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Becoming New Yorkers

Ethnographies of the New Second Generation

Philip Kasnitz, John H. Mollenkopf, Mary C. Waters

Publication Year: 2004

More than half of New Yorkers under the age of 18 are the children of immigrants. This second generation shares with previous waves of immigrant youth the experience of attempting to reconcile their cultural heritage with American society. In Becoming New Yorkers, noted social scientists Philip Kasinitz, John Mollenkopf, and Mary Waters bring together in-depth ethnographies of some of New York’s largest immigrant populations to assess the experience of the new second generation and to explore the ways in which they are changing the fabric of American culture. Becoming New Yorkers looks at the experience of specific immigrant groups, with regard to education, jobs, and community life. Exploring immigrant education, Nancy López shows how teachers’ low expectations of Dominican males often translate into lower graduation rates for boys than for girls. In the labor market, Dae Young Kim finds that Koreans, young and old alike, believe the second generation should use the opportunities provided by their parents’ small business success to pursue less arduous, more rewarding work than their parents. Analyzing civic life, Amy Forester profiles how the high-ranking members of a predominantly black labor union, who came of age fighting for civil rights in the 1960s, adjust to an increasingly large Caribbean membership that sees the leaders not as pioneers but as the old-guard establishment. In a revealing look at how the second-generation views itself, Sherry Ann Butterfield and Aviva Zeltzer-Zubida point out that black West Indian and Russian Jewish immigrants often must choose whether to identify themselves alongside those with similar skin color or to differentiate themselves from both native blacks and whites based on their unique heritage. Like many other groups studied here, these two groups experience race as a fluid, situational category that matters in some contexts but is irrelevant in others. As immigrants move out of gateway cities and into the rest of the country, America will increasingly look like the multicultural society vividly described in Becoming New Yorkers. This insightful work paints a vibrant picture of the experience of second generation Americans as they adjust to American society and help to shape its future.

Published by: Russell Sage Foundation

Title page

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Copyright

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CONTENTS

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pp. vii-viii

CONTRIBUTORS

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pp. ix-x

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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pp. xi-xii

The “Second Generation in Metropolitan New York Project,” of which Becoming New Yorkers is one product, came about through the efforts of a large number of people, only some whose names appear in the present volume. The editors wish to thank some of those whose hard work and generosity helped make this and subsequent volumes possible. ...

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CHAPTER 1: WORLDS OF THE SECOND GENERATION

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pp. 1-19

Immigration has reshaped America since the mid-1960s. Today immigrants make up one-tenth of the U.S. population. Their U.S.-born children constitute nearly another tenth. In the nation’s two largest cities, New York and Los Angeles, more than half of the population is now of immigrant stock. The number of immigrants in the country now rivals the number at any point in American history, and the diversity of contemporary immigration is ...

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PART I: EDUCATION

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pp. 21-27

Getting an education is both the biggest individual challenge facing children of immigrants as they grow up and the most important institutional sorting mechanism that will send them off into different life trajectories. Norman Nie, Jane Junn, and Kenneth Stehlik-Barry (1996) have underscored the paradox of education: that individual investment in education pays off in upward mobility, but that growing social investment in education ...

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CHAPTER 2: UNRAVELING THE RACE-GENDER GAP IN EDUCATION: SECOND-GENERATION DOMINICAN MEN’S HIGH SCHOOL EXPERIENCES

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pp. 28-56

The social critique articulated by Leo and José, both seniors at what I refer to as Urban High School in New York City, points to the ever-present awareness of racial stigma among Dominican youth, particularly young men. These social critiques are part and parcel of the race-gender gap in education that I witnessed at Urban High School’s graduation in June 1998. At the end of the traditional graduation processional, rows of young women had to be ...

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CHAPTER 3: SOMEWHERE BETWEEN WALL STREET AND EL BARRIO: COMMUNITY COLLEGE AS A SECOND CHANCE FOR SECOND-GENERATION LATINO STUDENTS

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pp. 57-78

Like other Americans, the children of Latino immigrants in New York grow up hearing about the virtues of a formal education. But as Nancy López (this volume) reminds us, they often attend the city’s least desirable schools. Add to this the many other challenges associated with the immigrant experience—newcomer communities, conflicts between the sending and ...

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CHAPTER 4: “BEING PRACTICAL” OR “DOING WHAT I WANT”: THE ROLE OF PARENTS IN THE ACADEMIC CHOICES OF CHINESE AMERICANS

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pp. 79-109

Despite coming from nearly opposite socioeconomic ends of Chinese migration flows to New York, Victoria and Robert relayed a common experience of confronting parental pressure to follow a “practical” professional path. In this chapter, I explore how second-generation Chinese American college students understood the expectations of their Chinese immigrant ...

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PART II: WORK

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pp. 111-114

No part of the contemporary immigrant experience has received more attention or stirred up more controversy than the impact of immigrants on the labor market (see, for examples, Portes 1995). Since most immigrants come to the United States to work, it is understandable that many Americans worry about the effect on their own jobs and wages of the prevalence of immigrant ...

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CHAPTER 5: WHO’S BEHIND THE COUNTER? RETAIL WORKERS IN NEW YORK CITY

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pp. 115-153

A walk down Thirty-fourth Street in Manhattan’s midtown becomes a corporate shopping oasis; music, clothes, cosmetics, and shoe stores compete for clientele from New York City and beyond. But anyone entering these stores will see that while customers cram the aisles, try on clothes, discard items, hunt for bargains, and return goods, a small army of employees, many of them indistinguishable from the shoppers, are wandering the ...

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CHAPTER 6: LEAVING THE ETHNIC ECONOMY: THE RAPID INTEGRATION OF SECOND-GENERATION KOREAN AMERICANS IN NEW YORK

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pp. 154-188

At the time of the interview in 1998, Heesoo was a thirty-four-year-old woman born in Korea and raised in the suburbs of Maryland. She worked as a real estate developer for a major real estate acquisition and development company in New York. A graduate of a prestigious university in the midatlantic, she had also received an M.B.A. from an Ivy League university. Her parents were college-educated, but like many other Korean immigrants ...

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PART III: PARTICIPATION

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pp. 189-196

Earlier periods of migration to the United States inspired many rich studies of the social worlds of immigrants and their American children. This literature often focused on the political and institutional lives of these communities. Midtwentieth-century observers, including Nathan Glazer and Daniel Patrick Moynihan, often highlighted the crucial role that churches, political clubs, labor unions, and fraternal organizations played in helping the ...

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CHAPTER 7: “ISN’T ANYBODY HERE FROM ALABAMA?”: SOLIDARITY AND STRUGGLE IN A “MIGHTY, MIGHTY UNION”

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pp. 197-226

The ethnic contrasts evident in this scene, which was played out in New York City’s Social Service Employees Union (SSEU), are becoming increasingly common as America’s churches, workplaces, educational institutions, and voluntary organizations are dramatically altered by immigration. In this case, the union, which was founded primarily by leftist Jewish and Italian caseworkers and African American civil rights veterans, has been ...

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CHAPTER 8: ETHNIC AND POSTETHNIC POLITICS IN NEW YORK CITY: THE DOMINICAN SECOND GENERATION

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pp. 227-256

Studies of the political incorporation of immigrants often have employed the concept of “generation” to understand how newcomer groups establish a voice in American politics. Such works include studies of the political behavior of “old” immigrants (Treudly 1949; Wirth 1941; Wolfinger 1965), African Americans (Browning, Marshall, and Tabb 1984; Keiser 1997; Pinderhughes 1997), and ...

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CHAPTER 9: CHINATOWN OR UPTOWN? SECOND-GENERATION CHINESE AMERICAN PROTESTANTS IN NEW YORK CITY

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pp. 257-279

It is seven o’clock on Friday night. A group of Chinese and Korean American evangelical Protestants gathers together in the midtown Manhattan apartment of a Chinese American investment banker for the regular meeting of their church-sponsored home fellowship. Seated in a circle on the living room floor, they begin the evening by distributing copies of the Cornell University Korean Christian Fellowship Songbook and singing several contemporary ...

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PART IV: IDENTITY

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pp. 281-287

The issue of how race will affect the future of the new second generation has been a major cause of worry. Since the vast majority of immigrants arriving since 1965 have been nonwhite, many scholars have suggested that the persistence of racial discrimination in the United States may hurt their life chances if whites see them less as immigrants and more as nonwhite (Gans 1992; Waldinger ...

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CHAPTER 10: “WE’RE JUST BLACK”: THE RACIAL AND ETHNIC IDENTITIES OF SECOND-GENERATION WEST INDIANS IN NEW YORK

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pp. 288-312

New York has been transformed by West Indian immigration. This scene in Caribbean Brooklyn also typifies West Indian neighborhoods throughout metropolitan New York. The rising predominance of West Indian communities in New York is a direct result of the rapid increase of black Caribbean immigrants over the last few decades. The 1999 Current Population ...

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CHAPTER 11: CLASS MATTERS: RACIAL AND ETHNIC IDENTITIES OF WORKING- AND MIDDLE-CLASS SECOND-GENERATION KOREAN AMERICANS IN NEW YORK CITY

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pp. 313-338

Asian Americans comprise a diverse group of people with distinct cultural, historical, and social backgrounds and experiences. However, the American public and the popular press tend to perceive Asian Americans as a homogeneous group, comprised of people who share a common penchant for success. As members of a “model minority” group, Asian Americans are presumed ...

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CHAPTER 12: AFFINITIES AND AFFILIATIONS: THE MANY WAYS OF BEING A RUSSIAN JEWISH AMERICAN

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pp. 339-360

Recent census data suggest that there are about 300,000 immigrants from the former Soviet Union and their children living in the New York metropolitan area (March 1998 Current Population Survey). Most of those who left the Soviet Union since the early 1970s immigrated to Israel, where they received immediate citizenship under the “law of return” and extensive “absorption” and resettlement services. Those who chose to immigrate to the ...

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CHAPTER 13: COSMOPOLITAN ETHNICITY: SECOND-GENERATION INDO-CARIBBEAN IDENTITIES

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pp. 361-391

During the 1920s, Bhagat Singh Thind, an Indian immigrant to the United States, attempted to become a naturalized citizen under a law that gave the right of naturalization to “white” residents. The U.S. Supreme Court eventually denied Thind’s right to citizenship, based on his nonwhite status, in spite of arguments that scientific racial classification systems at the ...

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CONCLUSION: CHILDREN OF IMMIGRANTS,CHILDREN OF AMERICA

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pp. 393-403

Nathan Glazer and Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s 1963 classic Beyond the Melting Pot marked a paradigm shift in the study of assimilation. They argued that the Jews, Italians, Irish, African Americans, and Puerto Ricans of New York City had not and would not melt into a homogeneous mass but rather had become distinct ethnic groups—different from their immigrant ...

INDEX

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pp. 405-419


E-ISBN-13: 9781610443289
Print-ISBN-13: 9780871544360
Print-ISBN-10: 0871544369

Page Count: 432
Publication Year: 2004

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • New York (N.Y.) -- Race relations.
  • Ethnicity -- New York (State) -- New York.
  • Minorities -- New York (State) -- New York -- Social conditions.
  • Children of immigrants -- New York (State) -- New York -- Social conditions.
  • New York (N.Y.) -- Ethnic relations.
  • Intergenerational relations -- New York (State) -- New York.
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