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Ethnic and Racial Assimilation

Ethnic and Racial Assimilation. I.      A Historical Perspective 1. Most immigrants landed at the five American ports: New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore and New Orleans. 2. Three immigration waves: 1820-1860; 5 million 1861-1880; 5 million 1881-1920; 23 million.

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Ethnic and Racial Assimilation

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  1. Ethnic and Racial Assimilation

  2. I.      A Historical Perspective 1. Most immigrants landed at the five American ports: New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore and New Orleans.

  3. 2. Three immigration waves: • 1820-1860; 5 million • 1861-1880; 5 million • 1881-1920; 23 million

  4. 3. Restricting the unlimited numbers of immigrants • Racist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and the Immigration Restriction League • The Reed-Johnson Immigration Act of 1924: with quotas on nations of origin

  5. 4. two large bodies of immigrants 1) refugees: in 1959 and 1980, 810,000 Cuban refugees; after the Vietnam War, 750,000 refugees from Indo-China area

  6. 2) Illegal immigrants: more than 4 million illegal immigrants, most of whom have Mexican origin

  7. 5. Brain drain —another symptom of the unequal distribution of world resources. It resulted from immigration, and refers to the immigration to the US of skilled workers, professionals, and technicians who are desperately needed by their home countries.

  8. 6. Some legislative documents have remapped the order of American immigration policies: 1) The Immigration Act of 1965 2) The Refugee Act of 1980 3) The Immigration Act of 1990

  9. 4) the Illegal Immigration Act of 1996 5) The USA Patriot Act of 2001

  10. 7. The color composition of the US is changing The US population has amounted to 300 million in Oct. 2006; now minority groups make up 26%; by 2050 the proportion may rise to 40%.

  11. 8. What is race? A race is a statistical aggregate of people who share a composite of genetically transmissible physical traits, such as: skin pigmentation, head form, facial feature, stature, and the color, distribution and texture of body hair…

  12. Estimates of racial types range from three --- Caucasoid, Mongoloid, and Negroid --- to thirty or more. Many social or economic problems in the US are generally mentioned in racial terms today.

  13. 9. What is ethnicity? Ethnicity involves having a unique social and cultural heritage that is passed on from one generation to another.

  14. Ethnic groups are often identified by distinctive patterns of language, family life, religion, recreation, and other customs that differentiate them from other groups.

  15. II. Ethnic and Racial Diversity 1. The establishment of the dominant culture 1) The successful transplanting the English language and laws, Protestant ethics, European social customs, and economic mechanism.

  16. 2) Native Americans were subjected to a continuing series of attacks: the takeover of ancestral lands, racially inspired killings, confinement on white-controlled reservations, bureaucratic manipulation by governmental agencies.

  17. 3) The dominant culture was English-speaking, Western European, Protestant, and middle class in character. Americans were called WASPs---White Anglo-Saxon Protestants. These characteristics became the standard for judging other groups.

  18. 4) Assimilation stressed the denial of ethnic difference and the forgetting of cultural practices in favor of Americanization which emphasized that one language should dominate as a guard against diverse groups falling outside the social concerns and ideological underpinnings of American society.

  19. 5) two ways of assimilating the new immigrants: First, to offer English classes and teach them basic American beliefs. Second, the system of “political bosses”. These bosses saw to many of the practical needs of the immigrants, and expected the immigrants to vote for them in elections.

  20. 2. The African American experience No other group entered the society so completely as involuntary immigrants, and was subjected to such fully institutionalized degradation. Between 1619 and 1860 some 400,000 blacks were transported from Africa to the USA.

  21. 1) Consequences of slavery A. Little in the way of specific African practices, institutions, customs or beliefs survived.

  22. B. Slavery weighs so heavily on the black experience that its lingering effects continue to make blacks a special group in the American ethnic hierarchy.

  23. 2) The Jim Crow measures were designed to separate whites and blacks in almost all areas of social life: housing, work, education, health care, transportation, leisure, and religion. Racial segregation was maintained by both force andideology.

  24. 3) Some Black figures to be remembered Mrs. Rosa Parks’ defiance (on Dec. 1, 1955) led to organization of the Montgomery Improvement Association, headed by 26-year-old Martin Luther King, Jr.

  25. From the late 1950s to 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. led thousands of black Americans in nonviolent marches and demonstrations against segregation and racial discrimination. His goal was to bring about greater assimilation of black people into the larger American culture.

  26. Malcolm X, urged a rejection of basic American values and complete separation of blacks from the white culture. He believed that blacks must build their own society based on values that they would create for themselves.

  27. Louis Farrakhan, a new black Muslim leader, advocated in the 1990s that blacks separate themselves from the hostile white culture instead of trying to become a part of it. Many young blacks are searching for a separate African-American identity.

  28. 4) Changes for Black Americans A. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Right Act of 1965 helped to bring about a significant degree of assimilation of blacks into the larger American culture. Most important, the laws eventually helped to reduce the amount of white prejudice toward black people in all parts of the country.

  29. B. African-Americans hold offices in all levels of government----local, state and national. They are sports and entertainment heroes, university professors, medical doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs and reporters. There is a sizable black middle class.

  30. C. Inequality remains in all sectors, and there is still a gulf between the races. Many blacks are trapped in cycles of poverty, unemployment, violence and despair in the inner city.

  31. 3. Hispanic Americans Hispanic Americans constitute several distinct ethnic groups, linked by a shared language and a cultural heritage derived from Spanish colonialism. The most sizable groups are Mexican Americans the largest, followed by Puerto Ricans and Cubans.

  32. 1) The Development of the Hispanic Minority A. Mexican Americans Mexican American, Mexican, Chicano, Latino, Hispano, Spanish-American, and Latin American have all been used at one time or another and have been applied to the same group in different regions.

  33. Mexico gained its independence from Spain in1810, and its territory at that time encompassed an area as far north as what is today Colorado. • The Mexican War in 1848 proved disastrous for Mexico, for it lost more than half its territory.

  34. The overwhelming majority of Mexican Americans entered the US as voluntary immigrants during the 19th and 20th centuries, pulled by the labor needs of the American Southwest.

  35. The vast majority of Mexicans today are racial hybrids. Most Mexican immigrants to the US have been mestizos.

  36. They live mainly in the 5 southwestern states of California, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado. 80% of them live in urban areas.

  37. Mexicans are the country’s largest immigrant group, and their numbers are swelled by a continual flow of illegal entrants.

  38. B. Puerto Ricans in the US • Puerto Rico became a territory of the US in 1898 following the Spanish- American War, and in 1917 the inhabitants of the island were given the status of American citizenship.

  39. Puerto Ricans are not technically immigrants, even though they come to the mainland from a distinctly alien culture. • The greatest influx occurred during the 1950s, when nearly 20% of the island’s population moved to the mainland.

  40. Two factors: citizenship rights (with no restrictions, quotas, or other legal steps) and airline service (cheap and rapid). • Almost two-thirds of them in the mainland US live in New York City.

  41. C. Cubans in the US • Cubans are the least racially heterogeneous, most of them are “white”. • The movement of Cubans to the US has been a voluntary immigration mainly by political rather than economic motives.

  42. Most immigrants from 1960s to 1970s were middle-, upper-middle, or upper-class people and white in color, who were permitted to enter the US as refugees without restriction. • Many of the Cuban immigrants in the 1980s were black or mulatto.

  43. About two-thirds of the entire Cuban-American population (600,000) reside in the Miami area.

  44. 2) The Socioeconomic Status of Hispanics • Hispanics occupy an intermediate position, below European ethnic groups, but, in some ways, above blacks, with Cubans at the top, Mexicans in the middle, and Puerto Ricans at the bottom.

  45. Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans have displayed minimal entrance into the mainstream economy at its higher levels, and both groups are over-represented among the American poor.

  46. Three factors to explain their low position First, lack of skills; Second, employment discrimination against Hispanics ; Third, language difficulties, education and age.

  47. The Cuban immigrants differ from other Hispanics in social origin. First, their high occupational skills and educational levels have translated into rapid upward mobility in the US.

  48. Second, most Cuban immigrants are white, and have not been exposed to the added handicap of racial discrimination in the labor market.

  49. 3) Hispanics and Societal Power • Hispanics are in a less developed stage of political participation than are Blacks, and almost totally absent from top positions in any institutional area.

  50. Tactics are used to prevent Hispanics, as well as other minority groups, from voting, such as the poll tax, gerrymandering of ethnic districts, literacy tests, intimidation, and even violence.

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