Gender, too, has been found to have a significant influence on one’s perceptions of home. Specifically, men have been shown to base their sense of home on status and achievement, whereas women perceive home more like an “emotional retreat or a protective shelter.” Finally, the cultural background is probably one of the most significant factors affecting acculturation and subsequent perceptions of fitting in a new society. Professor and Director of the Ethnic, Immigration and Pluralism Studies Program at the University of Toronto, Dr. Jeffrey G. Reitz, found that the economic assimilation of European-origin immigrants is fairly rapid but selectively culture contingent; the economic assimilation of racial minority immigrants is less rapid and less culture contingent. … [Read more...] about How Immigrants Perceive Home and Identity
Cultures evolve through interconnection with others as a result of all kinds of human motivation, not all of it very pretty, though some is very well meant: one country invades another and conquers its people; one group captures people from another and enslaves them to exploit their labor; religious groups send their missionaries to try to help people in other countries and to proselytize for their faith; corporations open factories and other businesses where it makes financial sense to do so to enhance profits; refugees fleeing horrible circumstances emigrate to places where they hope to be safe and have a chance for a better life; and now the Internet streams news and entertainment from one country into another as commerce helps bring great products to us that can enrich our lives. All these exchanges influence everyone involved in them. Even the missionaries sometimes go native, as it is called, adopting many of the practices of the people they went to save. … [Read more...] about Finding Yourself and Expanding Your Horizons
Some 13 years after I arrived in New York something happened that got me wondering about where my “home” really was. As a psychology graduate student at Columbia, I befriended four classmates who were all from other countries, South Africa, Israel, Finland, and Lebanon. One day, we found ourselves tearing up (and surprised by our hurting hearts) after a class about the impact of culture on identity. Though we were pretty psychologically minded, the realization of the extent to which we were embedded in our countries came oddly to us as a new idea. As we listened to Dr. Marsha Levy-Warren teaching us that we attach to culture as deeply, fundamentally, and unconsciously as we do to our parents, it seemed to be news to us. She underscored this by reminding us of the words we use for country, “mother country” and “fatherland” (Levy-Warren, 1987). She spoke about the psychological impact of timing—the age at which … [Read more...] about Going Home, Again
Notably, neither the lack of English fluency nor other obstacles to employment (e.g., documentation) seem to be keeping Spanish-speaking migrants in Georgia out of the workforce. According to the Migration Policy Institute’s 2011 report, 76% of those in Georgia who speak Spanish at home (this includes both native and foreign-born) are in the labor force, compared to 64% of those who speak only English and 70% of those who speak an Asian and Pacific Island language. While the exact percentage of undocumented residents who are employed is difficult to determine, most are assumed to be in the workforce, which according to Pew estimates is 5% undocumented (Immigrant Policy Center, 2011). … [Read more...] about Obama Shields 5 Million Undocumented. Should We Worry?
Namely, when an immigrant is interested neither in maintaining her own culture nor in receiving the new one, marginalization results; the very opposite, interest in maintaining one’s heritage culture and learning the new culture, results in integration (also referred to as biculturalism); abandoning the heritage culture but receiving the new culture produces assimilation; lastly, maintaining the heritage culture and rejecting the new one is defined as separation. … [Read more...] about To Be American: Is Drinking Coca-Cola Enough?