American Sociological Association

Immigrant Identities and the Shaping of a Racialized American Self

Immigration scholars largely focus on adaptation processes of immigrant groups, while race scholars focus on structural barriers nonwhite immigrants face. By comparing nonwhite immigrants with native-born Americans, we can better understand how racial logics affect the identification of racial minorities in the United States. Drawing on 153 interviews with Indian, Caribbean, Chinese, Filipino, and Mexican immigrants, and comparing their narratives to those of black native-born respondents, the authors find similar understandings of American identity across immigrant groups as well as barriers to recognition as American shared by immigrants and native-born blacks. Immigrant narratives continue to reify the United States as a white nation, thus leading to their exclusion by default.


Katherine Sorrell, Simranjit Khalsa, Elaine Howard Ecklund, and Michael O. Emerson



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