Posted by Elena del Valle on June 7, 2006
By Suzanne Irizarry de Lopez, Eastern Research Services
Suzanne Irizarry de Lopez
Photo: Suzanne Irizarry de Lopez
We are experiencing a demographic reinvention and movement towards a global community. Generations of transnational mobility, intermarriage and cultural give and take have yielded new arrangements of people, identities, and social practices that are challenging the definitions of self and the usefulness of racial categories for marketing purposes.
Not that America — the nation of immigrants — wasn’t diverse before, but before the Civil Rights movement, diversity was not a good thing. Assimilation (melting into the common pot) was the ultimate objective.
Prior to the mid 70’s, when cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead announced that “Being American is a matter of abstention from foreign ways, foreign food, foreign ideas, foreign accents,” people suffered for being different. Parents struggled to ensure their children assimilated to the mass, spoke English, and rid themselves of “foreign signs,” such as speaking a language other than English, having a foreign accent, dressing in foreign clothes.