Assimilation Then and Now

Reading an article about how the current wave of immigrants is assimilating just fine thank you, Atrios remarks that “as someone who lives in a city which still has plenty of white ethnic enclaves I’ve long been puzzled by the widespread belief that today’s immigrants are somehow ‘different,’ aside from the skin color of some of them.”

One point is simply that a lot of people seem to have exaggerated ideas about past assimilation and simply don’t realize that 100 years ago, just like today, major American cities had foreign language newspapers and things like Yiddish theater that were the equivalent of Univision. There never was a time when people got off the boat, immediately enrolled themselves in English-immersion classes, and gave birth to perfect little Anglo-Saxon children. It was always the case that linguistic, social, and economic integration was a complicated multigenerational process