abesha*

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The Ethiopian Clowns baseball team.

Founded in Miami, Florida, in 1935 or 1936 by Hunter Campbell and bootlegger Johnny Pierce, the all-black baseball team, the Ethiopian Clowns, were among the most widely celebrated and last examples of this name sake.

In 1943, the Clowns joined the Negro league baseball, beginning a 12-year membership in the circuit before withdrawing following the 1954 season. At first, the team was relocated to Cincinnati, Ohio, then in 1944 they moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, playing as the Indianapolis Clowns for the rest of their existence.

The proper nouns ‘Ethiopia’ and 'Ethiopian’ were widely used to identify African Americans during the nineteenth and early twentieth century.

Nike released a shoe commemorating the team a few years ago. Surprisingly, there are many other retro apparel celebrating the Clowns.

Watch on abesha-ish.tumblr.com

Sad day for the Ethiopian community in Dallas, TX.

The owners of Desta Ethiopian Restaurant in Dallas were shot to death around midnight 8/15. My friend and I ate there just over a month ago during the ESFNA tournament! So senseless. RIP.

Topic: Language

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Frustration. Embarrassed. Sad. Angry. Dumb. You feel all of these and more when you lack one thing: the ability to speak in your ethnic language.

Being a first-generation born Ethiopian living in the US, I learned English. I am able to understand when my parents or others speak to me in Amharic - most of the time - but when prompted to reply, I shy away and my tongue automatically shuts down.

Like most, I started off speaking Amharic, but the transition occurred when I was ready to enter school - around the age of four. It’s funny because I look at videos when I was younger and it actually sounds like I just arrived to America - accent and all lol.

After that, however, my parents spoke to me in English. Now in my mid-20s, I have tried picking up the language again, even teaching myself how to read and write in y'amarigna fidel (Ethiopian alphabet). I’ve come a long way and I’m proud of that, but as most will tell you, it’s not necessary to know the written language outside of Ethiopia. The most important thing is to know how to speak, and that is something I continue to struggle with.

I primarily blame my parents, but I also must take some responsibility in not showing interest earlier. But it’s hard when the country you live in speaks another language. The hardest thing for me is seeing those not of Ethiopian abesha speaking the language more fluently than me (i.e. white people, Indians, etc).

After visiting Ethiopia twice, I am determined to learn Amharic as best as I can. After all, the bulk of my relatives live there and most do not speak English. Even though we are from different countries, we should still be able to connect as family.

The biggest challenge, however is not my inability to speak the language fluently, rather, it is getting over a bruised ego that will allow me to fully absorb the language in its entirety.

To be continued…

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“Wicked Games” by Ethiopian-Canadian artist The Weeknd (Abel Tesfaye).

Read more about the The Weeknd here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Weeknd

I’m feelin it.