Type: Review
Pages: 5 | Words: 1209
Reading Time: 6 Minutes

Being Black, Living in the Red by Conley provides us with analysis of the already existing wealth racial difference between the blacks and whites in America. The book demonstrates that differences between blacks and white results from economic inequalities accumulating a time progresses in American history. Conley economic oppression to the blacks is demonstrated by property ownership measured by net worth of a family. Racial disparity leads to whites being more advantaged to enjoy better residences, best schools and higher opportunities to save furthering their economic status. The book contributes much to understanding of economic and social predicament experienced by African American immigrants.

According to Conley, racial disparities are widening and getting their roots deeper in the United States, with no actual cause of the same understood to be solved. His argument is based on socio-demographic traits of immigrants’ parents’ wealth and their disadvantages.

In this context, wealth can be defined as net assets owned by the household or an individual. Wealth in the United States is considered as the mediator for intergenerational show of inequality, as well as being the result to the process of social stratification. Children education and labor supply clearly indicates the parental wealth from the different social origins.

Conley argues that race wealth differences are pointed by the race differences in traits such as parents’ income and youths’ education. He says that race differences disappear in young adults when parents’ attribute like parental wealth are considered as control variables suggesting that race has an overall effect towards assets accumulation. The author suggests that sedimentation of inequality that kills the morale of African-Americans to accumulate wealth contributes much towards racial inequality. In accordance with Conley, these differences can be reduced from the race background by introduction of race-neutral policies to benefit the youths with lass advantaged parents.

Black-White gap is well explained by the wealth-relevant traits, for example, entrepreneurial activities and assets portfolio. Whites are advantaged to accumulate wealth by the trait of racial inequality enabling them to inherit parental resources. Conley says that youths are able to reduce their debts by using their parents’ wealth to finance fees for the higher education.

Being Black, Living in the Red has faced the challenge of the race gap by approaching the challenge from the basis of race differences and social origins in the individual traits. African-American adults are much disadvantaged in terms of assets accumulation due to their social class but not from direct racism effect.

Conley concludes that most of the inequalities that are experienced between the blacks and whites are caused by the ever growing disparities in wealth accumulated in a family. His analysis also gives us an insight that shows that if wealth is considered, racial differences reduce or diminishes though this will make the research miss significant variation in levels of family economic resources. He suggests that what matters is class position and wealth levels associated with race in America but not race “per se”. Conley demonstrates that racial discrimination and differences in saving rates do not contribute towards whites-blacks wealth gap in generations living past 1960s.

Portes & Rumbaut’s

The book by Porters and Rumbaut probes and deals with the lives of the second generation immigrants and their potential and challenges they face in their fight to assimilate into American society. The authors well explain cause of these challenges and the way in which they should be addressed in order to streamline the ease at which the immigrants adapt in to a society mainstream. The book recommends the reduction of the gap between the immigrants and the society they are to fit in and explains that this can only be solved by eliminating racism and ethnicity.

Segmented assimilation best describes most of the adaptive experiences that are at disposal of the immigrants as they fit and become a part of society. An earlier model of assimilation had several phases through which the immigrant underwent to adapt to the already existing society. The phases included: contact, competition, and accommodation phases and the last was assimilation. Today’s model of assimilation involves all the means and ways which an immigrant can adapt to the new society. Immigrants can follow the traditional four phases to assimilate into an underclass or else follow a less prosperous phases to go through the process.

The analyzed phenomenon is much concerned with how minorities are able to adapt the terms and eventually get absorbed to fit the mainstream of the new social surrounding. Segmented assimilation is all about integration of the newcomers to an existing society. Its concept carries the prediction that shows the final outcome of encounter between the native majority and the foreign immigrants despite their differences in social classes or generation since they are heterogeneous.

The authors are explaining the models of immigrants’ incorporation, their consequences, challenge to second generation immigrants adaptation and ways and means to counter this challenges. According to the researchers, second generation descendants faces the issue of ethnicity as source of strength to force their way to adapt the new society in terms of social life and economy based on their community resources. On the other hand, some immigrants face ethnicity as a source of subordination that puts their children to the risk of joining the multitude of the dispossessed, especially in the American inner cities. The second generation is associated with the segmentation assimilation with outcomes varying across the minorities.

Factors identified by the authors as important for predicting whether the children of immigrants will end up assimilating “downward” or into the middle class are: the history of newcomers’ first generation; the pace of acculturation among immigrants and their children; the cultural and economic barriers that challenged the immigrants youths in quest for adoption; and, finally, the resources required to confront these barriers. Barriers that immigrants face in their race to assimilate and adapt to the new society range from race, labor markets and counterculture.

Labor markets’ barrier to the immigrants is in basis of the progressive inequality and deindustrialization enabling the immigrants’ upward mobility for the European immigrants offering them good living standards in contrast to other immigrants. Counterculture barrier, if experienced in the American schools, results to students dropping out from schools to join the drug subculture.

The authors consider race as a paramount criterion in America for social acceptance that has potential to overwhelm the effect on class religion or background. With or without considering the class origin of the immigrants, it is true to say that outcomes face more challenges in their attempt to get themselves to the middle class mainstream on the basis of their race. There exist a great racial gradient in the United States culture translating to a great social distance between immigrants with dark skin and the dominant group. In more extreme cases, Asian, Black and Mulatto immigrants’ children endure the ethnic challenges facing discrimination based on the physical differences affecting aspirations and self-esteem in the Blacks immigrants’ children. The overall approach considers immigrants backgrounds as an influence to adaptation outcomes to the society the immigrants inhabit. Despite all the challenges that the immigrants face challenges, all parents wishes the best to their young ones and have great aspiration to their children. The book concludes that the resources needed for better future of the immigrants’ generation are resources giving them job opportunities and access to economic goods.

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