as well as everything else around the house. (Yassin, 2012)
There are certain gender roles that the Somali men and women have that tie into the family roles. As previously stated it is common that women stay home and take care of the children and the home. This is mostly still true but the Somali Women have started to change their own gender roles.
The Somali women are starting to seek independence and are obtaining jobs to help with the family income. Many of the Women are becoming entrepreneurs. Many Somali Women are creating their own businesses and companies. Most of these businesses deal with trade and other small projects. (Yassin, 2012)
For the multicultural aspect of this paper I had dinner with the Somali family in their home. The family members included in my interview were the grandmother, Jamira, the parents, Aadan and Amina, and their children Sara and Jamaal. During my visit I helped Jamira and Amina prepare a traditional Somali Meal. The meal that we prepared was called Chicken Saqaar. This was a surprisingly easy dish to make and it was very appetizing. I was very hesitant to try it...

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