Diverse Pathways

Diverse Pathways: Race and the Incorporation of Black, White, and Arab-Origin Africans in the United States

Kevin J. A. Thomas
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 162
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  • Book Info
    Diverse Pathways
    Book Description:

    Africans are among the fastest-growing immigrant groups in the United States. Although they are racially and ethnically diverse, few studies have examined how these differences affect their patterns of incorporation into society. This book is the first to highlight the role of race and ethnicity, Arab ethnicity in particular, in shaping the experiences of African immigrants. It demonstrates that American conceptions of race result in significant inequalities in the ways in which African immigrants are socially integrated. Thomas argues that suggestions that Black Africans are model-minorities who have overcome the barriers of race are misleading, showing that Black and Arab-ethnicity Africans systematically experience less favorable socioeconomic outcomes than their White African counterparts. Overall, the book makes three critical arguments. First, historical and contemporary constructions of race have important implications for understanding the dynamics of African immigration and settlement in the United States. Second, there are significant racial inequalities in the social and economic incorporation of contemporary African immigrants. Finally, Arab ethnicity has additional implications for understanding intra-racial disparities in incorporation among contemporary African immigrants. In general, these arguments are foundational for understanding the diversity of African immigrant experiences.

    eISBN: 978-1-60917-395-1
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Chapter 1 Race, Ethnicity, and African Immigration to the United States
    (pp. 1-18)

    History was made when the winner of the Oscar for best actress was announced in 2004. Before then, no African had won the coveted Oscar for best actress at the Academy Awards ceremony. Given the limited number of African actors in Hollywood, the chances of having an African-born Oscar winner were indeed very small. For her performance in the movieMonster, however, Charlize Theron won the Oscar for best actress in 2004 and was able to do what no African had done before. Interestingly, though, as she celebrated with her colleagues that evening, equally illustrious celebrations were being planned on...

  5. Chapter 2 Theoretical Perspectives
    (pp. 19-34)

    Several theoretical perspectives can be used to predict the expected socioeconomic incorporation processes of Black and White African immigrants. Developing a more comprehensive framework for understanding these processes, however, requires a careful distinction between their pre- and postmigration determinants. For example, the antecedents of racial inequality in Africa are important for understanding the influence of Black-White premigration inequalities on the postimmigration social mobility of African immigrants. At the same time, conventional theories, which largely focus on postimmigration influences, discuss a range of contextual determinants that could either reinforce or exacerbate patterns of social stratification among Africans. These theories also provide...

  6. Chapter 3 Educational Attainment and Postimmigration Schooling Progress
    (pp. 35-52)

    The educational profile of immigrants provides important insights into their human-capital endowments and their expected trajectory of socioeconomic incorporation. As critical human-capital indicators, schooling levels can predict whether or not immigrants will experience upward mobility trends as they become integrated into society. In practical terms, education is important for providing access to financially rewarding opportunities in the labor market. In most cases, therefore, immigrants with high levels of education are more successful than other immigrants in securing well-paid jobs and improving their economic welfare. Yet, the payoffs to schooling extend beyond more immediate economic considerations. High levels of schooling are...

  7. Chapter 4 Occupational Status, Human-Capital Transfer, and the Incorporation Process
    (pp. 53-76)

    An observational study was conducted between January 2006 and June 2007 to investigate reports of race-based employment discrimination at high-end restaurants in New York (Lee 2009). As part of the study, thirty-seven individuals, who were Black, White, Asian, or Latino, were ask to apply for positions as waiters/waitresses advertised by 181 restaurants. The Black applicants included immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean. Regardless of race or immigration status, all applicants were pretrained to ensure that they used similar mannerisms and provided similar answers to questions they were asked after arriving at the restaurants. As expected, the findings from the study...

  8. Chapter 5 Earnings, Self-Employment, and Economic Incorporation
    (pp. 77-96)

    While the occupational outcomes of Africans help us understand the dynamics of their integration into the labor force, specific insights into their economic welfare can be derived from the examination of their access to financial resources. Access to monetary resources is an essential element of their quest to achieve the American dream. Indeed, for many African immigrants, the prospect of improving their economic welfare was a critical determinant of their decision to migrate to the United States (Takyi and Konadu-Agyemang 2006). To understand the degree to which Africans are able to achieve this objective, it is necessary to examine whether...

  9. Chapter 6 Race, Ethnicity, and Marital Incorporation
    (pp. 97-114)

    Cultural differences that affect interpersonal relationships are among the most significant barriers that immigrants encounter during the incorporation process. Unlike differences in outcomes such as occupational status and incomes, cultural differences between immigrants and natives also tend to persist for much longer. One consequence of this is that immigrants can experience increasing economic mobility but still lag behind in terms of their degree of integration into the social mainstream. Complete social integration is facilitated by the formation of viable interpersonal relationships between immigrants and natives. Few indicators capture the dynamics of such relationships as well as those related to intermarriage....

  10. Chapter 7 Conclusion
    (pp. 115-126)

    US senator John Kerry married Teresa Simões-Ferreira Heinz, his second wife, in 1995. She was previously married to Henry J. Heinz III, a wealthy heir to the Henry J. Heinz company, who later died in 1991. Teresa Heinz Kerry was also a regular fixture in the US media during the 2004 presidential campaigns. While John Kerry ran as the Democratic nominee, sections of the media revived a controversial claim she made in the early 1990s. She had identified herself as an “African American” despite the fact that she is White. Heinz Kerry responded by simply pointing out that she was...

  11. Appendix Data and Methods Used in the Analysis
    (pp. 127-134)
  12. References
    (pp. 135-148)
  13. Index
    (pp. 149-152)