Paul Spickard’s book, almost all aliens is a book that examines three concepts; immigration (which concerns the study of native people), emancipation and slavery. It attempts to integrate all these three concepts into one. It examines ethnicity and race from the year 1600 to the present. He uses three approaches to enable understanding of this subject. The first approach he uses is the approach of assimilationist whereby be converges the notion of immigration groups into some median in the American culture. He finds this concept to be very flawed. This is because many white Americans have never considered African Americans or any other race for that matter to be equal to them.
The second approach used by the author is called transitional diaspora. In this approach Paul sees immigrants as part of an international flow business and commerce that do not cut ties with their countries of origin since they develop connections at their respective homes. The themes discussed in relation to this approach consider these immigrants to be part of the privileged and educated community only. The final approach used by the writer is called panethnic aggregation. In this approach, he considers the immigration process as the consequence of “panethnic” formation. What he means by this is that various ethnic communities and nationalities share some physical characteristics but with different histories. For example, languages and cultures of African Americans are considered to be similar by the majority White Americans. The main reason for this is because of the influence of slavery. African Americans were able to learn and practice the culture of their masters. They therefore began practicing this culture from generation to generation, forgetting the one with which they had come. This makes them to treat them all the same way.
The book has strength. It is its ambition scope. Spickard gives the conceptions the centrality which is evolving about race by considering the immigrants from Latin America and Asia similar to those from European countries. They consider these specific immigrants to be more of superiority than the ones from Africa who did mainly manual labor. The ones from Europe were not salves as the latter. Thus, considering the African Americans, they were treated better. However, this book also has a weakness. Its weakness is that it mainly parallels the strengths which have been mentioned. The material used is very broad and so small such that some sections of the book are somewhat very deceptive and appear to be disjointed. For example, the material on African Americans and African American culture is in a way poorly disintegrated and leads to interruptions in the thrust of the main narrative. Apart from this, the informal, energetic and rhetorical style is a good anecdote. The book is great and gives a lot of insight into the world of immigration of all races, but in particular the African American race. It is full of unbridled knowledge about the different races and their origins.
Spickard, Paul R. Almost All Aliens: Race, Colonialism, and Immigration in American History and Identity. London: Routledge, 2007. Print.