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When Cultures Matter: The Socialization of Cape Verdeans in New England. Ambrizeth Lima Bridgewater State College April 1 st , 2006. Agenda. Culture: How are we defining it? Cape Verdean culture: What is visible/invisible? The Cape Verdean enclave (s) in New England

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When cultures matter the socialization of cape verdeans in new england l.jpg

When Cultures Matter: The Socialization of Cape Verdeans in New England

Ambrizeth Lima

Bridgewater State College

April 1st, 2006

Agenda l.jpg

  • Culture: How are we defining it?

  • Cape Verdean culture: What is visible/invisible?

  • The Cape Verdean enclave (s) in New England

  • Cape Verdean Children in New England schools

  • The Cape Verdean family (composition)

  • Perceptions of educational systems in U.S. within the family/community

  • Linguistic Dynamics

  • Cape Verdeans within their community: deportation, crime ans success stories

  • Teachers as agents of socialization: what can they do?

  • Community Resources

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Defining Culture:A Consensus

  • The “Iceberg” Activity (www.peacecorps.gov)

    • Features of culture

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Does Everyone Have a Culture?

  • Please answer the following questions:

  • What language do you speak?

  • What is your religion?

  • What music do you listen to?

  • What dances do you know?

  • What foods do you eat at home?

  • What do you wear on special occasions?

  • What holidays and ceremonies are important to you?

  • What is most important to you?

  • What things do you believe are right or wrong?

  • How important is your extended family?

  • The name of my culture is ________________

Some features of culture l.jpg

facial expressions

religious beliefs

religious rituals

importance of time




child-raising beliefs

ideas about leadership


holiday customs

ideas about fairness

ideas about friendship

ideas about modesty

15. foods

16. eating habits

17. understanding of the natural world

18. concept of self

19. the importance of work

20. concept of beauty

21. music

22. styles of dress

23. general world view

24. concept of personal space

25. rules of social etiquette

26. housing

Some Features of Culture

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Turn and talk: (2 minutes)

Which features do you think are visible/invisible? Please give an example.

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Visible(Cultural Manifestations)


Eating Habits

Rules of Social Etiquette

Invisible (Culture, History)

Batuke, Funaná


Whose rules? Portuguese? African?

The Cape Verdean Culture

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Cape Verdean Emigration

  • The United States of America

  • Europe (The Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden…)

  • Latin America (Brazil)

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Population in U.S.Census 2000:

77,000 Cape Verdeans


(U.S. Census 2000)

Population in New England Major Cities:

Boston, MA:40,000

Brockton, MA:9,000

New Bedford, MA: 9,000

Pawtucket, RI:6,000

Providence, RI:7,000

(U.S. Census 2000)

General Demographics

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Main Islands of Origin:

  • Fogo

  • Brava

  • Santiago

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Then Sending Context (Cape Verde)

Language: Creole, Portuguese

Extended family

Fragmented nuclear families

No Jobs

Safe neighborhoods

Fewer educational opportunities

Limited exposure to racial/ethnic issues

Familiar school system

Familiar child rearing practices

The Receiving Context (U.S.)

More educational opportunities for the children

Language: English

No extended families

Fragmented nuclear families

More jobs

Unsafe neighborhoods

Confusion about race/ethnicity

Different school system

Laws/myths about child rearing

Immigration and Its Discontent (based on research data, 2005)

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Turn and talk: (2 minutes)

How do any of the items on the previous slide have any relevance to you as an educator?

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Broken Families, Broken Hearts(Data from interviews, 2005)

  • Song : “The Confessions of an Immigrant Father”

    I never had time to watch my children grow. I was away for three years at a time. I was so afraid I would not recognize them on the street that I always carried their pictures in my pocket. So if today, my children have little recollection of me, it’s because I was always a stranger in my own home. A friend yes, but not a good father. I tried to provide them with a good home and brother/sister every time I returned home. That’s all. I did not have time to see my children grow up…oh, I did not have time to see my children grow …

    (Author: Rene Cabral)

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Broken Families, Broken Hearts

Popular song:

  • I’m behind this door, with no courage to knock. I was a husband, a comedian, and a poet, an immigrant sweeping floors. I had many girlfriends in foreign lands, but I always thought about you. It was impossible to forget our childhood love. It’s twenty years later and I could never forget you. Open this door please, I come from far away, old, tired, white-haired and the dreams of our youth printed in the palm of my hands.

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What are the implications of this family fragmentation, in relationship with the students’ educational process?

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Possible Implications: relationship with the students’ educational process?

  • Students’ despondency in the classroom

  • Students’ homelessness or household responsibilities

  • Lack of parental participation in the students’ educational process

  • Students’ need to work many hours to support themselves

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And/or… relationship with the students’ educational process?

  • A stronger determination to succeed

  • A maturity beyond their years

    • Respect for the educational process

    • Respect for teachers and colleagues

    • Appreciation for the assistance they get from school and teachers/staff

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Perceptions of Education/Schools/Educators within the Cape Verdean Family

  • Education:

    • To be “somebody”

    • The way of out of poverty for self/family

  • Schools:

    • A safe space for children (parents’ perspective)

    • Intimidating for immigrant parents

    • Unsafe for some children (participants’ opinion)

  • Teachers/Educators

    • Very knowledgeable

    • A “second” parent

    • Intimidating for immigrant parents

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Linguistic and Cutural Dynamics Verdean Family

  • Dissonance acculturation

    • Child learns English

    • Parent does not learn English

    • Child becomes socially literate

    • Parent is not socially literate

  • Consonant acculturation

    • Both parents and Children learn English and become socially literate

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Language and Culture in Schools Verdean Family

  • Acquiring English (a process)

    • The role of the educator

      • When is it language? When is it disability?

    • The role of parents

      • What program should my child be in?

    • Role reversal at home (discipline, etc.)

      • Who has authority in the home?

  • Becoming acculturated

    • The role of the educator (agent of socialization)

    • The role of parents (can be limited at times)

    • Cultural identity (as well as ethnic and racial)

    • Defining youth, American or inner city cultures

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Implications for the educational process: Verdean Family

  • Who reads documents (letters from school) at home? (Alberto’s case)

  • Who helps with homework?

  • Who can the teacher communicate with?

  • Who can translate for parents at school?

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Cape Verdeans within their community: Verdean Family

  • The “environment” (participants)

  • Stereotypes of Cape Verdeans

  • Violence

  • Deportation

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Cape Verdeans (cont’d) Verdean Family

  • Valedictorians

  • Public figures (University presidents (Dr. Mohler-Faria, representatives, academics, etc)

  • Medical doctors

  • Factory workers

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Community Resources/Agencies Verdean Family

  • Boston:

  • Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative

  • Bowdoin Street Heath Center

  • St. Peter’s Youth Center (Catholic Charities)

  • Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers

    • Brockton:

  • Associacao Cabo Verdeana de Brockton

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    Message from Students to Educators: Verdean Family

    • Provide a safe environment at school (teacher as locus of control)

    • Learn a little about us

    • Learn to say a few words in our language

    • Be patient, we just need a little more time