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Assimilation to American Society

Assimilation to American Society
Theories and Realities
One representation of America
Assimilation/Americanization = Social Mobility
• 1st generation (immigrant
generation) arrives without
wealth, education, or fluency
in English: works hard as an
entrepreneur or in manual
• 2nd generation (children of
immigrants): fluent in English,
finish school in U.S., achieve
middle-class status
• 3rd generation (grandchildren
of immigrants): go to college,
successful professionals
Children at Ellis Island, 1908
But some anthropologists found that
assimilation was counterproductive to social
• Punjabi immigrants to
• Farm-workers
• Kept their children from the
local peer culture: inside,
working with the family
• Pulled their daughters out
of school if they weren’t
doing well, to marry them
In some measures of wellbeing,
which often correlate to social class,
immigrants do better than the native-born….
• Education: lower high-school dropout rates for first
generation immigrants than for second-generation
immigrants or native-born
• Health: immigrants live longer, on average, than the native
born, although the effect wears off the longer they live in the
United States (or Canada)
Cultural Ecology model by John Ogbu
The achievement gap is the result of the
nature of the history, subordination, and
exploitation of the minority group and the
minority group’s interpretation and
response to their oppression.
• Autonomous minorities
• Immigrant minorities
• Subordinate or castelike minorities
Segmented Assimilation = Americanization
might mean downward mobility or upward
• Different social classes in American society with different
relations to education (aspiration and achievement, p. 135)
• In 2009, 4.8 % of Blacks and 5.8% of Hispanics between 15
and 24 dropped out of grades 10-12, compared with 2.4% for
white students.
• Also in 2009, the dropout rate for low-income students was
five times greater than their high-income counterparts -- 7.4%
percent compared with 1.4%t.
Drop-out Rates, 1972-2004
College Enrollment Rates,
What conclusions do Stepick and Stepick draw about
assimilation of the children of immigrants?
Miami: An Immigrant City
• 2.6 million people in MiamiDade County
• 65% Hispanic or Latino; 51%
Foreign-born; 72% spoke
language other than English
at home
• 1.2million Cubans in
Greater Miami area; began
migrating to Miami in 1950;
Cuban Revolution 1953;
came as refugees
• Politically and economically
prominent (first Latino
president to be Cuban?
Marco Rubio?)
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