I walk a pretty unfamiliar path in journalism. I'm an Eritrean sports journalist in America. Ever heard of that? Probably not, because we aren't very common. At all.
As far as I know, besides myself, only one other person is a sports journalist in the U.S. with Eritrean blood. For those who don't know, Eritrea is located in east African directly above Ethiopia. I often scolded several times a week by friends of my family for my profession, and it's one of the most difficult things that I go through.
In Eritrean culture, you're expected to be married with kids, wear religion on your sleeve and become either a doctor or successful business person. There are other jobs that satisfy and please the needs of people within the culture (a lawyer, nurse, or loaded version of a doctor), but a sports journalist? What's wrong with you!
I hold a very rare occupation among the culture. Like, Carmelo Anthony finishing with 5 or more assists type of rare, but I'm not alone, there are many others out there with different career paths that have the same problem as me.
Besides taking care of my father and trying to balance school as a commuter (I live 30 minutes away from my school campus), maneuvering between my Eritrean culture and American sports journalist culture is honestly the most challenging aspect of my career. What's tough is finding a healthy balance and constant bond between both of them. It's really hard to remain positive when I get told that I don't make enough money, or that what I do is "too much" (I can't stop laughing at this because doctors work longer than I do). I can go on for days telling stories about the dumb things people have said to me. It's disgusting.
I plan to get married before I'm 27, and I certainly think it'll be tougher for me to tie the not with an Eritrean or Ethiopian woman because of my profession. It's already tough as is because journalism makes you deal with the constant travel, etc., but factoring in an uncommon career makes it harder. Although, on the flip side, I will say that it could help me find that right woman if she accepts what I do. I'll find out the answer to this question within the next few years.
OK, let's get to the juicy part of this post, otherwise known as the #EmbraceDebate portion: Has my sports journalist culture made me resent my Eritrean one? Yes, it has. If I published this and said it didn't I'd be telling a lie quite honestly. I would take being Eritrean over being anything else in this world, but the frustration pushes me away a lot. I don't neglect my culture in any way whatsoever, and if you know me personally, you know I acknowledge it, but in a very discreet way. Look, you don’t need to see it in my Twitter bio or signature in an email to determine whether or not I do. It's always a pleasure to get messages from random people asking whether or not I am Eritrean (or Ethiopian), too.
That partially sums up how I feel being an Eritrean sports journalist. There's much more, but I'll save that for a lengthier column someday. I hope I was able to give a little perspective on how different my story is, and the challenges I face.
Behind the Broadcaster
This blog displays topics that interest me -- including culture, entertainment, music, and life experiences.