I set out to document the Haitian American culture which is representative of one of the many cultures within my family. My father is of Haitian descent. of my Dad. He is a Haitian American, born and raised in Bronx, New York in 1970. Both of hHis parents were born in Haiti and migrated into to America in the 1960s. Hewas born July 11, 1970. The culture of a person is extremely vitalCulturally identity is important especially, especially when one experiences migrationmigrates from their homeland to another country. and into America. It is more interesting to learn about the culture of such decent because it is subject to the combination of more than one cultural familiarity. Assimilation can be complicated. It is easy for someone to exist without knowing much of his or her native land, traditions, and customs. When assimilation occurs, one’s culture of origin becomes merged into the dominant culture in society so that the original culture is almost unrecognizable. Cultural identitye or lackthereoflack thereof can shape a person.; their socioeconomic growth has the ability to confer a sense of self-worth.. Individuals of Caribbean groups that have migrated into America are faced with various levels of legalities and prejudicial difficulties once they gain Aaccess into the United States. In result to this As a result, many some Caribbean’s that experience these degrees of hardships usually hideconceal their cultural identitye and seek to create an more Americanized version in order to fully assimilate and reap the benefits of their new home. For eample, my father reported that his parents never taught him and his siblings creole because they wanted them to “ fit in” with the other kids in school. This action was the first that —-In order to protect the parties involved, this paper will not specify their exact responses but this paper will be based on the responses of my father and Caribbean based literature.
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The mark of the beginning of the Caribbean Culture is rooted from the geography, history and political systems (Lanham, 1998). The main issue that such cultural decent face is the identity. Intosh (2010) mentioned that there is still a need to create and to disseminate knowledge about the contributions made by the Caribbean migrants to the United States. They have brought with them a different flavor in terms of culture, yet they opt to hide this these in favor of blending in to the norms of the U. S. The need to hide their identity or who they are lies on the need to survive a land that they are not familiar with and filled with unknown threats.
In some instances, parents re-conceptualized their idea of what they believe the black identity in our racially stratified society of America is, this is in order to become advocates for their children in education. In As a result to this Caribbean parents “ negotiate” their social identities to fight for their children’s education and how societies’ stipulations in America affect the selection of one social identity over another. The unending battle of striking racial identity is again put into its cycle. The idea of social identity and acceptance is not only because of education but is also inclusive with language. Language plays vital roles towards identity Caribbean descents are attempting to fight over their children’s right in education.
Education Struggles: The System and Language Barriers
One of the first elements places that Caribbean individuals are heavily impacted is education. In terms of Educationally, there is a difference between the academic requirements in the Caribbean specifically in Haiti and in America (in text citation). More than usual, Haitian children once placed in a school in America are pushed back one to two grades due to the difference in the two educational systems (citataion). As per history, African-Caribbean resistance culture is said to highly manifest itself in educational issues. It is said by Allsopp that there is a growing effort to reclaimto reclaim history and vocabulary of the culture. Since schools are a sites of cultural and social reproduction (Lewis, 2008), they are very interesting studies studies (mention studies, give summary or citation)on how classifications of race are imposed upon Caribbean immigrants.
In America the native language is English. When Caribbean people migrate from their homeland they are challenged to enter a new place where their accents or native tongues force them to stick out like sore thumbs. When some people hear a certain accent or twang in their manner of speaking, they immediately turn their heads and look for the source of the unfamiliar sound. The issue here lies on what the reaction of the people will be. Some people are not yet accepting to the fact that the world is changing in terms of cultural mixture. Some are still traditional to their belief that English must be spoken in one figurative. They are given the challenge to blend in as soon as possible to avoid any encountering cases of discrimination.
The language barrier experienced during they migration, however, is only one of the few problems they have to encounter after they arrived in new soil. The first generation’s challenge of “ belonging” or lack thereof in regards to American Traditions, has forced them to feel like outsiders when fully assimilating was a means of survival. They have transformed the need to belong as one of the basic requisite to finally integrate themselvesthem and receive a normal life in a foreign land. Haitian parents teach their children to not only speak English but also to hide their accents in the interim. “ Being Haitian in America comes with a lot of scrutiny; a language barrier was not going to be a reason why I wasn’t afforded the same opportunities that my Blackness deserved” (Chaka Phaire 2014)
The dominant race in America are is White people in terms of money, politics and careers. In As a result to the difference in powers that they face, the term be being the face of “ Success” is a common misconception is., iI In order to move up the totem pole one must mirror the white race. Immigrants mistake the idea of upward mobility or success in America with “ acting white”. Fordham and Ogbu insist that as an intuitive immigrant group, African Americans attempt academic achievement in hopes to retain racial legitimacy. Fordham and Ogbu states the “ burden of acting white” forces some inner city black students to perform below the requirements as a means of declining white cultural normalcy. This affects the performance of the students in a great scale because it makes them lose their focus. Instead of focusing on their academic requirement they are more pre-occupied to attempt to act in a manner dictated by their environment.
Achievement and Opportunity Disparities
Peer pressure and major fears of group alienation create a default decision for some inner city black students to perform poorly so they are diffrerent not disliked from their peers. Some students are even victims of no-basis hate simply because of their background and race. Students who decide to pursue higher education and take school seriously are often told they are acting white or selling out. The only option to fitting in is to perform low academically or be victim to bullying and alienation. Students felt unsupported and disgruntled due to a history of racial bias. Mentally, this does not change the educational implications of that theory: students that are black are prone to fail.
Despite studies demonstrating that there are various factors such as (what are you referring to here?) that determine academic achievement (Ainsworth-Darnell and Downey 1998, Ferguson 2001, Kao, Tienda and Schneider 1996), factors such as class, race and culture explain the outcomes of the achievement gap and why many Blacks continue to be over represented in high numbers dominate the high numbers those who are in need (Lew, 2006). Some groups are attempting to eradicate the educational stereotype tied to race and color because not only is it detrimental it is limiting at the same time. Achievement, according to most literature must be determined by giving people equal opportunity to showcase their potentiality. Black people, however, are treated as if they are simply failure to happen. There are a number of Black people, on the other hand, that pursue higher education in hopes that they can contribute towards the eradication of such mentality.
The issue with assimilation or the adaptation to white cultural norms is not only an issue for children but for adults as well. When adults attempt to enter the “ real” world or the white world of employment they experience a lots of push backs. Many Black men struggle tremendously when they seek employment; Tthey are unable to qualify in for corporate jobs because they often lack education. Women are more likely to embrace white culture, uphold and conform to white America’s societal morals and values. According to Ruel R. Rogers, Afro Caribbean women are forty percent more likely to work in the labor force over African American men and Afro Caribbean men. (58) He states that Afro American and Caribbean female are likely to be employed and less likely to be on public assistance because of their acceptance in the job market year of (publication in thesis) (64).
Statistics prove that many positions at the senior level are held in the public and private sectors by women. The Caribbean women that are placed in this situation are now dealing with the pressures of maintaining their jobs and their household responsibilities. In conjunction with their new job and responsibilities, their status in society increases and their value in the community are heightened. These women are viewed with more respect in regards to societal norms. ThisThese solidifies solidify their place in American society. As a result to this newly found enhancement in life, some women are moving full force, and leaving their men behind.
The Employment Sector
A factor that is also consider is called to consideration is that the traditional sector of employment for Caribbean Immigrant men. Back in their home land many of the men worked in factories, a position in that capacity was acceptable and respected. These jobs in the Caribbean were mostly occupied by men. In America these those jobs rarely exist., T the circumstances are extremely different. Factory jobs are disappearing. Women fill the service sector jobs such as nurse, home attendants and teachers. Service Sector jobs are places of employment that are in high demand because there is a need to aging American population serve the people. If a man were to work in these positions he would be seen in the Caribbean as weak because he is working in a “ woman’s field” of employment.
The emasculation of the Caribbean man in part of his mental state in a significant manner. Some men that experience this unfortunate circumstance experience a rapid decline of social status. By contrast as a result of the rapid shift of the status of the Caribbean Immigrant women, they are less likely to leave the Family when their social status improves. Along with her education, she also adds that she is getting getter wiser to this improvement in status.(clarify)Some believe that the social status shift between the man and the woman may have a negative effect on the family dynamic. Mary C Waters supports the claim that the Black family has been destroyed for some time now. “ A cultural explanation often attributed to the Moynihan report is that slavery destroyed the black family, making it multifocal.” Year of book) (90) The phenomenon of the Caribbean family dynamic is distorted when the family crosses over to the American culture. Being Caribbean in America is extremely challenging. (C. P 2014)The challenge is rooted from the fact that they need to fit in to a new system of society. There are occasions that their race subjects them to unwanted attention depriving them of the right for the sense of normalcy.
Stereotypes and its transmission to society
A major component to the assimilation process is the awareness of the stereotypes associated with being West Indian. The stereotypes that immigrants acquire particularly are that they are achievement orientated. When they are associated with extraordinary levels of performance in their professional careers and schooling, enable West Indian immigrants to take advantage of these stereotypes when applying for jobs. This concept is also transmitted to their children and West Indian parents are careful to emphasize positive traits of academic achievement, separating themselves from negative stereotypes of African Americans “ failure”. When West Indians are trying to fully assimilate, first generation West Indians begin to pass down less of their native land traditions. This is the case in many homes of West Indians in America. Children born of Caribbean parents in America experience a strong case of assimilation that can cause their child to know very little of their Caribbean background.
This assignment hits very close to home, which home I am unsure. But what is extremely evident is that America is a place where people have the opportunities to live a life that is good, even if it is at a high price. For some that price is their culture. It is vital to have pride but it is also essential to survive. I have witnessed first-hand the transformative powers of education. Until modification occurs that fully assists every race and socioeconomic group with equal opportunities these occurrences will continue to take place. Caribbean Immigrants must be given the resources to survive in America without being forced to give up who they are or most importantly hide their culture in order to seek what is best in a new place.
In conclusion, there is a striking reality that there is indeed an ongoing game of hide and seek in terms of cultural identity. The mentioned struggles and stereotypes are only a few of the crisis experienced by Caribbean Immigrants when they step in a new country. The unfortunate part about it is that there are still many biases in terms of providing these people the equal opportunities they deserve whether it be in education or employment. They are also entitled to living a normal life and must be pushed to give up their cultural background for the sake of fitting in. Another difficult part here is that in order to address the problem, societal participation is needed. Other people need to learn about accepting diversity and differences. Whether or not that it is true that they are indeed an invisible minority in America, the bottom line is that these issues need attention and solution.
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