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----- Original Message ----- From: "Candeloro, Dominic" <email@example.com> To: <H-ITAM@H-NET.MSU.EDU> Sent: Wednesday, May 21, 2003 10:24 AM Subject: EuroEthnicity in a Rinascimento-"Twilight" flickers Dematteo -----Original Message----- From: jdematteo4 [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Wed 5/21/2003 8:00 AM To: H-NET List on Italian-American History and Culture Cc: Subject: Re: EuroEthnicity in a Rinascimento, NOT says Alba ------------------ John De Matteo submits. Jdematteo4@comcast.net. It is a long time since I read "Twilight into Ethnicity," and I do not have the time to reaffirm my initial conclusions. Nevertheless I was left with the conclusion that Alba was correct in his long term projection that Italian ethnicity will decline. What is difficult to extrapolate is the rate at which it will happen, Certainly, there have been perturbations and there may be other perturbations in this extrapolation. For instance, there is the political perturbation as described by Michael Novak in his "Rise of the Unmeltable Ethnics." Then there is perturbation of the Internet which has brought "ethnicity" to many IAs in the matter no one could have predicted. A generation ago who would predicted the tremendous role being played by IA women; and wait they are just getting started. I think these perturbations have created a whole population who are more "ethnic" than their forebears in a sense that they are more interested in their heritage. In essential, the numbers have decline but degree of involvement has increased. Dr. Alba suggests (and I hope I remember this right) that Italians will eventually be part of 'European' group. I suggest there is a long term intermediate stage which has to do with Catholicism. This stage will help keep ethnicity alive. The definition of ethnicity will evolve as much as it will decline. It is the nature of human beings to want to be identified as belonging to some group. Again, the decline of ethnicity will happen but is difficult to define it rate or the perturbations. John De Matteo -- Original Message ----- From: "Candeloro, Dominic" <email@example.com> To: <H-ITAM@H-NET.MSU.EDU> Sent: Wednesday, May 21, 2003 12:23 AM Subject: EuroEthnicity in a Rinascimento, NOT says Alba From: Richard D. Alba [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Mon 5/19/2003 4:54 PM T ------------------ Richard Annotico, taking advantage of a recent article by the journalist, Gregory Rodriguez, claims that the "demise" of ethnicity, as predicted by me, among others, is "highly exaggerated." Sorry, but I don't agree, for three reasons: 1. I, and the others who share my basic point of view, did not predict a "demise" (dictionary meaning: "death or decease") but rather a decline. In fact, the subheading of Rodriguez's article ("Once-powerful white identities like 'Irish American' are becoming matters of choice") seems quite consistent with that prediction. 2. The popularity of ethnic identities, a symbolic form of ethnicity, was analyzed already more than a decade ago by Mary Waters (Ethnic Options) and me (Ethnic Identity). The article from the Los Angeles Times is a reflection of the arguments presented in these two books, which have been widely accepted by scholars and which indicate that ethnic identities have a weak hold on the lives of most whites and do not involve extensive commitments of time and effort. In fairness, Annotico ought not to consider just an article and a book written two decades ago. 3. Even if Rodriguez's article supported what Annotico wants to believe of it, so what? It quotes a number of "authorities," but provides no tangible evidence. Heaven help the level of debate on this list if it becomes simply a matter of my "authorities" versus someone else's. Is there any evidence to suggest that, for instance, the high intermarriage rate of Italian Americans is declining? We don't have the evidence on this from the 2000 Census yet, but one bit of evidence is the continuing decline in the Italian population of Bensonhurst (see The New York Times article by Joe Berger a few months ago). In 1980, Bensonhurst was the most-Italian neighborhood in the New York region, but today it is more and more the home to Chinese and other new immigrants. How is this evidence of a rinascimento? Richard Alba ----- Original Message ----- From: "Candeloro, Dominic" <email@example.com> To: <H-ITAM@H-NET.MSU.EDU> Sent: Monday, May 19, 2003 11:23 AM Subject: EuroEthnicity in a Rinascimento, not a Twilight -LA Times -----Original Message----- From: Trimtantre@aol.com [mailto:Trimtantre@aol.com] Sent: Sun 5/18/2003 11:58 PM To: Trimtantre@aol.com Cc: Subject: EuroEthnicity in a Rinascimento, not a Twilight -LA Times The ANNOTICO Report An increasing number of Americans are "opting in" to their Ethnicity because of a phenomenon that adds a missing dimension to an atomized suburban existence, and provide a sense of rootedness, in a highly mobile population. Losing one's ancestral bearings, and accepting "assimilation" can have their psychic costs; can produce feelings of loneliness or alienation. People ultimately don't want to be just individuals," says Gary Gerstle, a historian at the University of Maryland and author of "American Crucible: Race and Nation in the Twentieth Century." "They want a greater sense of bondedness and community." Therefore, White ethnicity is spreading.- Italian American, German American, Polish American, Irish American and so on - The demise of EuroEthnicity, as once predicated by noted scholars, such as Richard Alba *, is highly exaggerated! *> Italian Americans: Into the Twilight of Ethnicity. Prentice-Hall, 1985. > "The twilight of ethnicity among American Catholics of European ancestry," The Annals 454 (March, 1981): 86-97. ==================================================== Sociology DINING AT THE ETHNICITY CAFETERIA Once-powerful white identities like 'Irish American' are becoming matters of choice. Los Angeles Times By Gregory Rodriguez May 18, 2003 In contemporary America, ethnicity - especially white ethnicity - seems to have become a matter of choice. Collective white identities - German American, Italian American, Polish American, Irish American and so on - increasingly serve the whims of the individual. And what's happening to white ethnicity is spreading. The old arbiters of ethnic authenticity are losing their authority. In the new frontier of ethnic identities, you are who you say you are. And if it turns out that you aren't, well, few seem to care.... Several scholars have explored the phenomenon of latter-generation whites seeking to reestablish ethnic ties, real or imagined. These connections can add a missing dimension to an atomized suburban existence and provide a sense of rootedness in a highly mobile population. For politicians and entrepreneurs, optional ethnicities are also ways to broaden appeal.... America, of course, has always been a culture of reinvention. Immigrants have long taken advantage of their new home to recast themselves in new guises. But rather than a simple act of exchanging the old identity for a new one, assimilation has involved mixing customs, rituals and identities from the past and present. Notwithstanding the myth that new arrivals to America jumped off the gangplank eager to emulate the native-born, becoming an American has always been a gradual, highly self-conscious act of reconstruction. This mind-set may explain why Americans, perhaps more than anyone else, have always been acutely aware of the malleable nature of ethnic and cultural identity. "We are just [now] more aware that we are active partners in creating our own identities," says Hasia Diner, professor of American Jewish history at New York University. "In a postmodern, multicultural world, the process has simply become more transparent." In the past, ethnic "passing" was something one did in shameful silence. Today, Americans openly celebrate ethnic borrowing and fusion. Other than a few outraged Boston columnists, there was no genuine uproar over Kerry's imagined identity. Latter-generation American whites are so thoroughly mixed that when someone describes himself as, say, Irish, the expectation is never that he is pure Irish. Yet, ethnic fluidity and mixing have their psychic costs; losing one's ancestral bearings can produce feelings of loneliness or alienation. Hence the popularity of multiculturalism. By celebrating differences among Americans of varied cultural origins, it helps reestablish connections between American-born children of whatever generation and their foreign-born ancestors. By cultivating a sense of ethnic continuity, multiculturalism - the promotion of separate but equal cultures in one place - seeks to mitigate our alienation by encouraging membership in a collective identity. "Despite the wide range of choices [ethnic fluidity] gives them, people ultimately don't want to be just individuals," says Gary Gerstle, a historian at the University of Maryland and author of "American Crucible: Race and Nation in the Twentieth Century." "They want a greater sense of bondedness and community." Ironically, collective racial and ethnic movements helped pave the way for the triumph of individual over group identity. The explosion of new identities in the 1960s among marginalized groups who refused to accept the labels imposed upon them by a white elite gave credence to the idea that individuals had a right to choose who and what they called themselves. Although the ethnic-pride movement imposed its own series of constricting identities and prescribed behaviors ("acting" Chicano or black), it ultimately encouraged all Americans to rail against externally imposed labels. Although ethnic advocates correctly condemned the coercion that once characterized "Americanization," Americans who were not allowed to recast their collective identities suffered an even greater indignity.... But just as white ethnic mixing created a more fluid view of ethnicity, increased racial mixing has begun to do the same for race. If high median incomes and intermarriage rates are any indication, contemporary Asian Americans can employ class and education to trump race. Latter-generation Mexican Americans and other Latinos have also had the ability to forge new individual identities. Though they once may have called themselves ITALIAN (emp add) or Spanish to avoid discrimination, today acculturated Latinos can choose new identities to explore other opportunities. Jennifer Lopez can play a Latina character in one movie, then demand to play a non-ethnic white in the next. Yet, because Hispanicity can now be an ADVANTAGE (emp add), there is an upward trend in the number of Americans embracing it.... While ethnic and racial mixing surely lower the barriers that once divided groups, the white-ethnic experience indicates that it would be a mistake to conclude that the connection to racial identities will disappear altogether. "All this mixing doesn't mean that there will no longer be blue or red," says Phil Kasinitz, a professor of sociology at City University of New York Graduate Center, "but that there will be more purple around the edges." And though purple may be the only color that could redeem..., it should not be used to smother the primary colors that are sure to linger... "White," a generic term that (does not denote) anyone's actual ethnic heritage, an amalgamated purple may not satisfy future Americans' need for more intimate connections. ------------------------------------- Gregory Rodriguez, a contributing editor to Opinion, is a senior fellow at New America Foundation. <A HREF="http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/suncommentary/la-op-rod riguez 18may18,1,3141571.story?coll=la%2Dheadlines%2Dsuncomment">Dining at the Ethnicity Cafeteria</A> http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/suncommentary/la-op-rodriguez 18may1 8, 1,3141571.story?coll=la%2Dheadlines%2Dsuncomment