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Social Enclaves: What Neighborhood Are You From?

1651 words - 7 pages

Throughout the past few years, there has been tension in Los Angeles between the neighborhoods. In an originally African American enclave, a Latino gang intimidated original inhabitants to leave Compton, California in a violent trend seen in recent years. In January of 2013, the friend of a newly residential Compton family was both physically and verbally abused by 4 Latino men in efforts to scare away the black family that had just moved in. The men of the Latino gang “called him a ‘nigger’, saying black people were barred from the neighborhood’” and “jumped out, drew a gun on him and beat him with metal pipes” (LA Times). Thirty minutes after the 19-year-old family friend managed to escape into the house, a crowd of as many as 20 people stood on the lawn yelling threats. While they were gone before the police came, they kept coming back daily until the family finally moved out of the neighborhood. While this may be one of the more extreme examples, cultural neighborhoods must be discouraged and weakened because they slow the nation from becoming culturally integrated and they create divisions, both socially and economically.
Social enclaves are oftentimes created due to chain migration. Chain migration is when people from a particular town follow previous immigrants to a new city or neighborhood. Chain migration can describe migration from one country to another, as well as migration from a city to another city in the same home country. The United States is a nation based on chain migration. Many people have followed relatives or friends to America from their home countries for a plethora of reasons. Immigrants from Southern Italy came to the slums of Northern cities of the United States because of “the ecology of the American urban class and caste structure” (MacDonald 84). These Italians did not leave Italy and make their ways to the same cities by accident. It was an act of chain migration that were the result of “the ebb and flow of lone working males, and delayed family migration” (MacDonald 84). Including the reasons behind the Southern Italians immigration, chain migration can be classified as: previous immigrants assisting working age males in order to profit themselves, the migration of breadwinners in hopes of a better standard of living for their families and then there was delayed family migration in which wives and children followed their breadwinning males. Chain migration, such as that of Southern Italians, is what has led to the creation of ethnic enclaves, such as Little Italies, Chinatowns and African-American hoods. Whether their residents have come from other countries or from neighboring cities in the same country, there is still the same result.
Social enclaves appear to be great opportunities for their residents, but truly they create stagnancy for these citizens both culturally and economically. Residents in ethnic enclaves are unable to become assimilated correctly and completely due to them...

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