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59 3 From Contact to Conflict How Assimilation Mechanisms Underpin the Exploration and Adaptation Stage in Bicultural Development This would be me living in the U.S. [see figure 3.1] ​ — ​ people all around me, and I feel out of place, most of the time. Uhm, I’m fine with it. I don’t get stressed about it, but I do feel out of place. It’s not something that gets me depressed or mad or anything. To me, I don’t discriminate against others because they look different. I was raised where that was never something that was instilled in me when I was growing up. But here, coming over here, I was introduced to a lot of things. Racism was one of them. I feel out of place most of the time. Sometimes, uhm, I don’t know, it’s just hard sometimes. I can cope with it, but it does bother me. I don’t know, it would be easier living in Mexico right now; I can imagine that it would be a normal life. There wouldn’t be a race issue. I come from a small town where there’s barely tourism, well, it isn’t a big deal there. Same people. Same type of people, Mexicans. Same type of ideas. So, it would be normal in that way to me.  ​ — ​ Manuel, male adolescent Fig. 3.1. Manuel’s cultural map Manuel in Mexico: a triangle among triangles Manuel in the United States: a triangle among rectangles Smokowski_pp059-129.indd 59 10/27/10 1:25:46 PM 60 From Contact to Conflict Few symbols capture the ambivalent nature of U.S. immigration policy better than the Statue of Liberty. The statue was conceived as a gift from the people of France to mark the centennial of the American Declaration of Independence. However, the unveiling in 1886 was ten years later than planned, largely due to lack of public financing. The statue of Lady Liberty is moving forward while trampling shackles underfoot, and she wears a crown with seven spikes that represent the seven continents while holding a torch that symbolizes enlightenment. She is facing the ocean, gazing towards Europe. Her tablet symbolizes knowledge and has the date of the American Declaration of Independence inscribed in Roman numerals. The interior of the pedestal contains a bronze plaque engraved with the poem “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus. Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, With conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” This poem has never been engraved on the exterior of the pedestal; rather, it is inconspicuously tucked inside. The bronze plaque in the pedestal contains a typographical error, leaving out the comma in “Keep, ancient lands” and causing that line to read “‘Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!’ cries she.” This error changes the meaning in a way that would be particularly poignant for the Native Americans’ perspective on the European immigrants ’ notion of Manifest Destiny. Although many immigrants from Europe took inspiration from the statue, especially during the large immigration wave from 1890 to 1910, “Mother of Exiles” never caught on as the statue’s name. However, for many past and current immigrants, the statue remains a powerful symbol of freedom and the deeply ingrained idea that they are knocking on the “golden door” to enter a better life. Once inside that golden door, their immigration journeys end, and the story turns to Smokowski_pp059-129.indd 60 10/27/10 1:25:46 PM From Contact to Conflict 61 the drama of assimilation. Manuel illustrated this aspect of culture shock in a cultural map he drew (figure 3.1) and for which he provided the explanation in the quotation that begins this chapter. Disproportionately, in an immigrant nation, the poor have always been the most recent immigrant group, which means they have always been “the other” ​ — ​ the strangers who dress differently, talk with strange accents, or follow strange...


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