In recent years, the increase in immigrants to the United States increased tremendously and undoubtedly has an impact on the nation’s society and the economy. However, the process of migration has a tremendous impact on the extinction of the cultures of the migrants. Children, in particular, face psychological challenges as they try to adapt to the changes in the culture. Nevertheless, the children adjust eventually. The adults on the other find it difficult to adjust as the shift in cultural practices and beliefs cause severe psychological and social problems for these individuals as they attempt to let go of their culture and beliefs. The acquisition of a new language, food clothing, and even shelter can create problems for migrants, as must re-learn how to live. But, although the problems are severe, changes must be made in order to function in the society. Adolescent often find it more difficult to adjust to the school settings, but in order to excel academically, these adolescents find that they must adjust. Conversely, accepting the culture of the United States is unquestionably as immigrants make the choice to leave their country of origin to find a better life. While migration to the United States provide financial, social, and educational opportunities, the integration into the American culture is important to the overall development of migrants.
The “American Dream” is a pull factor across the world as many individuals from third world countries dream of living the American dream. If one should ask individuals in third world countries if they would like to migrate to United States permanently, almost all of them would give a resounding ‘yes’ to the question. However, once a person moves to the United States, there is the harsh reality of having to maintain or lose one’s culture. Often, individuals find it difficult to hold onto their culture as the American culture differs in language and conduct. The United States base it principles on being a free country, where one can speak freely and out loud. In fact, many individuals will readily agree that America allows dreams to become a reality. As a result, individuals find the pull factor that drives them to migrate to the United States. However, the trends change, and now instead of seeing America as a ‘melting pot’, individuals see it as salad bowl’ or ‘mosaic,’ (Millet, n.p). Although, it is imperative that one understands the changes in the trends in the perception of the America way of life, the need to adjust becomes more intense.
The metaphor that suggests that America is a melting pot adds to the imagery of a mixture of items combined as a unit. But, does this imagery hold true in the American society today? One can always argue that the number of races in the United States today creates a salad bow imagery that suggests that different cultures come together but are easily separated. This ease of separation occurs because individuals are unwilling to adapt to the American culture and prefer to maintain their personal cultures. But, this cannot be healthy for the growth and development of the country the division of a nation causes undue stress in the country. However, one can offer opposing arguments to support the belief that the emerging “salad bowl” imagery enhances the unique intention of the United States offer of political and religious liberty and freedom. This freedom and liberty leads to the continuation of ethnic individuality, and culture ultimately leads to financial and social success.
Most of the immigrants come to United States searching for a better economical, political, educational, and social life. They find a job and become permanent residents. Knowledge of American culture and traditions may be enough to receive a visa for them, but it is never enough to fully understand this country. But, “immigrants may also, of course, be targets of discrimination, sending the message that they are not welcome in their new home, which can lead to depression and anxiety,” (deAngelis, p.32). If immigrants resist assimilation, they simply change their location, but they do not change their lifestyle. There is a well-known proverb: “When in Rome do as Romans do.” Basically, the proverb means that the easiest way to gain acceptance in a country is to blend in with the culture and practices in the country. Nevertheless, this adaptation of a new way of life does not mean that immigrants should fully abandon their roots and their native traditions. The United States makes it very easy on immigrants to keep their cultural traditions. There are various churches, as well as clubs and communities, where people from different countries gather for national events. In a number of large cities there are whole blocks, where only people from particular origin live as such they are able to preserve much of their culture. Nonetheless, if an immigrant chooses to blend in he opens a whole new world for him to discover.
Conversely, “adjusting to a new culture can be a time of experiencing new customs, values, and beliefs, as you are literally immersed in a new culture anda new language,” (US Immigration Information, par. 1). For many migrants, they face moments of confusion as the new culture appears foreign. In addition, many migrants acknowledge that everything, including transportation, the banking system, and work are different. Many of the immigrants experience “culture shock” and leave them feeling moments of stress. One of the reasons why immigrants hold on to their origins is because they feel guilty for abandoning their home countries or they feel as though everything that is different from what they are used to is wrong. It is important to remember that all of the differences between the native country and America are just newer ways to accomplish things. It is not better, not worse, just different. Deborah Smith cites psychologist Farah Ibrahim, story of adjusting to life in the United States to further enhance the seriousness of having to change from one culture to another. Ibrahim “likens her immigration to the United States from Pakistan as a 24-year-old graduate student to her world dying and beginning anew,” (as cited by Smith, par.1). This story rings true for many migrants, but as Ibrahim continues, “more than 20 years after that first winter she learned that mittens were warmer than gloves and long johns kept out the winter chill,” (as cited by Smith, par.3). These simple cultural practices undoubtedly kept Ibrahim comfortable as she struggled to cross the language barriers at the university. Conclusively, adjusting to the American culture allows for comfort and a more productive way of life.
The fact is, when people come to United States to work, they need to know that in order to move up the career ladder they have to understand their colleagues and their employers. It is important to become a part of the team and it can never be done without the acceptance of a new lifestyle. In addition, the bicultural person is able to perceive the world and any situation much better. This means that the individual will be a step further before his colleagues and will be able to become irreplaceable employee. People, who decide to move to America permanently, take their families with them and raise their children in United States culture. Very often their children embrace the American culture much more than their parents. They grow up to be both bilingual and bicultural, and they often become translators for their parents. So, in order to make the transition a lot easier for the whole family, parents should be more flexible in means of accepting American lifestyle. In addition to this, it is also very important to adopt American traditions. There are a lot of holidays that are celebrated exclusively in US. Therefore, to be accepted as an insider, immigrants should behave the same way and treat American traditions as their national ones. First of all, this includes respect for American culture. If an immigrant respects the tradition and shows interest in it, then he will instinctively become closer to assimilation with the culture.
Nasser, in his 2008 article, “Study: Some Immigrants Assimilate Faster” postulates that one of the reasons why some people assimilate a lot faster than others is that they want to become American citizens and do their best to fit in, (Nasser, par.1).This study has shown that American citizenship is the reason why Mexicans are more likely to blend in, in comparison to Canadians who are less civic involved as they do not seek for American citizenship. (Nasser, par.1) It is fair to say that Unites States were born and created exclusively because of the immigrants. It is quite hard to define American culture from the first look as it is a mix of a huge variety of other cultures. Members of each immigrant group found what work they could in the United States' growing industrial economy, redefined the country's politics, and staffed such growing urban institutions as the police, governmental service, and the public schools.
Arguably, there is a definite amount of assimilation to living in a new culture as it is the only way to achieve much needed financial success. In addition, immigrants must adjust to the language barriers in order to achieve their dreams. It is a rear occurrence for an individual to engage in a conversation without having knowledge of the English Language. While many aliens would prefer to hold onto their language, they quickly recognize that they will not function effectively in the world of work unless they adjust to the language. Of course, this diminishes the value of their language, but in order to succeed, one must adjust to the new way of life. Similarly, one must adjust to the Western way of dress in order to carry out a number of jobs. An Arab woman cannot possibly choose to works in law enforcement, for example in their full Arab attire. But, while it is difficult to give on the values of proper dressing for women, these Arab find that in order to become an ingredient in the American melting pot there is a strong nee to revisit the manner in which they dress. Again the Arab culture becomes lost, but this loss supports toe greater financial good that many individuals seek in the United States.
One’s culture is important to one’s identity. Nevertheless, the negative impact of alienation and rejection in schools and the wider society makes it necessary for migrants to change their cultural beliefs and practices in order to fit into the American society. In an article, “Coming to America: Understanding Cultural Adjustment among Immigrants,” the author notes that many immigrants face the shock of being in an environment that is rich in an “aggressive collectivist media propaganda,” (“Coming to America,” par.4). As a result, “these immigrants have found themselves in the United States, a highly individualistic society," (“Coming to America,” par. 4) trying to cope with the adjustment. Nevertheless, these Ukrainian immigrants embrace the transition as they try to understand and accept that the only way to move forward successfully is to embrace the American culture.
Most researches focus on the maladaptive behaviors of immigrant children. Kristen McCarthy writes “this negative orientation contributes to the idea that individual children are to be blamed for their poor adjustment or performance and often ignores the impact of institutional racism [or] the particular socioeconomic, political, and historical contexts,”(McCarthy, p.4) of the host nation . However, recent studies suggests that the best way to deal with the problems is to take a positivist approach and “to immigration and acculturation,” (McCarthy, p. 4). The reality is that adjusting to the new culture makes it easier to adjust to “the strengths that result from the immigration experience,” (McCarthy, p.4).
Min Zhou’s study of immigrant children reflects the belief that “depending on social and historical processes of immigrationthe new second generation mirror those of contemporary immigrants, which are extraordinarily diverse in national origins, socioeconomic circumstances, and settlement patterns, (Zhou, 65). This new generation represents the ultimate generation of diversity that will take American to new levels in the global arena. One can argue that diversity adds to the important acquisition of new wealth around the world. Immigrants with their diverse backgrounds offer a wealth of knowledge to the United States in the interim as they offer a connection the culture they left behind. Therefore, becoming a part of the “melting pot” in the United States is not as important as becoming a part of the “salad bowl” era where the various cultures are not assimilated, but in fact, merged for future expansion.
Arguably it is important to adjust to the new culture, but the immigrant who keeps the traditional pattern of the country of origin enjoys the freedom of success. In fact, the migrants who keep their religious beliefs and practices enjoy ethnicity that is important to their culture and psychological balance. Even the White Americans become fascinated by the cultural practices, food, and language of the immigrants and would not want to see the blends of a diverse culture removed from the society. Nonetheless, there must be adjustments to these cultural practices as migrants need to recognize and appreciate the diversity of the American culture. While the traditional practices from the various cultures can teach valuable lessons, immigrants have to change their language and way of life in order to preserve the American dream of freedom and liberty.
Many Muslim communities do not give freedom to their women. As a result, the women become free in when they adapt the American culture and practices. The real question is: why would one seek to escape bondage in one’s native language only to remain as slaves in a new culture? The harsh reality that many migrants refuse to face is that in adopting the American culture they lose control of the women in their families. Still, equality in gender allows for freedom of movement and speech for women. These principles must be embraced as women offer much educational contributions to the society at large. The fact is that learning to accept or adopt different aspects of the American culture does not imply that one must dispel of one’s personal culture, traditions or beliefs. However, in order to become successful Americans, migrants must become accepting of the American way of life.
The reality is that cultures differ in many respects and often cause much confusion. In the American culture, one maintains eye contact in a conversation, yet Chinese culture does not allow such contacts. Male, middle Easterners kiss each other as a sign of greeting, but in the Western homophobic society, this practice cannot happen. Other actions may be misinterpreted also especially in the case of the treatment of Muslim women. Some cultures do not support women in leadership roles, and therefore these migrants look at their female bosses with little or no respect. In addition, there are cultures that support boisterous forms of communication, but these behaviors are intolerable in the Western business arenas. One cannot expect that the American employers will change their cultural ways to accommodate these aliens. Therefore, it is far more acceptable for migrants to adapt to the cultural practices and beliefs of the American culture if they hope to fulfill their dreams.
In concluding, symbols differ according to one’s culture, and one can easily mistake the American symbol for “okay” or “way to go.” This symbol has a negative meaning in some cultures. A migrant who does not attempt to assimilate the American culture takes the symbol as a negative gesture. Immediately, there is a barrier in forming new and enriching relationships in the social and business setting. Nonetheless, life is too short to be stuck to your habits. People need to be more open-minded about changes in their lives and it will make the assimilation process a lot easier on them and a lot more interesting. Migration in the United States offer social, financial, and educational opportunities, the assimilation into the American culture is significant to the general improvement of migrants
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