Sociology Talk Review: Ahmed Yusuf, author of Somalis in Minnesota
by Stia Jama
After receiving Meg's email about this upcoming event I decided to check it out because I was interested in the topic (and a little for extra credit). The speaker I decided to evaluate was Ahmed Yusuf writer of Somalis in Minnesota, a book that tries to discuss the issues of the Somali people, why they decided to immigrant from their home country to Minnesota and issues they face because of this. This book, especially for non-Somali's, allows them access in better understanding our cultural practices, societal norms, and economic and political beliefs. I had never really thought of why, Somali's choose such a place so different from the basics of their home country to settle into. I mean my mother saw snow for the first time when we moved to the US. So why would they choose a place that normally goes below zero in the winter as well as has several feet of snow fall down as a place to settle in. As he spoke I realized why, community. The first immigrants from Somali were scattered across the country, (however in relatively local hubs, Maine, Washington, Minnesota) but Minnesota grew to be the largest population of Somali's across the country because it offered relatively high paying jobs at first. Then as more and more Somali's came the culture and community of Somali people grew as well and as a result it caused more and more Somali people to move to Minnesota, like an ever perpetuating cycle. He also discusses another major reason that the Somali's decided to stay in Minnesota, hospitality. He argues that compared to other regions of the US, Minnesota was one of the most accepting and hospital regions that the Somali people felt comfortable in living and showing their unique cultural heritage and customs. However, the most interesting part of his talk I found was that he discussed issues that many Somali's and the wider public shy away from bringing up, such as issues of terrorism.