Los Angeles Mission College Ruby Bridges Movie Discussion: Article Writing Answers 2021

Los Angeles Mission College Ruby Bridges Movie Discussion: Article Writing Answers 2021

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Ethnic and Racial Studies
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Affiliative ethnic identity: a more elastic link between ethnic ancestry and
culture
Tom?s R. Jim?nez
First published on: 13 October 2010
To cite this Article Jim?nez, Tom?s R.(2010) ?Affiliative ethnic identity: a more elastic link between ethnic ancestry and
culture?, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 33: 10, 1756 ? 1775, First published on: 13 October 2010 (iFirst)
To link to this Article: DOI: 10.1080/01419871003678551
URL: https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01419871003678551
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Ethnic and Racial Studies Vol. 33 No. 10 November 2010 pp. 1756 1775
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Affiliative ethnic identity: a more elastic
link between ethnic ancestry and culture
Toma?s R. Jime?nez
(First submission April 2009; First published April 2010)
Abstract
This paper explains the development of affiliative ethnic identity: an
individual identity rooted in knowledge, regular consumption and
deployment of an ethnic culture that is unconnected to an individual?s
ethnic ancestry until that individual regards herself, and may be regarded
by others, as an affiliate of a particular ethnic group. While ethnic culture
remains identifiably linked to a particular ethnic ancestry, ideological,
institutional and demographic changes have elasticized the link between
ancestry and culture, making the formation of affiliative ethnic identity
possible. Multiculturalism and its accompanying value of diversity have
become institutionalized such that individuals regard ethnic difference as
something to be recognized and celebrated. The prevalence of ethnic
culture in schools, ethnically infused products of popular culture,
demographic changes and growing interethnic contact allow individuals,
regardless of ethnic ancestry, ready access to multiple ethnic cultures,
providing the basis for the formation of affiliative ethnic identity.
Keywords: Ethnicity; race; identity; multiculturalism; diversity; culture.
Introduction
Students of ethnicity take for granted that ethnicity is malleable,
situational and contingent. It becomes symbolic when there is much
generational distance from the immigrant point of origin (Gans 1979),
in response to external group threats (Portes and Rumbaut 2001),
resurgent when social movements activate it (Nagel 1997) and panethnic when the interests of multiple ethnic groups coalesce around
their treatment as a single race (Espiritu 1992). What these ranging
forms of ethnicity share in common is that they are rooted in a shared
sense of ancestry, or common descent.
# 2010 Taylor & Francis
ISSN 0141-9870 print/1466-4356 online
DOI: 10.1080/01419871003678551
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Affiliative ethnic identity
1757
However, another form of ethnic identity has emerged; one that
does not depend on claims of ancestry. Instead, it exclusively depends
on knowledge, consumption and deployment of ethnically linked
symbols and practices, or ethnic culture. Individuals are no longer
confined to their own ethnic ancestry in forming an ethnic identity.
They are now accessing culture connected to other ethnic ancestries in
developing affiliative ethnic identities: individual identities rooted in
knowledge, regular consumption and deployment of an ethnic culture
that is unconnected to an individual?s ethnic ancestry until that
individual regards herself, and may be regarded by others, as an
affiliate of a particular ethnic group.
Scholars have documented specific manifestations of affiliative
ethnic identity: ?wiggers? (whites who display a strong appreciation
for black identity) (Roediger 1995); teens who ?act black? or ?act
Spanish? (Carter 2005); Puerto Rican ?wannabes? (Wilkins 2008); and
whites who ?play Indian? (Deloria 1998). These are not discrete
instances of ethnic ?crossover?, but examples of a larger phenomenon
that is affiliative ethnic identity. While ethnic culture remains
identifiably tethered to a particular ancestry, ideological, institutional
and demographic changes have elasticized the link between ancestry
and culture, making the latter available to individuals who wish to
broaden their range of ?ethnic options? (Waters 1990).
Ethnic change, crossing over and ethnic transgression
An ethnic group is ?a collective within a larger society having real or
putative common ancestry, memories of a shared historical past, and a
cultural focus on one or more symbolic elements defined as the epitome
of their peoplehood? (Schermerhorn quoted in Cornell and Hartmann
1998, p. 19).1 Ethnicity includes three related components. The first is
ancestry, which entails belief in common descent, or kinship; ancestry
amounts to a claim to a family writ large. The second component is
culture, which includes the symbols and practices around which
ethnicity coalesces and that epitomize group belonging. While group
members regard ancestry as the ?inherited? element of ethnicity, the
cultural aspect of ethnicity is ?achieved? since individuals learn it
(Brubaker et al. 2007). Ethnicity?s third component, history, is a
collective of events that form a narrative that group insiders (and
outsiders) tell about a shared or inherited past. The line between history
and culture is thin. Since ethnicity relies on interpretations of history
more than on a verifiable historical record, interpretation of history is a
cultural act.
Affiliative ethnic identity grows out of a more elastic connection
between culture and ancestry, which have been so closely tied in the
popular imagination and academic study that when individuals untie
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Toma?s R. Jime?nez
the two in their own lives, usually through the enactment of culture, it
is seen as an instance of ethnic transgression. This transgression
historically has been shaped by a larger set of power relations in which
whites dominate non-whites. Dressing in black face (Gubar 1997),
playing Indian (Deloria 1998) and passing (Davis 1991; Hobbs 2009)
are all examples of identity transgression that grow out of these
unequal power relations.
Ethnoracial stratification remains prominent, and the social sanction against overt expressions of ethnoracial prejudice has produced
subterranean forms of prejudice that are more difficult to identify and
combat (Bobo and Smith 1998; McDermott 2006). Nonetheless,
institutions and individuals more positively recognize ethnic difference
compared to the past, helping to create the conditions that allow for
wider access to ethnic culture, and thus the formation of affiliative
ethnic identity.
Defining and distinguishing affiliative ethnic identity
An affiliative ethnic identity is rooted in knowledge, regular consumption and deployment of an ethnic culture that is unconnected to an
individual?s ethnic ancestry until that individual regards herself, and
may be regarded by others, as an affiliate of a particular ethnic group.
Several aspects of this definition warrant elaboration.
The first relates to the use of ethnically linked symbols and
practices, or ethnic culture. Individuals do not just claim ethnic
identities, they enact them through culture cuisine, language, art,
holidays, festivals that defines what it means to be an ethnic-group
member (Nagel 1994). Individuals with affiliative ethnic identities
display a deep knowledge of an ethnic culture unconnected to their
own ethnic ancestry, regularly consuming and deploying the elements
of that culture. Knowledge, consumption and enactment of culture
form the foundation of affiliative ethnic identity.
The ancestral component of ethnic identity calls attention to the
?affiliative? nature of this identity. Individuals with an affiliative ethnic
identity do not make claims to the ancestry or history of the group
from which they draw their affiliative identity. The absence of such
claims is precisely what makes this ethnic identity ?affiliative?. Nonetheless, affiliative ethnics have a deep affinity for an ethnic group and
culture that are unconnected to their own ancestry, and they make
claims to ?honorary? group membership. These claims are implied
though the regular deployment of ethnic culture. Though affiliative
ethnic identity does not depend on claims to a common ancestry, it is
no less ethnic in nature. Individuals experience and express an
affiliative identity through symbols and practices that are associated
with a particular ethnic ancestry.2
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Affiliative ethnic identity
1759
A third aspect of the definition relates to the affiliate status that
individuals may have in an ethnic group. Ethnicity is not marked by
ethnic culture only. It is also defined by the boundaries that distinguish
groups from one another in everyday life (Barth 1969; Wimmer 2008).
Claims to an ethnic identity are regarded as legitimate to the extent
that both members of the ethnic ?us? and ?them? deem them to be so.
Individuals with an affiliative ethnic identity do not cross ethnic
boundaries such that others assign them to the ethnic category from
which they draw their affiliative identity. However, their social
networks, familiarity with history, knowledge, consumption and
enactment of customs and practice, and, in some cases, their allegiance
to social and political causes may gain them acceptance among
ancestral ethnics, who may bestow category labels on affiliative ethnics
that recognize cultural membership in the absence of ancestral
belonging. These category labels include words ?honorary? and ?semi?
that precede the ethnic-specific label (e.g., ?honorary-Mexican,? ?semiItalian?) (see Waters 1990, pp. 110 14). These labels may also come
from non-ancestral ethnic insiders who recognize affiliative ethnics?
embrace of a particularly ethnic culture. Affiliative ethnic identity is an
additive aspect of identity that does not supplant but rather exists
alongside an ancestral ethnic identity. Affiliative ethnics thus do not
deny their own ethnic ancestry.
Fourth, affiliative ethnic identity is an integral part of individual
identity. Affiliative ethnics do not merely borrow aspects of ethnic
culture in order to piece together culturally omnivorous highbrow or
cosmopolitan identities. Instead, they routinely consume and deploy
an ethnic culture. Though affiliative ethnics do not identify with the
ancestral aspect of ethnicity, their deep knowledge, consumption and
regular deployment of an ethnic culture is central to how they identify
themselves and often how others identify them. The salience of an
affiliative ethnic identity, like ancestral ethnic identities, can be located
on a continuum that runs from ?thick? to ?thin? (Cornell and Hartmann
1998). What makes affiliative ethnic identity thick or thin is not merely
how much of an ethnic culture that an individual knows, consumes
and enacts, but rather the importance that an individual attaches to
these activities as a part of a sense of self.
Affiliative ethnic identity and ethnic change
Affiliative ethnic identity might be easily confused with several other
ethnic processes or forms:
. Assimilation ?the decline of an ethnic distinction and its
corollary social and cultural differences? (Alba and Nee 2003,
p. 11) might be said to be multidirectional affiliative ethnicity on
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a large scale. However, assimilation takes place when two or more
groups become more alike until ethnic distinctions are all but
imperceptible, while affiliative ethnic identity depends on recognizable ethnic distinctions. Affiliative ethnic identity is possible
only because there are symbols and practices widely recognized to
be associated with a particular ethnic group. In contrast,
assimilation takes place when aspects of culture that were once
?marked? as distinctively ethnic become ?unmarked? features of
the mainstream. With assimilation, individuals become more
similar to a mainstream (and change the mainstream in the
process) (Alba and Nee 2003). With affiliative ethnic identity,
individuals distinguish themselves from a mainstream by drawing
on a culture linked to marked ethnic categories. In short,
assimilation involves becoming more similar, while affiliative
ethnic identity entails becoming more different.
. Symbolic ethnicity ?a nostalgic allegiance to the culture of the
immigrant generation, or that of the old country; a love for and
pride in a tradition that can be felt without having to be
incorporated in everyday behavior? (Gans 1979, p. 9) allows
individuals to feel part of a mainstream undefined in ethnic
terms, while also permitting an occasional and inconsequential
foray into ethnic ?otherness? (Waters 1990). Both symbolic and
affiliative forms of ethnic identity are forged primarily with ethnic
culture, and both allow individuals to distinguish themselves from
a mainstream. But symbolic ethnic identity entails individuals
looking toward their own ethnic ancestry for an ethnic experience;
affiliative ethnic identity develops when individuals look away
from their own ethnic ancestry. Ironically, symbolic ethnic
identity involves the sporadic deployment of ethnic symbols
and practices, while affiliative ethnics often display an intense
interest in ethnic culture.
. Passing historically involved black individuals living their life as a
white person. Passing is associated mostly with blacks since,
historically, the ?one-drop rule? made blackness as much of a
biological identity as it was a socially constructed racial category
(Davis 1991; Hobbs 2009). Individuals whose phenotype was
close to that of whites were able to hide their ?one-drop? of black
ancestry, living as if they had no black ancestry at all, and thus
reaping social, economic and legal benefits attached to whiteness.
Passing differs from affiliative ethnic identity in three important
ways. First, affiliative ethnic identity is asserted, not ascribed. While
passing involves the assertion of membership in a white ethnoracial
category, equally important to passing is ascription by others to a
white category. It is unlikely that individuals with an affiliative ethnic
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Affiliative ethnic identity
1761
identity would be assigned to the ethnic category from which they
draw their affiliative identity. Secondly, passing is a function of a deepseeded racial inequality. Historically, passing was a virtual requirement
for blacks to succeed in mainstream institutions, giving it a coercive
quality that affiliative ethnic identity lacks. Finally, whereas as those
who pass claim white ancestry, affiliative ethnics make no claim to the
ancestry in which their affiliative ethnic identity is rooted. They
exclusively rely on their knowledge and deployment of ethnic culture
to form their affiliative identity.
. Ethnic hybridity involves the mixing of different ethnic cultures.
Recent research on immigrant assimilation in urban centres has
identified the hybridization of ethnic culture among secondgeneration youth, who combine elements of culture from their
own ethnic ancestry with the multiple ethnic cultures that are
vibrant in the milieus that they navigate (Kasinitz et al. 2008).
The resulting hybrid, or ?cosmopolitan? (Warikoo 2004) culture
allows the second generation to remain ethnically authentic, while
projecting the qualities that garner them respect from peers
(Warikoo 2007). Whereas hybridity involves combining cultures
to create something new, affiliative ethnic identity relies on the
enactment of culture associated with another ethnic ancestry. Any
alteration would make such an identity no longer affiliative, but
something altogether different.
The origins of affiliative ethnic identity
Affiliative ethnic identity emerges from factors that have created both
a ?demand? for ethnic difference and a ?supply? of the ethnic culture on
which individuals draw to experience this difference.
Multiculturalism and the demand for ethnic difference
One of the most significant ideological changes in the last forty years
relates to everyday understandings of ethnoracial difference. While
ethnoracial prejudice and pernicious stereotypes endure, norms about
ethnoracial equality have become remarkably more prevalent (Bobo
and Charles 2009). This shift originated in the Civil Rights Movement
of the 1950s and 1960s. The two crowning legal achievements of the
movement the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of
1965 have raised the legal cost of discrimination, and ultimately the
social sanction against the overt discrimination that has been in place
for most of US history (Alba and Nee 2003). As a result, there has
been a change in attitudes about race and ethnicity such that in three
generations US society has seen a ?shift from the nineteenth- and early
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twentieth-century emphasis on the value of racial homogeneity, as in
the white supremacist vision of America, to an institutionalized
consensus on the value of diversity? (Alba and Nee 2003, p. 57).
This value of diversity is embodied in multiculturalism, which
celebrates even if often superficially ethnoracial difference
(Sua?rez-Orozco 2000). Whereas multiculturalism was once an insurgent way of thinking about ethnoracial difference, it now forms the
foundation for a new understanding of American national identity.
Schildkraut (2005), for example, shows that multiculturalism undergirds ?incorporationism?, a new tradition of American civic identity
characterized by an embrace of America?s immigrant origins and the
celebration of its different ethnic strands. In the incoporationist
tradition, all Americans are hyphenated Americans. Similarly, Wolfe?s
(1998) interviews with middle-class American suburbanites shows
them to have accommodating views of multiculturalism, though they
favour a ?soft? brand of multiculturalism over the ?hard? sort.
Supplying ethnic culture: institutional mechanisms
A supply of ethnic culture, made possible by the in?

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