"Seeing/being double: how African immigrants in Canada balance their ethno-racial and national identities" in African and Black Diaspora: An International Journal
With increased transnational ties to their homelands, immigrants' ontology now verges on being double - and, consequently, on seeing double - most of the time. This double consciousness, and the attendant dearth of fixity in identity among immigrants, has led some to wonder where the allegiance of minority immigrants, in particular, lies. Can these immigrants be loyal to both their ethno-racial identity and their host national identity? Is the identification with one's ethno-racial background and national identity a zero-sum game in which one side of the loyalty equation gains only at the expense of the other? This study examines these issues, using African immigrants (specifically, Ghanaians and Somalis) in Canada as a case study. In particular, we use multinomial logistic regression to predict the factors that prompt these immigrants to identify as: 'just Canadians', 'just Ghanaians/Somalis', or as 'Ghanaian-/Somali-Canadians'. The study is significant not only because of the lack of research on African immigrants' identity formation in Canada, but also because immigrants' identity has significant bearing on their settlement and integration in host societies.
Joseph Mensah is a Professor in the Department of Geography at York University. Mensah works in cultural studies, transnationalism, formations of ethno-racial identity, African development, socio-spatial dialectics, race and return migration.
Other publications from this author include:
- "The Black, continental African presence and the nation-immigration dialectic in Canada" in Social Identities: Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture (2015)
- "Black continental African identities in Canada: Exploring the intersections of identity formation and immigrant transnationalism" in Journal of Canadian Studies (2014)
- "The global financial crisis and access to health care in Africa" in Africa Today (2014)
- "Ghana's National Health Insurance: insights from members, administrators, and health care providers" in Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved (2013)
- "Cultural dimensions of African immigrant housing in Toronto: a qualitative insight" in Housing Studies (2013)
- Ghanaian and Somali immigrants in Toronto's rental market: a comparative cultural perspective of housing issues and coping strategies" in Canadian Ethnic Studies (2013)
- "Access to postsecondary education: can schools compensate for socioeconomic disadvantage?" in Higher Education (2012)
- "Gender, power, and religious transnationalism among the African diaspora in Canada" in African Geographical Review (2012)
- Black Canadians: History, Experience, Social Conditions (2010)
- Neoliberalism and Globalization in Africa: Contestations on the Embattled Continent (2008)