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Ethnic Diversity in America. Discussion Outline. White Identity and privilege Rediscovering Ethnicity Ethnic Diversity and Historical Immigration. I. White Identity. English Immigrants established white identity and the privileges that went along with it

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discussion outline
Discussion Outline
  • White Identity and privilege
  • Rediscovering Ethnicity
  • Ethnic Diversity and Historical Immigration
i white identity
I. White Identity
  • English Immigrants established white identity and the privileges that went along with it
  • European ethnics assimilated and distanced themselves from oppressed groups to become a part of the dominant group
    • Language
    • Religion
    • Cultural practices
      • Most immigrants were not “white on arrival” but became “white”
      • Can you tell when someone is second or third generation Swedish American, Irish American, or German American

Most whites do not think of themselves as white or have a conscious racial identity the same way other racial groups often do

  • Whiteness is often invisible
    • Whites are not reminded of their whiteness often
      • Who are you? What is your identity?
      • Who is our current president? Who was the last president?

White privilege

    • Rights granted as a benefit or favor of being white
      • Does it exist?
        • Peggy McIntosh article
the rediscovery of ethnicity
The Rediscovery of Ethnicity
  • Blended Identity
    • A self image and worldview that is a combination of Religious faith, cultural background based on nationality, and status as resident or citizen of the United States
      • Moving freely among different identities in one’s daily life
        • Complexity of identity can lead to some confusion

The deficit model of ethnic identity

    • A view that states that others view one’s identity as a factor of subtracting away characteristics corresponding to some ideal ethnic type
      • Divisions and confusion arise in ethnic communities as to who can be counted a member of the community
      • What does it mean to be a perfect Arab American, Mexican American, or Chinese American?
        • People may view others as either too ethnic or too American

The Third Generation Principle

    • “What the son wishes to Forget, the Grandson wishes to remember”

Ethnic Paradox

    • Refers to the maintenance of one’s ethnic ties in a way that can assist with assimilation into the larger society
      • Immigrant youth and adults who maintain some ties to their ethnic ties have higher rates of success in society

Symbolic Ethnicity

    • Embraced mainly by ethnic whites
    • Ethnicity today involves the symbols of ethnicity and support for certain political issues, but it is mainly symbolic and does not interfere with one’s daily life
historical immigration patterns
Historical Immigration Patterns
    • A nation of Immigrants with differing experiences
  • German Americans: Immigration began in 1700’s and between 1830 and 1890, German accounted for ¼ of immigrants
  • Irish Americans-Immigration dates back to 1600’s with major influx during the great potato famine of 1840’s
    • Were historically discrimnated against in U.S. and equated with black Americans during 1800’s-The Irish “grasped for whiteness”
    • In 2009, 36.9 million Americans identified themselves as Irish
      • eight times the current population of Ireland itself.
      • Massachusetts has the largest concentration (24%)

Italian Immigrants-Mass migration after 1880’s into 20th century

    • Suffering discrimination in the job market, crime became a means of upward mobility
    • Created modern stereotype of Italians as criminals