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Project 4: Assimilation

1. Following Gordon (see below), what is assimilation? Why is it important 1) for

the host society and 2) for the immigrant population?

2. For a case study, choose a family household that is within 2 generations of

emigrating to the U.S. (i.e., the oldest members can be born here of immigrant parents).

Ask the following questions: Where did they come from? [be as specific as possible] Why

did they leave? When did they arrive? What determined where they settled? Did they

arrive as a family or in a “chain”? What resources, or “capital(s)”, did they bring with

them that shaped the direction and pace of their assimilation?

3. Use interviews and observation to determine the extent of assimilation, paying

attention to generational differences. Assess for major types or stages of assimilation: a)

cultural (including educational), b) social (including residential), c) identificational, and d)

marital. Because assimilation is a process that entails interrelated “stages”, it is

imperative to address differences between generations.

4. Is there still meaningful ethnic persistence (i.e., partial assimilation) in regard to

culture, social relationships, and marital choice? Does this slow or even oppose


5. Is there evidence of a “new” ethnicity (e.g., Latinos, Desi, Chicano) that limits


6. How typical is this family’s experience for the ethnic group in the city or

metropolitan region? Note and explain any discrepancies.

7. With your case study in mind, is there political resistance to the group’s

assimilation? Is the group assimilating in a position of inequality and subordination?

We have been focusing on ethnicity and race but this raises the question about how groups and

individuals so defined become assimilated or incorporated into American life. Revisit the video

“Race: The Power of an Illusion/Part 3” (Kanopy) for an overview of the social, political, and

economic forces that shaped the assimilation process in the second half of the 20th century,

with significantly different outcomes for European immigrant groups and non-whites.

I screen the 2001 PBS video “My American Girls: A Dominican Story” in this class every semester

as a framework for the assimilation project. An in-depth look at the Ortiz family, who

immigrated to Sunset Park, Brooklyn from the Dominican Republic. The film tells the story of

assimilation as a generational process. It is specifically a process that differentiates and even

divides generations within the family. Even within a generation, specifically the second

generation daughters, there is variability according to individualized opportunity structures.


Accessing “My American Girls: A Dominican Story”:


After answering question 1 based on the discussion notes, choose a family household

that is within 2 generations of emigrating to the U.S. (i.e., the oldest members can be

born here of immigrant parents). Such as example provided above, the Ortiz family, you

can’t use this example though, you have to find another family that is the same. Then

you will answer the following questions (2,3,4,5,6,7) based on the family household

you choose to write about. You can use any documents/links found in the “Discussion

board notes” as a reference and if you have to, you may add 1 outside resource for the

family household you will be writing about. THE DISCUSSION BOARD NOTES BREAK


THAT THOROUGHLY. Use front 12 Times New Roman and answer each question with

clarity. There is no word limit as long as you answered each question to the full extent.

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