The "offensive" question - 'what's ur ethnic backg

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Empress
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Thu Apr 28, 2005 3:01 pm   
Ok, inspired by Halle's 'things I have learned not to do around ethiopians....', and partly feeling guilty of hijacking her thread.....I transported it here.

What's wrong with discussing our ethnic backgrounds? Yes, we are Ethiopians, Ethiopians of different ethnic backgrounds. What is it gonna do for our unity to undermine and deny that difference? Shouldn't we instead learn how to admit it and then celebrate it? How true is our Ethiopianness gonna become if we deny who we really are in terms of our ethnicities? Why is it always considered anti-Ethiopian to recognize one's ethnicity? Teach me plz....


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Says a tribal chief: “Here in Lesotho, we have two problems: Rats and the government.”

No body, no one, not even those who perpetrate or/and perpetuate it, deserve injustice.
Empress
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Thu Apr 28, 2005 6:06 pm   
Empress wrote:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
halle1 wrote:

What I have learned is:

1) Never ask tribe background: for example; "Is your family from the Oromo, Afar, or Tigray background". I have been told that it is just inappropriate to ask that.




most of 'em are trynna show off, trynna appear united and all the same......as if they don't talk about it at home....tellin their kids not to marry somebody, coz he/she belongs to this and that tribe....stereotyping and judging someone based on that I like askin ppl their ethnic background too, and yea I get that comment, and once had a heated debate with someone who felt uncomfortable and saw that negatively....I don get it, I wanna know about their cultures, am curious, wanna celebrate their identity with 'em, am Ethiopian, different ethnic groups live in the country, don't I have the right to know who they are, how they live, what their language is, etc? These people think unity comes through denial....well, I haven't done any research to support my claim, but I for sure don't think thats the way to go. What I think we should do is be able to talk openely about whatever we are scared of getting to, and make it a norm. We should get over it....



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Says a tribal chief: “Here in Lesotho, we have two problems: Rats and the government.”

No body, no one, not even those who perpetrate or/and perpetuate it, deserve injustice.
Empress
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Thu Apr 28, 2005 6:07 pm   
Myliham wrote:
You know what Empress,

I think most of have exprienced what you detailed above. Most of us appear not care or pretend not to have these sorts of storeo types but deep inside as you have said, we make claims and to some extent advise or be adivsed not to association with such and such because they are from this tribe or that tribe.....I don't understand why we Ethiopians associate ethnicity with negativity. Have't we done enough of that and look where it took us.....power struggle and enromous wars.....it is sad to see people imagine that ethnicity is our source of problems..it can be because we are letting it to be....why is it hard to embrace it..the fact of the matter is that it is here to say....and we better deal with it if we are to move forward....just my one santeem opinion...



_________________
Says a tribal chief: “Here in Lesotho, we have two problems: Rats and the government.”

No body, no one, not even those who perpetrate or/and perpetuate it, deserve injustice.
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Thu Apr 28, 2005 6:08 pm   
Mulubrehan wrote:
So Empress which ethnic group are you from? How important is your ethnicity and how do you feel about other Ethnic groups in Ethiopia and how do you feel about your Ethiopianess vs. your ethnicity



_________________
Says a tribal chief: “Here in Lesotho, we have two problems: Rats and the government.”

No body, no one, not even those who perpetrate or/and perpetuate it, deserve injustice.
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Thu Apr 28, 2005 6:09 pm   
Aba Belew wrote:
BOY OH BOY!!! You really want to discuss this? I know a lot of Ethiopians and I know them as an Ethiopian brothers and sisters. Why the hell would I need to find out whether they are Amhara or Tigray? An Ethiopian is an Ethiopian. It is not that I don't like to talk about my ethincity or anything but why the heck would I want too? Next thing you know is that Ethiopia will be so divided into ethnical groups (like right now) and there will be no Ethiopia. We saw it with Eriteria, now Oromia wants to separate, next is Somalia/Ogaden,.....goes on. What a discussion!?!?!?!??!?!?!



_________________
Says a tribal chief: “Here in Lesotho, we have two problems: Rats and the government.”

No body, no one, not even those who perpetrate or/and perpetuate it, deserve injustice.
Empress
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Thu Apr 28, 2005 6:10 pm   
Aba Belew wrote:
I am sorry but I just think it is ridiculous. An Ethiopian is an Ethiopian. When you meet someone why would you want to know whether he is Amhara or whatever? I actually think it is offensive.



_________________
Says a tribal chief: “Here in Lesotho, we have two problems: Rats and the government.”

No body, no one, not even those who perpetrate or/and perpetuate it, deserve injustice.
Thu Apr 28, 2005 6:11 pm   
Empress ~ the reason I get offended is because of the intention of the question. When peopel ask for tribe, I think of why they're asking.. and often time people want to generalize and stereotype. Its easier for them to just label you.. Its much harder trying to get to know somebody.. It will require effort.. the effortless way would be to lable you "something" and then make assumptions based on that.. And I don't like to be labeled.. I want you to get to know me first..

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Thu Apr 28, 2005 6:11 pm   
henok wrote:
I think Empress said it best: we don't have the necessary facts to judge whether it is good for us to acknowledge our ethnic backgrounds.

Recently, I have seen some individuals documenting the contributions of the different tribes of Ethiopia towards the national heritage (cultural, religious, etc).

Most of us are just proud to be Ethiopians. The reason is because we are familiar with the general history of Ethiopia as a whole. However, we do not exactly know the historical background of the different peoples within our country. Maybe knowing more about each of them would help us gain confidence in where we come from. As it is said, we can't go far without knowing where we come from.

Here is an example: there are people who claim that the Oromo have been culturally overrun. But in actuality, their culture has contributed to some of the Orthodox church's ceremonies. They have also had a very complex system of government in ancient times (which we might be able to incorporate in the future). Together, we can say we have had a great civilization like Aksum, and refined democracy like the Gada. Win-Win



_________________
Says a tribal chief: “Here in Lesotho, we have two problems: Rats and the government.”

No body, no one, not even those who perpetrate or/and perpetuate it, deserve injustice.
Empress
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Thu Apr 28, 2005 6:13 pm   
Aba Belew wrote:
ShalomShalom wrote:
What is offensive?


You could be implying that based on the person's response you are either going to get close to the person or stay away. We Ethiopians have a unique culture. Think about it..let's say you met someone and after a 15 mins conversation he/she asks you "BTW, where/what ethnicity are you?" Wouldn't that be awkward? Would what you are or what he/she is matter? I think it is irrelevant and unncessary. Sure, if you are participating in some kind of cultural show, political discussion, etc., it may absolutely make sense to find out about the person's identity. I don't think this thread implies this though. It is about what should or shouldn't be raised during day to day social occasions.



_________________
Says a tribal chief: “Here in Lesotho, we have two problems: Rats and the government.”

No body, no one, not even those who perpetrate or/and perpetuate it, deserve injustice.
Empress
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Thu Apr 28, 2005 6:14 pm   
Mulubrehan wrote:
So Empress which ethnic group are you from? How important is your ethnicity and how do you feel about other Ethnic groups in Ethiopia and how do you feel about your Ethiopianess vs. your ethnicity


One Oromo grand father, A Gojjame grandma, Another grandpa from Welkayit Tsegede, and the other grandma from Menze.....now that's what u call Ethiopian

You ask how important my ethnicity is....define Ethiopianness without the ethnic groups in it, and then I might be able to tell u.

How do I feel about other ethnic groups.....I consider them Ethiopians of this and that ethnic group and respect them as I do any other human being....as simple as that.

How do I feel about my Ethiopiannes Vs. my ethnicity.....thats where things go wrong....there shouldn't be "Vs" between Ethiopianness and our ethnicities. I believe our ethnicities have part in defining Ethiopianness. Our ethnicities are part of being Ethiopian, not somethin outsider. So, we should embrace it like that rather than deny it.


_________________
Says a tribal chief: “Here in Lesotho, we have two problems: Rats and the government.”

No body, no one, not even those who perpetrate or/and perpetuate it, deserve injustice.
Empress
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Thu Apr 28, 2005 6:15 pm   
NYCbabychick wrote:
yeah ^^^^ co sign..

i guess when u say am from Ethiopia it's like sayin am from tha US...

when ppl ask wut tribe they ment wut state u from..

u be like am from New York/ DC./MD/CT/Cali..... and so on..
and in ethiopia u be like yo am from Oromia/gurage/tigrai etc.... word up. well thas how i look at it..


i don't see why it's offensive.



_________________
Says a tribal chief: “Here in Lesotho, we have two problems: Rats and the government.”

No body, no one, not even those who perpetrate or/and perpetuate it, deserve injustice.
Empress
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Thu Apr 28, 2005 6:16 pm   
sweethan wrote:
^ no sweety it ain't the same..... yo folks won't tell u not to marry because he is from DC or Newyork or whatever.... this is more deeper than that. i personally would prefer the word abesha when i am among my peeps... plus this tribal identity didn't bring us no good rather became a key to divide the country because Most of our people aren't mature enough to deal with it.... there is something that is far important for the person to be identified with than which tribe he/she belongs too. for me if u r abesha that is more than enough..... don't come dissecting sh*t to me.


Ok, I know we all say EPRDF devided the country through its ethnic policy, etc. What exactly did we base our claims on? I have been question that lately, and instead of the ethnic policy, what I believe is deviding the country more is the hostility of the government towards specific ethnic groups in attempt to control some organizations, such as the OLF.

Anyway.....

Sweethan, on that hi-lighted statement of yours u blame division on basis of ethnicity on luck of maturity. I took it that u have nothing against tribal identity, but ppl's luck of maturity on how to deal with it. And then u go down and tell us "don't come dissecting sh*t to me". Which way shall we go? Don't u think its better to concentrate on our immaturity and try to avoid it instead of trynna avoid the unavoidable, i.e. the ethnic groups we belong to?


_________________
Says a tribal chief: “Here in Lesotho, we have two problems: Rats and the government.”

No body, no one, not even those who perpetrate or/and perpetuate it, deserve injustice.
Empress
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Thu Apr 28, 2005 6:17 pm   
Myliham wrote:
sweethan wrote:

^ no sweety it ain't the same..... yo folks won't tell u not to marry because he is from DC or Newyork or whatever.... this is more deeper than that. i personally would prefer the word abesha when i am among my peeps... plus this tribal identity didn't bring us no good rather became a key to divide the country because Most of our people aren't mature enough to deal with it.... there is something that is far important for the person to be identified with than which tribe he/she belongs too. for me if u r abesha that is more than enough..... don't come dissecting sh*t to me.



But then again, Abesha(Habesha) only refers to a certain section of the Ethiopian nation......


yea, good point.....howz that different fron sayin am Amhara or Tigray, coz not all Ethiopians consider themselves "abesha"?


_________________
Says a tribal chief: “Here in Lesotho, we have two problems: Rats and the government.”

No body, no one, not even those who perpetrate or/and perpetuate it, deserve injustice.
Guest




Thu Apr 28, 2005 6:41 pm   
I have to be honest, I get a little more excited when I meet people from the region where I from I don’t’ care about their ethnicity but if they lived in the same areas as I did. Whenever I meet Ethiopians, most of them assume I am from Addis. I have lived in Addis for few years but I like to tell people where I went to school and where I grew up trying to educate them about my hometown in the process. I also like to ask people which part of Ethiopia they are from. Ofcourse, most people say from Addis. What I like about these people is that they just like to identify themselves as Ethiopians from Addis. However, what is also more exciting about people from other parts of the country is that they have unique experiences than those from Addis. Before, it used to scare me to ask people which part of Ethiopia, they are from but now I actually find it interesting and educational. When you ask and listen, you actually get to learn who you are as an Ethiopian. When you says I am an Ethiopian, you are representing the tigre, amara, oromo and every other Ethiopian ethnic groups, therefore its ones responsibility to ask and learn about the culture and tradition of each ethnic group.

Personally, my ethnicity is not really a big part of how I identify myself. I am from Gojjam and considered amara, but who knows maybe my great, great, grand parents came from Tigray, or wolega, Gima or Eritrea, settled in Gojjam, learned the language and became Gojjames… I am not a history expert gen like if you take the case of Eritreans, most of them are Gojjames and Gondres. Eritrea being a cost land, thousands and thousands solders used to be stationed in the cost lines and settle in the present day Eritrea, get married with locals, learn the language and basically change their ethnicity through time, of course most Eritreans will never admit these facts.

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Thu Apr 28, 2005 7:01 pm   
Ghion wrote:
I have to be honest, I get a little more excited when I meet people from the region where I from I don’t’ care about their ethnicity but if they lived in the same areas as I did. Whenever I meet Ethiopians, most of them assume I am from Addis. I have lived in Addis for few years but I like to tell people where I went to school and where I grew up trying to educate them about my hometown in the process. I also like to ask people which part of Ethiopia they are from. Ofcourse, most people say from Addis. What I like about these people is that they just like to identify themselves as Ethiopians from Addis. However, what is also more exciting about people from other parts of the country is that they have unique experiences than those from Addis. Before, it used to scare me to ask people which part of Ethiopia, they are from but now I actually find it interesting and educational. When you ask and listen, you actually get to learn who you are as an Ethiopian. When you says I am an Ethiopian, you are representing the tigre, amara, oromo and every other Ethiopian ethnic groups, therefore its ones responsibility to ask and learn about the culture and tradition of each ethnic group.

Personally, my ethnicity is not really a big part of how I identify myself. I am from Gojjam and considered amara, but who knows maybe my great, great, grand parents came from Tigray, or wolega, Gima or Eritrea, settled in Gojjam, learned the language and became Gojjames… I am not a history expert gen like if you take the case of Eritreans, most of them are Gojjames and Gondres. Eritrea being a cost land, thousands and thousands solders used to be stationed in the cost lines and settle in the present day Eritrea, get married with locals, learn the language and basically change their ethnicity through time, of course most Eritreans will never admit these facts.


Thank u.


_________________
Says a tribal chief: “Here in Lesotho, we have two problems: Rats and the government.”

No body, no one, not even those who perpetrate or/and perpetuate it, deserve injustice.

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