While people immigrating to the United States are often searching for better economic situations or to be reunited with family members, they are instead thrown into a system that has had a history of retaliating against them for searching for a better life. The United States has always had a difficult relationship with immigration, both needing it to promote growth in economic and demographic spheres while also using it as an easy scapegoat for many of the country’s problems. Once within the U.S. borders, immigrants are expected to conform, or assimilate, to the country’s standards and ideals, which also includes adapting to the racialized system that controls much of the politics and day to day life of American citizens. Suddenly, immigrants …show more content…
In turn, the rates of immigration and the responses to it has helped shape the United States as a country as well into one that may always find itself divided across racial lines. Historically, in the United States, racial categories have been based on a white or non-white binary, where being classified as “white” gives that individual more power and more opportunities in their lifetime, often termed “white privilege”. This idea is examined in works such as Cornell and Hartmann’s book, Ethnicity and Race: Making Identities in a Changing World and Barrett and Roedinger’s “How White People …show more content…
In Cornell and Harmann’s work (1998), they point out how often these racial categories have changed, allowing new groups to enter and exit each classification with the only fixed truth being that being classified as white was better than being classified as non-white (p. 26). Prior to 1965, a year that introduced new immigration policies, the United States tried to restrict most of its immigrant population to having Northern or Western European origins. Immigrants from other countries were seen as non-white and therefore not desirable. This was the case for many immigrants such as the Irish, Southern Europeans, and Jews (Omi and Winant, 1994, p. 17) and resulted in laws like the Chinese Exclusion Act (“Race: The Power of an Illusion – Episode 1”, 2003). In their article, Barrett and Roediger point out terms that academics have used for these immigrants such as “our Temporary Negros . . . [and] not-yet-white ethnics” (1994, p. 404). These phrases represent the ideas of assimilation that often begin to emerge when one examines the immigrant experience in the United States. During this time period, Gordon’s theory of classical assimilation dominated the way people thought immigrants would assimilate. Their “non-white” classification would only be temporary, since in order to
Click here to unlock this and over one million essaysShow More
America is a land filled with immigrants coming from different corners of the worlds, all in hopes of finding a better life in the country. However, No one had an easy transition from his or her home country to this foreign land. Not every race thrived the same way—some were luckier than others, while some have faced enormous obstacles in settling down and being part of the American society. Many people have suffered
Any notable person with medical expertise will testify that racial identities bear no scientific weight and one’s race is only as significant as the person--or culture the said person is submerged in--makes it out to be. When dissected sociologically, “race prejudice [is] an irrational manifestation of individual pathologies” (Racial Fault Lines, 17)... “[that] represent attempts by one group of people to secure for themselves a privileged position in the social structure at the expense of stigmatized and subordinated social groups,” (Racial Fault Lines, 18). And, while the privileged groups’ “superiority” and other groups’ “inferiority” is arbitrary and holds no ethical legitimacy, the damage caused to the “inferior” groups is undeniable and enormously detrimental. Tomás Almaguer, in his insightful book, Racial Fault Lines: The Historical Origins of White Supremacy in California, explores the various ways in which the Mexican, Native American, and Asian populations in the late nineteenth century
The legal boundaries between white and non-white have been, at least partially, defined through the struggles between Asian immigrants and the U.S. government at the turn of the 20th century. This process culminated with the Supreme Court’s decision on February 23, 1923, ruling that Bhagat Singh Thind, an Asian Indian immigrant, should not be considered a white person despite his claims of having Aryan ancestry, thus belonging to the Caucasian race (Hind...
Omi and Winant’s concept of racialization is formed around the theory that race is a social conception while Bonilla-Silva’s is formed around the theory of racialized social systems. We will first look at Omi and Winant, and then we’ll move onto Bonilla-Silva’s concept of racialization. Omi and Winant say “Within the contemporary social science literature, race is assumed to be a variable which is shaped by broader societal forces.” (Omi & Winant 1986, pg. 3) The racial line in the United States has been defined and reinforced over centuries. Whites are seen as a “pure” while those who are mixed are categorized as “nonwhite.” This sort of thinking comes from the idea of hypo-descent. The theory of hypo-descent is as follows: no matter how small the African American ancestry a person has, they are still considered African American. Marvin Harris said “The rule of hypo-descent is, therefore, an invention, which we in the United States have made in order to keep biological facts from intruding into our collective racist fantasies.” (Omi & Winant 1986, pg. 3) The notion of “passing” began after the implementation of hypo-descent. Individuals who are categorized as “black” according to hypo-descent attempt to bypass discriminatory barriers by “passing” for white. When an individual is “passing” they try to assimilate themselves into the other race. “Passing” made it to the Supreme Court with the Takao Ozawa case. Ozawa, a Japanese male, filed for United States citizenship under the Naturalization Act of 1906. Ozawa stated that he had assimilated to the “white” way of life and should be considered “white.” The Supreme Court found that only Caucasians were white, and the Japanese were an “unassimilated” race.
Following the 1890’s, the world began to undergo the first stages of globalization. Countries and peoples, who, until now, were barely connected, now found themselves neighbors in a planet vastly resembling a global village. Despite the idealized image of camaraderie and brotherhood this may seem to suggest, the reality was only discrimination and distrust. Immigration to new lands became a far more difficult affair, as emigrants from different nations came to be viewed as increasingly foreign. In the white-dominated society of the United States during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the only way to truly count oneself as American was to become “white”. For this reason, the idea of race, a socially constructed issue with no real physical basis, has become one of the most defining factors which shape immigration and assimilation in the United States.
Prior to beginning my readings on white racial identity, I did not pay much attention to my white race. If someone had asked me to describe my appearance I would have said short blond hair, blue eyes, average stature, etc. One of the last things I would have noted was the color of my skin. Growing up in overwhelmingly white communities, I never thought to use the color of my skin to differentiate myself from others. Over the course of this dialogue I have learned that my white racial identity is one of the most defining aspects of my appearance in this society. There is a certain level of privilege that I am afforded based solely on the color of my skin. According to Peggy McIntosh, “White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, assurances, tools, maps, guides, codebooks, passports, visas, clothes, compass, emergency gear, and blank checks” (71). All these objects listed by McIntosh are things I have access to and certainly take for granted. Due to a history of non-white racial oppression, which transformed into decades of racial discrimination that still lingers today, the white race has dominated our society in terms of resources and prosperity. The ideas of wealth, higher-level education and ambition to succeed are all traits commonly linked to people of the white race that collectively define privilege. The aspect of privilege can also produce disadvantages for people of the white race as well. In the book Promoting Diversity and Justice, the author D. Goodman notes that people of advantage groups develop a sense of superiority, which will sometimes lead them to wonder if, “their achievements were based on privilege or merit” (107). Along with a diminished sense of accomplishment, the cost ...
The United States has often been referred to as a global “melting pot” due to its assimilation of diverse cultures, nationalities, and ethnicities. In today’s society, this metaphor may be an understatement. Between 1990 and 2010, the number of foreign born United States residents nearly doubled from 20 million to 40 million, increasing the U.S. population from almost 250 million to 350 million people. With U.S. born children and grandchildren of immigrants, immigration contributed to half of this population growth. These immigrants, consisting of mostly Asian and Hispanic backgrounds, have drastically changed the composition of the U.S. population. In 2010, Asians and Hispanics made up 20 percent of the U.S. population, in contrast to a 6 percent share of Asians and Hispanics in 1970. It is predicted that by 2050, the share of immigrants in the United States will increase to one half of the entire population. With this rapid increase in diversity, many citizens have opposing views on its impact on the United States. In my opinion, an increase in immigration does contain both positive and negatives effects, but in general it provides an overriding positive influence on America’s society (“Population”).
Without a doubt, the European continent has been through a lot over the last few decades. From World War 2, to the iron grip of Soviet Russia on half of the continent, many problems have arisen and been dealt with. Unfortunately, Europe has had a rough few years when it comes to the somewhat newer issue of immigration and immigrant groups. While some countries have managed immigration better than others, nations such as France and Italy have had their fair share of problems and continue to pass legislation that is flawed and draws criticism from other countries. The issue has gotten better in recent years, and various European countries have made great progress towards their immigration policies. In addition, various ethnic groups have been the target of government profiling and discrimination. Most notably the Romani people, who have faced discrimination for hundreds of years and continue to do so at the hands of various Eastern and Western European governments. The many setbacks and gains towards immigration are more clearly visible when looked at on a case-by-case basis, such as the individual policies of Italy, France, and the European Union as a whole.
Immigration has always and will always be an essential part of America’s demographic and cultural diversity. Our country was founded on the immigration of Europeans to the New World; without them our nation would not be as advanced as it is today. Over the past three centuries, America’s immigration policies have evolved, both positively and negatively. Although we are moving forward, several episodes in our country’s immigration policy have targeted and attacked certain ethnic or cultural groups. Throughout America there is disparity regarding attitudes toward immigrants. Policies fluctuate throughout the entire country, different states, and even major cities. As the United States moves forth, it is vital that we remember how crucial immigrants
White privilege is institutionalized when the practices and policies of an institution systematically benefit whites at the expense of other racial groups. Peggy McIntosh published an article entitled “White privilege: Unpacking the invisible knapsack”, which names in very clear ways, how everyday, having white skin confers privileges that white people don’t often realize they receive. By illuminating the many forms that white privilege takes, Peggy McIntosh urges readers to exercise a sociological imagination. She asks us to consider how our individual life experiences are connected to and situated within large-scale patterns and trends in society. She includes a “white privileges” checklist which include answering yes or no to statements. For example, can Chad Aiken confidently say “I can be pulled over by a police cruiser and not have to worry about it being about my race”, or “I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to the “person in charge”, I will be facing a person of my race”. White people are generally free from this systemic bias, suspicion and low expectations that racialized people must endure everyday because it is built into our culture. When a criminal has white skin, his actions are never connected to his race, while a criminal perceived as a brown-skinned Muslim might inspire hatred and suspicion of other
In America, the white purity race became the wealthiest and prominent group. Whiteness proved to grow in the society through cultural ideas, public authority, and cultural norms. Leaving minorities not able to partake fully in the culture. Recently scholars have begun looking into the cultural formations of white racial identity under the framework of whiteness studies (Zack, 2006).
According to the documentary race is still one of first things we notice when we meet or see new people. Even though we may not be racist or believe in racial stereotypes, we can still perpetuate them by letting them determine our initial thoughts or passing them on. Throughout the history of the United States, being a minority never carried the same advantages as being white. At a time, even groups who we would determine as caucasian were not considered to be fully white as they were immigrants from places such as Eastern Europe and had to go through legal processes to determine their “whiteness”.
Though the United States is home to many immigrants, controversy surrounds the issue of immigrants in the United States. The United States in a melting pot of various backgrounds and cultures, yet it is hard for all to merge into acceptance of one another. The first chapter of Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and class covers stratification, prejudice and discrimination, and inequality.