Gordon and Assimilation
- Following Gordon, what is assimilation? Why is it important (i) for the host society and (ii) for the immigrant population?
Gordon defines assimilation as the change of cultural patterns, which he represents assimilation in three images: cultural pluralism, the melting pot, and Anglo-conformity. In this case, assimilation involves the immigrant group losing their cultural heritage and conforming to the cultures of the host (Gordon, pg.4).
Assimilation is essential to the host society because it is a unifying factor. The immigrant group has to leave their cultures, such as languages, religious practices, music, and social values, forming one big community.
For the immigrant group, assimilation is essential because they become like the natives; hence, they can freely run their activities without being barred by the hosts.
- For the case study, choose a family household within two generations of immigrating to the US. (The eldest members can be born here to immigrant parents). Ask the following questions. Where did you come from? From the Dominican Republic.
Why did they leave? They were seeking better work and pay
When did they arrive? Sandra was the first to arrive in 1975
What determined where they settled? They were looking for a place with better working conditions and better pay. They felt New York was better.
Did they arrive in a family as a family or in a chain? Sandra was the first to arrive. She then met her husband, also a Dominican immigrant. She later brought in her sisters, brothers, and other family members apart from her parents.
What resources or capital did they bring that shaped the direction and pace of their assimilation? It was easy for them to assimilate because their working skills and work ethic were excellent, which led to them having some money to build their dream house.
- Use interviews and observation to determine the extent of assimilation, paying attention to generational differences. Assess for significant types of assimilation.
- a) Cultural (including educational).
What is cultural assimilation? It is the change of one’s cultural patterns to conform to the hosts. State the examples of cultures that one has to leave behind?-music, dietary preferences, and social values, among others.
How does cultural assimilation affect different generations? The immigrants are usually less assimilated than the second-generation they get as immigrants. For example, Ortiz’s daughters are more assimilated than their parents because they were born in the host country.
Does cultural assimilation affect education for the different generations? (YES/NO) explain – Yes, because, for example, their education is more like children born by their native parents for the second generation. Ortiz’s eldest daughter, who is in college, admires to undertake a professional carrier and live a life that is not influenced by Dominican cultures. She also lives with her boyfriend, just like another college friend.
- b) Social (including residential)
What are the two social groups?-primary and secondary groups.
What do the two social groups involve? The primary groups involve the dear essentials that we need, such as friends and family members, while secondary ones involve those we are parts of, such as workplaces and schools.
What do we mean by ethnic segregation? In social assimilation, there is ethnic segregation in cases where the lower class community’s need is seen as inferior because they do not have resources. Hence, education and health care facilities are not available (Gordon, pg.2). Residents of America are at a higher mobility level and enjoy the facilities.
After conducting an observation, I realized that Monica was more privileged than other family members. She hates being associated with Dominican culture, so she does not visit the Dominican during Christmas.
- c) Identification.
How do individuals protect themselves as an ethnic and as an American? (Referring to your answer to My American Girls: A Dominican Story)
Most of the time, we are confined by our larger community to do what they want us to do even when we are against it. Monica, the eldest daughter of Ortiz, does not need to act as a Dominican, so she decides what to do and which not to. This shows how different generations are different in making their decisions.
- d) Marital assimilation.
In instances of marriage, two people are strangers, but they are not different in their cultures. I have observed that individuals get married even when their race, nationality, and religious beliefs are other.
- Is there still meaningful ethnic persistence (i.e., partial assimilation) regarding culture, social relationships, and marital choice? Does this slow or even oppose assimilation?
There is ethnic persistence in that one is not wholly assimilated. The person continues with their cultural activities such as religious practices while education is that of their hoots. Additionally, one can have Americans in their secondary groups and not primary groups. One can be married to a nonnative of America and still live in America in a marital choice. This slows down the assimilation because individuals still hold on to their cultures instead of becoming fully assimilated.
- Is there evidence of new ethnicity (e.g., Latinos, desi, Chicano) that limits assimilation? There has been no concrete evidence that new ethnicities limit assimilation. However, Monica identifies herself as a black and a Latino simultaneously (Gordon, pg. 3). Additionally, ethnic groups have cultural origins from non-whites. The new group that is forming has a vague ancestry knowledge about their history, and so they refer to themselves as Irish Americans or English Americans, thus not limiting assimilation (Richard, pg. 5).
- How is this family’s experience for the ethnic group in the city or metropolitan region? Note and explain any discrepancies.
It is difficult for the first generation to leave their Dominican culture. They maintain family relations other than acquiring individualism. Hence, the Dominican culture influences the
younger daughters. However, there are some differences because Monica, the eldest daughter, is extraordinarily assimilated. She undergoes the American formal education and is in a better labor market position than her parents.
- With your case study in mind, is there political resistance to the group’s assimilation? Is the group assimilating into a position of inequality and subordination?
Gordan says that there is racial discrimination, and non-whites are discriminated against. By this, the Ortiz are nonnatives of America. To receive treatments like the natives, one had to prove they were a middle class (lacy). They are underrepresented in issues concerning government institutions. The New York policies favor the whites. The Ortiz family faces inequality since Gordon says that the only person who was in a better position is only Monica, their elder daughter.
Richard, Alba, “The Likely Persistence of a White Majority,” American Prospect (27.04.2022). Lacy, Karyn. “How to Prove You’re Middle Class,” NYT (27.04.2022).
1) Ethnic Groups and American Institutions
How has a specific ethnic group imprinted on some area of American life? Here are some suggestions:
- African Americans: southern cuisine, popular music, popular dance, marching bands, basketball and football, youth culture “cool”, organized crime
- Italian Americans: food culture, sanitation, popular music, (Dago) “cool”, youth style (“Guido”), organized crime
- Irish Americans: police and fire (NYC), Catholic religious vocations and liturgy, organized crime
- Greek Americans: restaurants (diners), organized crime
- Albanian Americans: Italian restaurants, organized crime
- Jamaican Americans: popular music, nursing, track (sprints), organized crime
- Jewish Americans: Hollywood, the law, accounting, organized crime
1) What historical circumstances shaped entry into this area? Consider the types of “capital” brought into the situation (i.e., a cultural heritage that includes language and education) and the structure of opportunity in the larger society.
2) Is the group over-represented in membership numbers?
3) Does the group or group members exert disproportionate power or enjoy privilege?
4) Has the group’s culture been imparted to the institution?
2) Framing Ethnic Identity in the Mass Media
For this project, you will investigate the framing of ethnic group identity in the mass media. You will focus on a single case reported in media outlets like the press (print media) or a TV show.
- Identify the media text (e.g., The BET Hip Hop Awards Show, Jersey Shore, Ebony).
- What themes construct ethnicity? Use the perspective developed in class which relies on the work of Cornell and Hartmann. In particular, what identities were invoked? For example, were the principals defined by race or nationality or some new ethnicity (e.g., Latino, Desi)? Also, what did these identities mean? Here, pay attention to prominent themes or motifs like “criminality” assigned to Italian Americans by Hollywood.
- To what extent are these media representations ethnic stereotypes?
- Is there a pattern of mass media stereotypes for this ethnic group (i.e., found in other texts and perhaps widely accepted)?
- Why do you think these perspectives are used to tell the story? In particular, is there a media agenda or ideology?
Rewrite based off these points.
1 Gordon’s theory of assimilation goes way beyond cultural change. This is reflected in the question #3.
2 You rely on the Ortiz family for data. However, there is not enough information in the film to answer these questions. The project is designed for you to find your own subject to study.
3) This is the centerpiece of the project. You will need data to make the necessary distinctions among the “types”/”stages” of assimilation.
4) Your remaining answers, #4 through #7 lack the necessary substance; this can be resolved with the appropriate subject.
All of the above points have been emphasized in class. You will have a 2d draft.