The immigration patterns of the last three decades have profoundly changed nearly every aspect of life in the United States. What do those changes mean for the most established Americans—those whose families have been in the country for multiple generations?
The Other Side of Assimilation shows that assimilation is not a one-way street. Jiménez explains how established Americans undergo their own assimilation in response to profound immigration-driven ethnic, racial, political, economic, and cultural shifts. Drawing on interviews with a race and class spectrum of established Americans in three different Silicon Valley cities, The Other Side of Assimilation illuminates how established Americans make sense of their experiences in immigrant-rich environments, in work, school, public interactions, romantic life, and leisure activities. With lucid prose, Jiménez reveals how immigration not only changes the American cityscape but also reshapes the United States by altering the outlooks and identities of its most established citizens.
List of Illustrations and Table
1. The (Not-So-Strange) Strangers in Their Midst
2. Salsa and Ketchup—Cultural Exposure and Adoption
3. Spotlight on White, Fade to Black
4. Living with Difference and Similarity
5. Living Locally, Thinking Nationally
Tomás R. Jiménez is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Faculty Affiliate at the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity at Stanford University. He is the author of Replenished Ethnicity: Mexican Americans, Immigration, and Identity.
“A quarter of all Americans are immigrants or the children of immigrants. In this groundbreaking book, Tomás Jiménez turns our attention to the 75 percent of Americans who are native born and asks how the great influx of immigrants changes them. He recasts assimilation as relational—immigrants change because they come to America, but established Americans change because immigrants are here. The dynamics of American neighborhoods, schools, churches, labor, and culture are being transformed through these reciprocal changes as immigrants become us and we become them. Jiménez has brilliantly captured the complex dynamics of this two-way assimilation. Beautifully written, theoretically sophisticated and innovative, yet rooted in the stories of everyday Americans, this book is an instant classic—a road map to twenty-first-century America.”—Mary C. Waters, Harvard University
“This pathbreaking book brilliantly reverses the social-science magnifying glass by focusing on ‘established’ Americans and revealing the adjustments they make as society changes around them because of the growing presence of immigrants. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in immigration and ethnic difference.”—Richard Alba, CUNY Graduate Center
“Immigration is a part of America’s DNA. Assimilation is not a one-way process, but relational, as newcomers also change established Americans. The Other Side of Assimilation is a game changer.”—Jennifer Lee, Columbia University
“While the basic contours of American value systems, constitutional order, and class structure have remained largely impervious to successive waves of immigration, the daily lives of ordinary Americans and street -level culture have been significantly affected by the growing presence of immigrants. The concept of ‘relational assimilation,’ introduced by this book, captures these realities.”—Alejandro Portes, Princeton University and University of Miami