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William Coben Blog Post

The readings for this class period focused on the challenges and struggles that different ethnic groups in America face. After the conclusion of the reading, I was left thinking about the concept of identity and how that can be a problem for many identity insecure Americans throughout the nation. With modernization, technological innovation, and globalization, identity can be a difficult thing for people to deal with as there are fewer concentrated groups of individuals like there were prior to western expansion and the discovery of the new world. Back prior to the discovery of the west, it was extremely common for people to spend the entirety of their lives in the same place that they were born. While that occasionally happens in today’s world, it is much more uncommon as work, travel, and exploration leaves people “homeless” in the sense that they are not forcefully rooted in one area because travel and movement are so accessible. The reading discusses Anzaldua being caught between identities and the difficulty and struggle with not being pure blood. Being able to identify with a culture, a language or a group of people is a fundamental human necessity that many immigrants ethnically foreign people struggle with and the reading discusses this idea in depth through the story of Anzaldua.

The chapters from How the Other Half Lives recounts the struggles that immigrant populations often face when migrating to America. In the readings, the Chinese ran small shops in an attempt to provide for themselves, and the Italian immigrant population was forced into highly demanding jobs in return for a ruthlessly low amount of pay. In order to cope with these poor conditions of labor and status in the social hierarchy that endures in American culture, the two groups of people turned to addiction. Italians used gambling and the Chinese, opioids that did detrimental harm to both communities. In response to the cultural problem, the communities were deemed degenerate and dysfunctional in a sense and were looked down upon by American culture. The assumption of degenerateness was challenging for these two populations to overcome. Presently, we see this endure in the black community as the gang-banger and drug dealer stereotypes in a way encourage the black youth to conform to societal constructs and partake in actions that are harmful to society as a whole; that is problematic.

 

 

 

 

 

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One Comment

  1. Thomas Bennett Thomas Bennett

    It is very insightful of you to point out that technological advance resulted in people being able to navigate and thereby move around the world much easier. This increased ability for travel and immigration, is directly linked to the rise of discrimination against immigrants. Because the process of traveling was made so much easier by the steam engine, more and more people began moving to the United States which threatened those who already lived there. Discrimination and stereotyping was the public response to these immigrants, as it would allow for those who already controlled resources in the United States to maintain control of their power.

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