Friday, August 2, 2019
What works in America :: Culture Cultural Essays
What works in America Jennifer Mancini's parents were born in Italy and immigrated to America just before they had two daughters, Jennifer and her sister. They left a country whose culture stressed close family ties, traditional food, traditional ways of preparing food, and strict social customs. It is Italian tradition that family stick together through the hard times; parents are always there for their children and children are always there for their parents. When the Mancinis came to America, they were forced to abandon many of their customs; in fact, all they held on to was a bit of the old language and their Italian food. Through the experiences she and her family have endured, Mancini believes that "people eventually will assimilate to a more mainstream culture over time, even if they didn't plan to or want to.Just like the old saying goes: 'When in Rome do as the Romans do.'" Although most immigrants are reluctant to stray from how they have learned to live, it will help them to give up much of the ir old ways and accept the dominant culture America has to offer. Rejecting or simply not being able to stray from one's previous culture results in negative responses from the mainstream American culture. Ronald Takaki, a professor and historian at the University of California at Berkeley, shared his view of immigration along with personal experiences in his essay entitled "A Different Mirror" Takaki, a second generation Japanese-American, describes how his appearance erected a barrier between himself and an "American." His experience begins inside a cab on the way to a conference on multiculturalism. The driver and Takaki chat for a few minutes until the middle-aged white man in the front seat notices something odd, his passenger looks foreign yet speaks perfect English. Takaki explained to the driver that he had lived his entire life in The United States and is a true-blooded American. Takaki tell us that, "Somehow I did not look 'American' to him; my eyes and complexion looked foreign" (589). The cab driver immediately assumed that a foreigner had entered his car because Takaki did not look like all the other "Americans" that ask for a ride. His eyes were slanted and his complexion a little darker than the norm, too dark and slanted to be from this country. That is the difficulty with immigration in America today. The American people often are not open enough to get past the differences found amongst ethnic backgrounds.