Balanced Melting Pot

Blending Immigrant Cultures

In Article, Culture, Parenting on March 9, 2009 at 9:08 am

One of the purposes of this blog is to see how immigrant cultures blend with the American culture. It’s not often that I get to see how two different immigrant cultures blend, in addition to the assimilation to American norms.  

Stephen Talty is an author who recently wrote about his reaction to his two year-old noticing race for the first time. His perspective is interesting because he is a second generation Irish immigrant who is married to a first generation Haitian immigrant. Here’s an excerpt from his article:

I want Asher to care about his family’s story. How my father had to leave high school in Ireland, before he graduated, to go to work for his family. How, though he was as smart as any of his kids, he came to America and put in 30 years as a construction worker (which is not a job you want to have in the wintertime in Buffalo) because that’s what men without high school degrees did. How Marie’s father, a civil engineer in Haiti, had to drive a taxi in New York City because his credentials weren’t accepted here. How my mother worked as a nurse’s aide, and 400 miles away, Asher’s Haitian grandmother spent her days as a nurse. How they all saved money to send every one of their kids to college, but how my parents couldn’t justify spending money on themselves.

What I find intriguing is that the experiences of the two different cultures are so alike. So, while on the surface the two cultures are worlds apart (Mr. Talty talks more about those challenges in the article), I think there are many more similarities that promote shared values.

Do you agree?

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