The tale of West Indian immigrants to the USA is taken into account an excellent luck. lots of those adoptive voters have prospered, together with common Colin Powell. yet Mary Waters tells a really various tale approximately immigrants from the West Indies, in particular their youngsters. She unearths that once the immigrants first arrive, their wisdom of English, their talents and contacts, their self-respect, and their confident review of yankee race family members facilitate their integration into the yank fiscal constitution. over the years, despite the fact that, the realities of yankee race kinfolk 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 providers and excessive crime charges. Inferior public faculties undermine their hopes for his or her kid's destiny. Low wages and bad operating stipulations aren't any longer appealing for his or her young children, who use American and never Caribbean criteria to degree luck. eventually, the values that received those first-generation immigrants preliminary success-a willingness to work flat out, an absence of realization to racism, a hope for schooling, an incentive to save-are undermined via the realities of lifestyles within the usa. in lots of households, the hard-won relative good fortune of the oldsters is via the downward slide in their little ones. opposite to long-held ideals, Waters reveals, those that withstand Americanization are probably to be triumphant economically, specifically within the moment iteration.

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Extra info for Black Identities: West Indian Immigrant Dreams and American Realities (Russell Sage Foundation Books at Harvard University Press)

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In addition I included second-generation respondents from the French Creole-speaking country of Haiti. 1 gives the distribution of West Indians that I and my research assistants interviewed and the demographic background of the countries they came from. While the islands that make up the Caribbean vary in size, cultural background, demographics, geography, and the speci~cs of their history, I focus here on three commonalities in Caribbean history that in_uence the societies and their people today: the legacies of European colonialism, the legacies of slavery, and the domination of the island economies and cultures in recent times by the United States.

12 These pro~table societies rested squarely on the backs of the imported slaves. 13 The Africans taken from their native lands through the horror of the Middle Passage were themselves from a polyglot of societies, language groups, villages, and ethnic groups. The mixing of these separate African cultures created a Creole culture of its own, as human beings struggled to continue to make sense of their transformed lives and common destiny. Sugar “homogenized” the different islands as well, the common structure of the plantation causing similar social structures on the different islands.

Teacher, preacher, lawyer, policeman, judge, civil servant, 28 H I S TO R I C A L L E G AC I E S politician—these are now almost all black or at least non-white . . This is not to say that one grows up in the West Indies without an awareness of Whites. The white presence in the society, however, is mediated almost entirely through the cultural system: It is through such agencies as the school, the church, and the mass media, as well as through the value system acquired from one’s parents, that one learns the status and meaning of being white.

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