Tracing the Racial and Ethnic Socialization of Caribbean American Youth
Chapter One: Historical Contexts, Transnationalism, and Race in the United States
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Historical Contexts, Transnationalism, and Race in the United States
When debates regarding the experiences of Black immigrants enter the public sphere and academic circles, they cause quite a bit of contention. On the one hand, many would argue that the success of Black immigrants, at least in comparison to their Black American counterparts, proves that the United States has transcended racial inequity. On the other hand, some contend that Black immigrants have limited potential for upward mobility because of a “triple disadvantage” – racial discrimination, xenophobia, and lower-class status (Rong & Brown, 2002). In many respects, research studies on the success and struggles of this population have been inconclusive, even contradictory. However, many researchers agree that racial and ethnic identity are central to the adaptation and mobility of Black immigrants.
This study illuminates the complex realities faced by Black immigrants as they adjust to life in the United States across generations, at the same time leaving aside the question of group-wide success or failure in favor of a more nuanced depiction of the Black immigrant experience. Attempts to dichotomize the experiences of Black immigrants as either the epitome of immigrant success or the essence of immigrant struggles have been detrimental to gaining a richer understanding of the continuum of experiences that characterize the Caribbean immigrant journey. Variations in country of origin, class background, sending and receiving community contexts, and personal experiences with race and racism inform Black immigrants’ identities and influence...
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