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Becoming Bicultural: Risk, Resilience, and Latino Youth

Paul R. Smokowski
Martica Bacallao
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Becoming Bicultural
    Book Description:

    Although the United States has always been a nation of immigrants, the recent demographic shifts resulting in burgeoning young Latino and Asian populations have literally changed the face of the nation. This wave of massive immigration has led to a nationwide struggle with the need to become bicultural, a difficult and sometimes painful process of navigating between ethnic cultures.While some Latino adolescents become alienated and turn to antisocial behavior and substance use, others go on to excel in school, have successful careers, and build healthy families. Drawing on both quantitative and qualitative data ranging from surveys to extensive interviews with immigrant families, Becoming Bicultural explores the individual psychology, family dynamics, and societal messages behind bicultural development and sheds light on the factors that lead to positive or negative consequences for immigrant youth. Paul R. Smokowski and Martica Bacallao illuminate how immigrant families, and American communities in general, become bicultural and use their bicultural skills to succeed in their new surroundings The volume concludes by offering a model for intervention with immigrant teens and their families which enhances their bicultural skills.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-0879-8
    Subjects: Psychology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. List of Tables
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. 1 From Melting Pot to Simmering Stew: Acculturation, Enculturation, Assimilation, and Biculturalism in American Racial Dynamics
    (pp. 1-28)

    On January 20, 2009, Barack Obama was sworn in as the forty-fourth president of the United States. Although he was heralded as the first African American to serve in the highest and most powerful position in the nation (and perhaps in the world), President Obama’s cultural heritage was more subtle and complex. He was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to an American mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, whose family (in Wichita, Kansas) was primarily of English descent, and Barack Obama Sr., a Luo from Nyang’oma Kogelo, Nyanza Province, Kenya. His father and mother married in 1961 and divorced in 1964, after which...

  7. 2 Enculturation after Immigration: How Latino Family Systems Change and How They Stay the Same during the Diffuse, Bifurcated Stage of Acculturation Contact
    (pp. 29-58)

    Elena is a Mexican female adolescent, age sixteen, who has resided in the United States for three years. She provided the following explanation for her drawing, shown in figure 2.1.

    Here is the United States[top country],and Mexico[bottom country].The United States … I represent it with many dollars, but the people are sad[see blue figure composed of squares in the United States—it is a building where sad people live].You have everything, but you don’t have your family. That’s what the people in the middle represent, the sad people. I also tried to draw a...

  8. 3 From Contact to Conflict: How Assimilation Mechanisms Underpin the Exploration and Adaptation Stage in Bicultural Development
    (pp. 59-99)

    Few symbols capture the ambivalent nature of U.S. immigration policy better than the Statue of Liberty. The statue was conceived as a gift from the people of France to mark the centennial of the American Declaration of Independence. However, the unveiling in 1886 was ten years later than planned, largely due to lack of public financing. The statue of Lady Liberty is moving forward while trampling shackles underfoot, and she wears a crown with seven spikes that represent the seven continents while holding a torch that symbolizes enlightenment. She is facing the ocean, gazing towards Europe. Her tablet symbolizes knowledge...

  9. 4 Balancing between Two Worlds: The Integration Stage of Bicultural Development
    (pp. 100-129)

    Figure 4.1 shows Juana’s cultural map. The drawing illustrates her conflict and confusion about living between cultures. Her worlds are bifurcated, separate, and difficult to reconcile, representing a lower level of bicultural identity integration. Over time and with effort, this becomes easier for most bicultural adolescents as they navigate between the cultural systems with more fluidity and are able to integrate disparate cultural messages. In this chapter, we highlight the stages of bicultural identity development and discuss how different environmental systems (family, friends, peers) influence the process of becoming bicultural.

    In this chapter, we use alternation theory as a guide...

  10. 5 Cultural Adaptation Styles and Health: Risks of Staying Separate or Assimilating
    (pp. 130-163)

    In chapters 2 and 3, we took an intimate look at the dynamics of culture-of-origin involvement within the immigrant family’s home and host-cultural involvement outside of home. Staying separate or assimilating both posed different challenges for immigrant adolescents. In this chapter, we consider how these different cultural adaptation styles are related to health, mental health, and adjustment.

    More than five decades of both qualitative and quantitative empirical research have demonstrated the association of acculturation, especially high and low levels of acculturation (e.g., Separation and Assimilation), with physical health and mental health status (Rogler, Cortes, and Malgady 1991; Organista, Organista, and...

  11. 6 The Benefits of Biculturalism: Savoring the Flavors in the Simmering Stew
    (pp. 164-185)

    Considering the difficulties at both low and high levels of assimilation discussed in chapter 5 (see figures 5.1 and 5.2), some researchers hypothesize that moderate levels of acculturation (i.e., a balance between culture-of-origin and U.S. cultural identity) are the most advantageous for cultural adaptation (LaFromboise, Coleman, and Gerton 1993). Bicultural individuals are those with moderate acculturation levels who have successfully internalized two cultures, that is, both cultures are alive inside of the person. Many bicultural individuals report that their internalized cultures take turns guiding their thoughts and feelings (LaFromboise, Coleman, and Gerton 1993; Phinney and Devich-Navarro 1997; Hong et al....

  12. 7 Entre Dos Mundos/Between Two Worlds: A Bicultural Skills Training Prevention Program to Help Immigrant Families Cope with Acculturation Stress
    (pp. 186-216)

    A growing body of research has suggested that—in the absence of prevention and intervention services—many Latino adolescents and adults are at risk for alcohol and drug use, aggressive behavior, and mental health problems (Rogler, Cortes, and Malgady 1991; Vega et al. 2000; Rounds-Bryant and Staab 2001; Gonzales et al. 2002; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2004; Smokowski, David-Ferdon, and Stroupe 2009). Researchers have linked this heightened risk for antisocial behavior and psychopathology to the acculturation stressors many Latinos experience while trying to adapt to life in the United States.

    Acculturation stressresults from coping with daily difficulties,...

  13. References
    (pp. 217-232)
  14. Index
    (pp. 233-238)
  15. About the Authors
    (pp. 239-239)