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Diverse Pathways

Race and the Incorporation of Black, White, and Arab-Origin Africans in the United States

Kevin J. A. Thomas

Publication Year: 2014

Africans are among the fastest-growing immigrant groups in the United States. Although they are racially and ethnically diverse, few studies have examined how these differences affect their patterns of incorporation into society. This book is the first to highlight the role of race and ethnicity, Arab ethnicity in particular, in shaping the experiences of African immigrants. It demonstrates that American conceptions of race result in significant inequalities in the ways in which African immigrants are socially integrated. Thomas argues that suggestions that Black Africans are model-minorities who have overcome the barriers of race are misleading, showing that Black and Arab-ethnicity Africans systematically experience less favorable socioeconomic outcomes than their White African counterparts. Overall, the book makes three critical arguments. First, historical and contemporary constructions of race have important implications for understanding the dynamics of African immigration and settlement in the United States. Second, there are significant racial inequalities in the social and economic incorporation of contemporary African immigrants. Finally, Arab ethnicity has additional implications for understanding intra-racial disparities in incorporation among contemporary African immigrants. In general, these arguments are foundational for understanding the diversity of African immigrant experiences.

Published by: Michigan State University Press

Series: Ruth Simms Hamilton African Diaspora


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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

When I was a student in graduate school the thought of writing a book hardly ever crossed my mind. After my advisor suggested that I seriously consider writing a book, I developed a greater appreciation for the role books play in advancing scholarly discourses. It was several years later...

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Chapter 1. Race, Ethnicity, and African Immigration to the United States

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pp. 1-18

History was made when the winner of the Oscar for best actress was announced in 2004. Before then, no African had won the coveted Oscar for best actress at the Academy Awards ceremony. Given the limited number of African actors in Hollywood, the chances of having an African-born...

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Chapter 2. Theoretical Perspectives

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pp. 19-34

Several theoretical perspectives can be used to predict the expected socioeconomic incorporation processes of Black and White African immigrants. Developing a more comprehensive framework for understanding these processes, however, requires a careful distinction between their pre- and post-migration...

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Chapter 3. Educational Attainment and Postimmigration Schooling Progress

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pp. 35-52

The educational profile of immigrants provides important insights into their human-capital endowments and their expected trajectory of socioeconomic incorporation. As critical human-capital indicators, schooling levels can predict whether or not immigrants will experience upward mobility...

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Chapter 4. Occupational Status, Human-Capital Transfer, and the Incorporation Process

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pp. 53-76

An observational study was conducted between January 2006 and June 2007 to investigate reports of race-based employment discrimination at high-end restaurants in New York (Lee 2009). As part of the study, thirty-seven individuals, who were Black, White, Asian, or Latino, were ask to apply for positions as waiters/waitresses advertised by 181 restaurants. The...

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Chapter 5. Earnings, Self-Employment, and Economic Incorporation

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pp. 77-96

While the occupational outcomes of Africans help us understand the dynamics of their integration into the labor force, specific insights into their economic welfare can be derived from the examination of their access to financial resources. Access to monetary resources is an essential...

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Chapter 6. Race, Ethnicity, and Marital Incorporation

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pp. 97-114

Cultural differences that affect interpersonal relationships are among the most significant barriers that immigrants encounter during the incorporation process. Unlike differences in outcomes such as occupational status and incomes, cultural differences between immigrants and natives also...

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Chapter 7. Conclusion

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pp. 115-126

US senator John Kerry married Teresa Simões-Ferreira Heinz, his second wife, in 1995. She was previously married to Henry J. Heinz III, a wealthy heir to the Henry J. Heinz company, who later died in 1991. Teresa Heinz Kerry was also a regular fixture in the US media during the...

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Appendix. Data and Methods Used in the Analysis

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pp. 127-134

Reliable and representative information on the social and economic characteristics of African immigrants is lacking in most US data sets. Consequently, in order to empirically describe racial and ethnic differences in the outcomes of African immigrants, the analysis employs data...


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pp. 135-148


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pp. 149-152

E-ISBN-13: 9781609173951
E-ISBN-10: 1609173953
Print-ISBN-13: 9781611861044
Print-ISBN-10: 1611861047

Page Count: 160
Publication Year: 2014

Edition: 1st
Series Title: Ruth Simms Hamilton African Diaspora
Series Editor Byline: John Smith, Will Wordsworth See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 878130614
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Diverse Pathways

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Africans -- Cultural assimilation -- United States.
  • Africans -- United States -- Social conditions.
  • Africans -- United States -- Economic conditions.
  • Immigrants -- United States -- Social conditions.
  • Immigrants -- United States -- Economic conditions.
  • Africa -- Emigration and immigration -- Social aspects.
  • United States -- Emigration and immigration -- Social aspects.
  • United States -- Race relations.
  • Social surveys -- United States.
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