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Download Black Identities: West Indian Immigrant Dreams and American by Mary C. WATERS PDF

By Mary C. WATERS

The tale of West Indian immigrants to the U.S. is taken into account a very good luck. lots of those adoptive voters have prospered, together with basic Colin Powell. yet Mary Waters tells a truly varied tale approximately immigrants from the West Indies, particularly their teenagers. She reveals that once the immigrants first arrive, their wisdom of English, their abilities and contacts, their self-respect, and their confident evaluate of yank race relatives facilitate their integration into the yank financial constitution. through the years, even though, the realities of yankee race kinfolk start to swamp their optimistic cultural values. continual, blatant racial discrimination quickly undermines the openness to whites the immigrants have once they first arrive. Discrimination in housing channels them into neighborhoods with insufficient urban prone and excessive crime premiums. Inferior public faculties undermine their hopes for his or her kid's destiny. Low wages and bad operating stipulations aren't any longer appealing for his or her young children, who use American and never Caribbean criteria to degree luck. finally, the values that won those first-generation immigrants preliminary success-a willingness to work flat out, a scarcity of recognition to racism, a hope for schooling, an incentive to save-are undermined by way of the realities of existence within the usa. in lots of households, the hard-won relative good fortune of the oldsters is by way of the downward slide in their little ones. opposite to long-held ideals, Waters unearths, those that withstand Americanization are probably to prevail economically, particularly within the moment iteration.

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Extra resources for Black Identities: West Indian Immigrant Dreams and American Realities (Russell Sage Foundation Books at Harvard University Press)

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24 Indeed, it is not as strong or developed a sense of national identity as seen in such other immigrants as those from the Dominican Republic, China, or Russia. This is not to say that West Indians do not feel a very strong sense of attachment to place. They often 24 H I S TO R I C A L L E G AC I E S strongly identify with their village or town or their island. Yet very often if you scratch the identity of a Trinidadian, you ~nd roots in Grenada or Jamaica. In the Caribbean only Haiti and the Dominican Republic achieved independence before the twentieth century.

44 Owners in the Caribbean were preoccupied with sugarcane and thus relied on imported foodstuffs to a great degree. When these supplies of food were interrupted due to weather or other events, slaves were malnourished or starved, thus making them highly susceptible to disease and leading to a particularly high infant mortality rate. Lowenthal also cites the higher incidence of West Indian slave revolts and the songs of West Indian slaves, which stressed rebellion rather than obedience, as further proof of the severity of Caribbean as opposed to North American slave conditions.

Even Jamaica, often thought by Americans to be a quintessentially British former colony, was controlled and colonized by Spain from its ~rst European discovery in 1494 until it was ceded to England in 1670. Jamaica gained independence from Britain in 1962. 5 million people at the beginning of the 1990s. Of those, 61% lived in Spanish-speaking societies—Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. 4 Those islands that remained Spanish property for a long period of time and developed into the Spanish Caribbean are different in some fundamental ways, most especially in the types of race relations and racial categories that developed.

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