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Since independence in 1956, Sudan had been under the rule by series of parliamentary governments which have been unstable as well as military regimes for instance the government that instituted the fundamentalist Islamic law in 1983. Such action has seen the rift between the Arab norths and the black African animists and Christians in the south get exacerbated. The mentioned groups have a diverse cultural values and speak different languages, have different religions, ethnic variation an political power which saw an eruption of a civil war that has refused to end between the government forces which is strongly under the influence of National Islamic Army (NIF) and the rebels from the south under the influence of the faction Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) (Omar, 1996).The civil war has led to violation of human rights, religious persecution and decreasing levels of insecurity making Sudan a safe haven for terrorists.
Since the onset if the civil war in 1983 many people have either been displaced internally as internally displaced persons or externally as refugees in other countries. Also many people have lost their lives and some scholars now term it as Darfur genocide. In addition to that the humanitarian crisis that face people in Darfur as a result to the civil war has attracted a world wide attention and the termination of diplomatic relations between Chad and Sudan has led to worsening of the situation as humanitarian aid was obstructed leading to war crime charges against the Sudanese government being issued (Mading, 1973).
Sudanese's cultural history
Sudan has over 597 tribes with hover 400 languages and dialects being spoken. These tribes are split into two groups the largely Sudanese Arabs of the north and the largely animist nilotes and Christians of the south, the two groups are further sub divided into hundreds of ethnic as well as tribal divisions and languages. Most of the Sudanese's are Arabic linguistically and by cultural association and descended from the ancient Nubians which shares same culture with Egypt. Hence the northern Sudan has been Arabicised hence the Arabic language and culture is very predominant in the region thus the shifting in of the Arab ethnic identity. Further more the process of arabicization was fueled by the spread of Islam, immigration of peninsula Arabs as well as the intermarriage between the two communities. On the other hand the people of the southern Sudan have been enormously affected by war and many were displaced. Majority of the population practice traditional beliefs and some Christianity (Omar, 1996).
Seventy percent of Sudanese practice Islam and majority are Sunni Muslims with small group of Shia Muslims. The Christians are either Catholics, Anglicans, orthodox and Presbyterians. The Christians in the north are descends from the pre-Islamic era communities or from families that immigrated from near east or Egypt while the ones in the south are chiefly shopkeepers or businessmen owning small shops which they sought during the times of the civil war.
Culturally Sudan is described as one of the world's most linguistically and ethnically diverse country with nearly 200 ethnic groups which speak over 900 dialects and languages. Some of the smallest ethnic and linguistic groups dispersed in the 1980's and 1990's as a result of migration due to war which led to assimilation by other languages in their new homes. As these group moved to areas with dominant language they forgot their native languages and hence becoming extinct (Omar, 1996).This is common among the refuges that were displaced by the civil war in the country and other was accommodated by other groups. Due to the influence of the Arabic culture most of Sudanese are multilingual though with the elites speaking found to speak English language.
Most Sudanese have maintained their cultural belief and tradition through the use of religion for instance practice of the religious practices associated with their religion, through clothing, music and art and through a vibrant folk lore. The European militaries contributed to developing Sudanese music especially through introduction of diverse instruments (Mading, 1973).
The introduction of mobile phones has changed mode of communication in Sudan among the literary groups as text messaging as promoted easy communication between the mobile users and in the past the message exchange was more private, dyadic and infrequent but recently it has changed as inter-texuality and the increasing sharing and repeating of text information has blurred the distinction between the sender and the receiver, the public and the private hence the re-contextization of messages which are then circulated in the community thus influencing the feeling of belonging as well as the imagined connectivity. This is basically guided by the marginalization of communities in the region as well as the inequalities that exists for example the Niba people who despite being marginalized use of mobile to send text to send Arabic poetry which is indicative of the dominant Arab-Islamic orientation among the youth of Sudan. This is done despite of the existing ethno-linguistic background of the mobile users hence appropriates the Arab-Islamic traditions through literal styles and linguistic choice. This has spread beyond the stereotyping problem as user are not selective based on their ethnic alignment (Mading, 1973).
Sexism has greatly impacted on the Sudanese women as according to traditions and culture women are not allowed to speak up for themselves thus can not be in a position to fight for their rights and achieve their causes. Also women in Sudan undergo female genital mutilation which is allowed by their culture thus risking them a lot of life threatening health concerns. In addition to that the issue of ageism has been found to prevent that aging or old people from accessing basic human needs like health services, food and shelter as they are considers of less significance to the society. In Sudan the vice of ageism as worsened the humanitarian situation especially during and after the civil war that saw the vulnerable groups of aged adults and children suffer most (Mading,1973).
The outside world always view the stereotyping in Sudan to be between the Africans and the Arabs and that the victors of the vice are Arabs and the victims are the Africans who end up displaced from their homes and face other atrocities. On the other the reality of stereotyping is that both groups have stereotyped each other as not belonging to the other or the different group (Muslim and Christian). Both groups have suffered loses resulting from ethnic and religious stereotyping and that the effects of the vice are felt across the board, e.g. farmers from both groups lose when they are removed from their farmland and left vulnerable to hunger and starvation (Omar, 1996).
Another example of stereotyping in Sudan is where the northerners mainly the Arabs referring the southerners as Abid which is a derogatory term referring to slave which is viewed as an insult on the black people by the Arab culture. Like wise the southerners stereotype the northerners as Mundukuru and Minga and such stereotyping is a reflection of the Sudanese slave trade which people say still persists to this era especially with regard to the blurred distinction between slavery and cheap labour (Baumann, 1928).
Patterns of Sudanese life that led to their immigration to US
Hundreds and hundreds of Sudanese individuals were killed and still are being killed, since the conflict started some time back in Darfur. Muslim troops have been sent by the government to clear out the population in Darfur, which have been considered to being uncivilized and heathen. Many of them then fled to the neighboring countries and lived in camps where sickness, hunger, water unavailability and poor hygiene were all causing them death. As an effect, this led them to try finding a way of surviving in the U.S. the long established tensions between the periphery and the centre are much characterized by unjust division of wealth, power, and investment. By the inability of the elites in central to manage ethnic, cultural and religious diversity of the country, there have been moves by the centre to impose narrowly defined identity on the people.
There has been a crude version of Sharia laws that have constituted the public and private laws in the region which has led to many Muslims and non-Muslims to suffer. High wages and security have turned US to be the promised land of these fleeing from Sudan conflicts. This has been due to employment, services and housing problems that were created by immigrants into Sudan impacted negatively on ethnicity. Their daily interactions with the Sudanese people eroded traditional values in the region. This erosion could have led to a new sense of nationalism, however the communities that were new, had no absorptive mechanism as well as being economically weak, hence reinforced ethnic anomies. In olden days, some Sudanese went to US voluntarily for academics or through slave trade, (Roden, 1974).
The Sudanese, who went to US, are experiencing many economic, social and political adversities. First and foremost, they have to work had too ensure that they have overcome their culture shock and make some adjustments that are in line with a culture that is much different from others. In most cases, they have found that, renting an apartment is much better than purchasing similar house. This is based on the fact that, they do not have the savings and credit rating that is a necessity for house purchasing. These who have already bought homes recently have suffered similar fate that has made other area residents recreate over the matter. For some Sudanese looking for similar jobs that other minorities are looking for, has proved to be too difficult for them. The traditional family values of Sudanese, that contained close family ties, according maximum respect to education, and family marriage sanctity, have received challenge from the Americans. This has led some spouses to question their marriage vows, hence separating, leaving kids to be raised by a single-parent, as an effect, they ends up lacking required supervision and nurturing. Some of these kids have ended up learning their American classmates' behaviors, that in one way or the other, they question the authority of their homes. They have also ended up suggesting ways of practicing that offends their parents very much.
Processes of Culturalization Were Replaced With a Process of Acculturation
As Sudanese refugees were sighting to successfully live in the US, they were faced with assimilation issues. The thinking of most Americans is based on the fact that, all individuals are supposed to be cultured to be come Americans. The issue is that, those individuals espousing assimilation might equate difference with deficiency. The government of America continued to support some assimilation concepts like for instance learning English as the first language as well as programs of Bilingual education. Some have argued that, Assimilation in America was not an issue, as most of Sudanese immigrants were blended, and the migrants of the year 2000, resemble immigrants of 1900. On the other side, others have argued that, assimilation in America was a problem to Sudanese people. This was a fact that, patriotic assimilation is equated with loyalty to the American creed and the constitutional republic, which is much significant than L2 learning. The first Sudanese people to go to America faced some difficulties during assimilation; this was due to language barriers. The second generation achieved more economic successes as they were in a position of speaking and writing English fluently, they also married people from other ethnic groups. The generation that followed highly assimilated, (Billingsley, 2002).
Mostly, Sudanese were assimilated by addition, because for example, they learned English as their Second language after their native languages. Another simulation that took place primary structural assimilation, this is where the Sudanese changed personal relationships for instance; they took their children to schools where they interacted with Americans. This assimilation process was much affected by numerous social factors like; education, housing and employment. The Sudanese were much assimilated to an extent of taking their children to schools having English as the second language, (Martin & Midgley, 1994).
Amongst the things that were lost included traditional food, gender relationships inside homes. They also changed from being called Africans to Black Americans. These also included female circumcision. Older women were not able to change their thoughts about the advantages that were to be accrued from female circumcision; however, they saw it as much detrimental to the girls' health in the US. In addition, Sudanese wedding traditions also changed. Amongst Sudanese cultures that were preserved include; radical creativities in music, literature, art, and cosine, (Martin & Midgley, 1994).
In conclusion, the Sudanese in the US had some historic triumph as they were facing adversities. Most of their children were doing just well in American schools, both in private and public schools. Some of them ended up winning scholarships. Their ties to Sudan remained strong, and they ever seek support for the mission programs in Sudan to build schools, churches and even hospitals among other essential facilities.