Democracy's Promise: Immigrants and American Civic by Janelle Wong

By Janelle Wong

Given the big demographic alterations within the usa duringthe previous few a long time, realizing where of immigrants in thepublic sphere hasn't ever been extra serious. Democracy's Promiseexamines either the demanding situations and possibilities posed to Americancivic associations by means of the presence of accelerating numbers of immigrants.Author Janelle Wong argues that the low degrees of political participationamong modern immigrants should not as a result of apathy orpreoccupation with their fatherland, yet to the lack of Americanpolitical events and advocacy corporations to mobilize immigrantvoters.

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Additional info for Democracy's Promise: Immigrants and American Civic Institutions (The Politics of Race and Ethnicity)

Sample text

However, even though the whiteness of many European immigrants was contested in popular and political discussion, the racial discrimination that those groups faced differed in fundamental ways from that of contemporary, non-European immigrant groups. Those European immigrants who were confronted with widespread hostility never faced the kind of legal racial restrictions on naturalization— on becoming full-›edged American citizens—experienced by non-European groups. S. immigration laws reinforced a distinction between European immigrants in general and groups from other parts of the world.

Economically and politically, Los Angeles became a two-tiered city. Anglos lived, worked, prospered, and grew self-satis‹ed on the top rung of a mythical social ladder, while Mexicans operated from a position of imposed subservience. These are the disturbing realities of the history of Los Angeles, but they undeniably constitute a cornerstone of the experience of the city’s Mexican population—then and now” (1986, 104). Mexican and Chinese Immigrants in Two Cities 39 By the late 1800s, Los Angeles’s Mexican population comprised not only the descendants of Spaniards and the later Mexican colonizers of Alta California but also newer immigrants from Mexico and their descendants.

For example, one man complained to a local newspaper that the Chinese immigrants in his neighborhood do not frequent his pizzeria: “I don’t mean this in a racist way, but it’s just a fact we’ve become a Chinatown, which I resent. In this country, we are supposed to assimilate, but they don’t. We are supposed to be a melting pot, but they aren’t in it” (Mus- 32 Democracy’s Promise tain 1997, 34). Despite that sentiment, it is important to note that Sunset Park is not a Chinatown in the traditional sense.

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