Assimilation: The Latino Experience Essay

1922 words - 8 pages

Immigration has always been an issue in the United States, which is often portrayed as harmful and as major threat to American culture. As a result, various anti immigration policies have been aimed against immigrants in order to prevent and preserve the miscegenation of American culture, such as English only policies. Among the largest minority groups in the U.S, are Latinos who currently compose of 15% of the U.S population (Delgado and Stefancic 3). Unfortunately, Latinos have been accused of taking American benefits, jobs, and have wrongfully been depicted as a result of not assimilating to American culture. Latinos are often accused of resisting assimilation, but what has failed to be acknowledged is that there are obstacles set in place that are preventing Latinos from completely assimilating. Among those greatest obstacles there is discrimination. Institutional as well as individual discrimination have prevented many Latinos from feeling a sense of belonging. As a result Latinos have been reluctant to assimilate. Another major component is proximity. Many Latinos are native to nearby countries which allows for easy communication with family members as well as their culture. Moreover, it also allows for a constant influx of immigrants that replenish and preserve Latino cultures and traditions in the U.S. Lastly, Latino movements are working diligently to promote unity among communities for the purpose of creating a sense of identity and pride amongst Latinos, such as the Chicano movement.
In comparison to other migrating groups, Latinos have had different experiences that have prevented them from completely assimilating into American society. Throughout our history and presently, Latinos continue to face acts of cruelty and discrimination. Institutional as well as individual discrimination can be pointed out throughout our society. Unfortunately much of the Latino history has been ignored or not written in conventional textbooks, but the reality is that Latinos experienced similar experiences to the ones of African Americans. According to Richard Delgado, “Recent research by reputable historians shows that Latinos, particularly Mexican Americans in the southwest, were lynched in large numbers during roughly the same period when lynching of blacks ran rampart” (583). Moreover, Latinos have also been heavily discriminated within the educational system through segregation. Latinos along with African American were not allowed to attend school with white children and often had schools assigned to them. The purpose of segregating was to, “isolate Mexican American children and to retard their educational process” (Perea 601). Other methods of academically repressing Latinos included retaining them “in first grade for two or three years, which automatically placed them behind their Anglo peers” (Perea 602). Some of the rationale behind segregating children was that stereotypes were prevalent amid educators. Juan F. Perea sites in his article...

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