Assimilation, American Style

Peter D. Salins, Author
Peter D. Salins, Author Basic Books $26 (272p) ISBN 978-0-465-09817-0
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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. (Jan.)
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