Assimilation is the process by which a new group of people is absorbed into a given community and they adopt the way of life of their new environment. Discrimination is the process by which individuals are set apart basing on distinct features. The modern United States of America is full of immigrants. These immigrants have various reasons why they moved into the country. The American community desires that immigrants assimilate them but still the same Americans discriminate them due to various reasons.
There is a remarkable integration of immigrants with Americans. Ethnic boundaries are a result of the measures of assimilation. Immigration patterns determine the durability and nature of an ethnic pattern. In the past decade, European immigrants experienced discrimination from Americans daily. However, with the birth of each new generation, majorly through intermarriages, this gap decreases. This, in turn, creates a nostalgic allegiance to the immigrant generation (Parrenas 2001). However, transnational families experience an emotional strain as one party is separated from his or her loved ones. This in turn yields an emotional workforce that does not provide the best of services. Dreby (2007) notes, “Whether intentional or subconscious, by overlooking their migrant parents and ceding to the caregivers who raise them, children signal the importance of the primary caregiver in their lives” Moreover, the party who went to a foreign land to look for a job gets a short holiday. Considering the fare and the period, they are going to spend with their family they opt not to travel creating further emotional strain. Looking at the whites who live with their families makes the feel incomplete. Thus, they alienate themselves from the rest.
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Immigrant replenishment determines the formation of ethnic identities. Mexican Americans have structural assimilation. They confront their boundaries with other groups by experiencing the effects of nativist sentiments, as they are targets of anti-immigrant antipathy and refreshing the salience of their race (Jiminez 2008). This has led to a subsequent decrease in discrimination and at times, some Mexican Americans are confused with whites. As new generations arise, the intensity of discrimination decreases. Mexican Americans avoid ethnic boundaries and challenge those who want to impose hem. Thus, immigration patterns increase the assimilation ability of a group as well as decrease the discrimination rates of the subsequent generations.
Americans desire to have a non-biased community where people freely interact without discrimination. They desire that immigrants may adapt to their social settings and economic way of life. However, the same Americans, discriminate people based on race. Races are divided into two- the whites and the non-whites. The non-whites may have phenotypes that are identified as relatives of the whites (ChangHwan 2010). The whites have a higher socio-economic advantage. This is in terms of better schooling, safer neighborhoods favored job interviews and higher labor market rewards. On the contrary, non-whites are incorporated in subordinate positions and highly neglected during job interviews as they are considered to be of lower intelligence.
Classical models of assimilation illustrate that children of non-American descent will assimilate the culture of Americans like earlier European immigrants in America. In assimilation, there is upward mobility for both immigrants and their children as the latter experience a better social and economic status; that is mostly associated with the American middle class (Kalegrides 2009). This is because the immigrants have developed close ties with the natives of the country. However, research indicates that the natives have greater cross-ethnic ties than immigrants do. There are strong in-group than ex-group ties. In neighborhoods with some few immigrants, development organizations tend to be occupied by only one ethnic group- the whites. The non-whites in the community are thus discriminated, as their needs are not catered for by these organizations due to lack of adequate representation in development groups.
Immigrant communities tend to have good cross-ethnic ties amongst themselves than with the natives. In a given state, the Anglos and Mexican Americans living in the state tend to have closer ties amongst themselves than with the Native Americans (Brown 2006). Immigrant generations tend to be close due to differences in language; cultural values and ethnicity that they want to do away with and assimilate the American culture. However, the bond between immigrants and natives is due to the help immigrants need to be able to survive in a foreign country. This forms a basis of discrimination.
In spatial assimilation, the social and economic status of an individual matter. These two factors account for any strong cross-ethnic ties in the American community. Asian immigrants are often perceived to be highly skilled and economically stable (Scott et.al 2005). Thus, their ability to get a house wherever they want is enhanced. Those who have the ability to live in a rich area have the ability to form large social networks due to heavy financial and human capital as their social status is respected. On the contrary, there is documented discrimination against the Africans and Hispanics who are considered stupid and poor. This discrimination often dwarfs their ability to thrive.
Race and gender are a strong foundation of power inequality. Racialization of non-Americans creates social distances and power dynamics that are unequal. Racial identity may be both relational and situational in America. When people downplay the aspects of their identity, they have situational racialization (Vasquez 2010). This is mostly by faking names or accent. These racial identities are fluid as they can be perceived or self-identified. Female immigrants gave an advantage over male immigrants, as they are ethnically flexible. People of Mexican origin in borderland are often believed to be of multiple personalities. Men are termed to be gangsters while women exotics. These attributes affect structural assimilation.
As an appreciation of assimilation, the government of the United States of America allows individuals who have stayed in the country for more than five years to obtain citizenship ad gain the title American. However, the term American is often used to refer to European Americans or White Americans only. The rest of the immigrants as much as they have obtained American citizenship are referred to in hyphenated form (Golash 2006). For example, African-American, Mexican-American, and Asian-American, giving them the identity of their original homeland. Americans attuned to this discrimination in the U.S society often are acquitted with their privileges as whites. This kind of discrimination offers racial identity and segregation. Therefore, how an individual assimilates to the American society greatly depends on his or her racial status.
Equal employment rules and some affirmative actions have been set by the American government to enhance assimilation of immigrants. In the constitution, the government clearly states that anyone, whether white or not, should have access to equal employment opportunities and working conditions. In the law sector, whites dominate the profession with approximately less than 10% of lawyers being non-American. The few non- whites in the profession mostly Chicana Attorneys state that the field is full of racist. Many organizational practices encourage homophobia, racism, and sexism (Garcia 2008). These practices often limit the advancement of Chicana Attorneys in the law field. Mechanisms employed in work places often do not take into account the contribution of Chicana Attorneys.
The United States of America is in a post-racial era that encourages multiculturalism. In male dominated jobs, white men exclude white women. Any female in the male dominated jobs always has hierarchical issues, gender discrimination incidences, and sexual harassment cases. This makes white women dominate the teaching profession in elementary schools, as it is associated with females mostly (Flores 2011). Latina women have no option but to also join the white women in the teaching profession. White teachers consider Latina teachers to be racialized tokens. The Latina teachers do not long for any integration with the whites. Instead, they form segregated groups where they are comfortable. The white teachers often alienate them creating racial exclusion and inequality. In their work places, African Americans are told to dress in attire hat hides their ethnic identity. All this are illustrations of how discrimination exists despite the countries initiatives of encouraging multiculturalism.
The U.S.A population and labor force are under transition. There is an influx of immigrants in the country’s population and work force (Hagan 2004). The government is happy about this as the immigrants contribute to the general growth of the economy through providing labor force. Thus, it encourages assimilation. This influx has brought about economic implications. Natives have higher educational accomplishments as compared to foreigners. However, when both are compared they are almost equivalent. An increase in high-paid jobs is accompanied by a subsequent increase in low-paying jobs. These low paying jobs are often given to immigrants thus contributing to the U.S.A economy. This brings about discrimination.
In conclusion, the government of the United States of America adores immigrants. This is mainly because it has set up laws that encourage equality for both natives and foreigners. Besides, it encourages immigrants to adopt the culture of Americans. However, discrimination based on race or gender is part of the daily life experienced by foreigners in the country. No matter how hard the country tries, it cannot be eliminated as illustrated in the social setting and work places in America.
Brown, K. (2006). Structural Assimilation Revisited Mexican-Original Nativity and Cross-Ethnic Primary Ties. University of California.
Dreby, J. (2007). Children and power in Mexican transnational families. Journal of Marriage and Family , 69 (4), 1050-1064
Flores, M. (2001). Racialized Tokens: Latina Teachers Negotiating, Surviving, and Thriving in a white woman’s profession. Springer
Jimenez, R, T. (2008). Mexican Immigrant Replenishment and the Continuing Significance of Ethnicity and Race . The University of Chicago Press
Hogan, J, M. (2004). Contextualizing Immigrant labor market incorporation: legal, demographic, and economic dimensions. University of Houston
Golash, T. (2006). Dropping the hyphen. Becoming a Latino-American through racialized assimilation. University of Kansas
Garcia, G, L. (2008). The Challenges of Inclusion and Strategies for Success of Chicana Attorneys. University of California.
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