Children of immigrants represent the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population. These children grow up in a society different from the one in which their parents were raised and will be influenced by their parents’ experiences but must also navigate the social norms and expectations of the society in which they are being socialized. Second-generations for the purpose of this research paper will be composed of foreign-born children who arrived to the United States with their parents before the age of 13. Not all second-generation immigrants share the same types of experiences growing up in the United States which is why generalizing white Eurocentric-immigrants and immigrants of color into one collective group and assuming that every immigrant experience the same thing is inadequate and does not take into account the experiences of Institutionalized racism and prejudice that these marginalized immigrant groups face compared to White Immigrants.
Racialization, discrimination, and the marginalization of important sectors of immigrant communities are indeed part of the immigrant story. As the process of becoming American has come to include the adoption or rejection of a set of officially constructed pan-ethnic labels Immigrants today are recategorized in broad racialized pan-ethnic clusters that the host society deems appropriate for those “sharing” a particular language or phenotype and that convey a symbolic message with its attendant stereotypes that the new commers belong to a subordinate status in the national hierarchy which may unwittingly institutionalize not their assimilation but their dissimilation (Clark, Glick, and Bures 2009; Comas-Diaz 2001). Also, fundamental differences in language, religion, cultural practices and beliefs are overlooked. As a result, the categorization of a heterogeneous population into a single category creates the illusion that national origin groups are similar and thus interchangeable (Flores and Huo 2013; Comas-Díaz 2001; Falomir-Pichastor and Frederic 2013). National origin identity is a psychologically meaningful part of immigrants’ self-concept adverse, unexpected consequences may occur when individuals feel that their social identities have not been acknowledged in a manner that is consistent with their self-view (Ethier and Deaux 1994; Grant 2004; Oropesa and Jensen 2010).
In this paper I examine how country of origin, language, identity shape the experiences of second-generation immigrants of color here in the United States either in a positive way and/or a negative because of the assumptions and stereotypes that are pre-associated with this group and the ramifications these different aspects have on formation of the self for individuals within American society.
Transitioning into the United States
Historic Immigrations vs. Modern Immigration
Immigrant refers to someone who is born in a country other than the one in which she or he is now residing (Deaux 2008). Yet when used in com...