By Mary C. WATERS
The tale of West Indian immigrants to the U.S. is taken into account an excellent luck. lots of those adoptive electorate have prospered, together with basic Colin Powell. yet Mary Waters tells a really assorted tale approximately immigrants from the West Indies, in particular their youngsters. She reveals that after the immigrants first arrive, their wisdom of English, their talents and contacts, their self-respect, and their confident overview of yankee race family members facilitate their integration into the yank fiscal constitution. over the years, besides the fact that, the realities of yank race family members start to swamp their confident cultural values. continual, blatant racial discrimination quickly undermines the openness to whites the immigrants have after they first arrive. Discrimination in housing channels them into neighborhoods with insufficient urban prone and excessive crime premiums. Inferior public colleges undermine their hopes for his or her kid's destiny. Low wages and negative operating stipulations are not any longer appealing for his or her young children, who use American and never Caribbean criteria to degree luck. eventually, the values that won those first-generation immigrants preliminary success-a willingness to work flat out, an absence of consciousness to racism, a wish for schooling, an incentive to save-are undermined through the realities of lifestyles within the usa. in lots of households, the hard-won relative good fortune of the fogeys is by way of the downward slide in their youngsters. opposite to long-held ideals, Waters reveals, those that withstand Americanization are probably to be triumphant economically, specially within the moment iteration.
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Additional resources for Black Identities: West Indian Immigrant Dreams and American Realities (Russell Sage Foundation Books at Harvard University Press)
The immigrants come to the United States expecting that there will be structural racism blocking their access to the highest rungs of the hierarchy in jobs, in politics, and in the community. Because they all have heard that the United States is a racist society and because they understand racism to mean blocked access to the highest positions in the social hierarchy, they come prepared to challenge blocked mobility when it occurs. This makes sense to these immigrants because in the Caribbean there is a strong correlation between color and the highest reaches of the social hierarchy.
1% of the city’s black households was headed by a foreign-born person—the vast majority from the Caribbean. There are a few important reasons why New York is such a popular destination for Caribbean immigrants. A migration _ow to New York had already been established by earlier immigrants during the ~rst few decades of the twentieth century. These earlier immigrants chose New York for much the same reasons that black Southerners did at the time. They were enticed both by the jobs available during World War I and its aftermath and by the existence of a thriving black community, especially in Harlem.
The planter class was never very large in the islands; there were many absentee landlords, and many white Europeans who came to the islands to make their fortune left their families behind in Europe. 27 This has been true throughout the colonial and postcolonial history of the islands. It has affected the political and economic decisions made by Europeans who, though having economic, political, and military power, were always aware that they were vastly outnumbered. ”28 This balance of numbers affected the accommodations made after slavery ended.