As the debate over immigration levels rages, Peter D. Salins examines how new arrivals integrate themselves into American culture and assesses their combined impact on the society. In Assimilation, American Style
, Salins maintains that the naturalization process is the best means for absorbing the nearly one million individuals who come to America each year, placing him midway between the multiculturalists and the restrictionists. He does not believe or expect that all citizens will be alike, but cites certain cultural norms that allow all citizens at least a common understanding of the American experience that will assist in a successful integration into society. As he points out, the real difficulty lies in preventing the continued flood of illegal immigrants from rendering assimilation nearly impossible.
From Publishers Weekly
In this provocative and sure-to-be controversial defense of assimilation, Salins, professor of urban affairs and planning at Hunter College in Manhattan, argues strongly for the restoration of earlier policies toward new immigrants. He provides an overview of how, historically, immigrants assimilated by embracing the Protestant work ethic when they accepted low-paying jobs with long hours. They also sent their children to public schools, where they were taught exclusively in English and inculcated with the ethos that the U.S. is a nation created by people from many countries determined to make a new beginning. A strong supporter of intermarriage, Salins believes that bilingual education and multicultural programs are divisive and a threat to national unity. While the author's point that the U.S. has been largely spared bloody ethnic conflicts is well taken, his proposal that, to succeed, African American males need only imitate new immigrants by adopting their work ethic is simplistic.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.