Sustaining Faith Traditions: Race, Ethnicity, and Religion among the Latino and Asian American Second Generation

Sustaining Faith Traditions: Race, Ethnicity, and Religion among the Latino and Asian American Second Generation

Sustaining Faith Traditions: Race, Ethnicity, and Religion among the Latino and Asian American Second Generation

Sustaining Faith Traditions: Race, Ethnicity, and Religion among the Latino and Asian American Second Generation

Synopsis

Over fifty years ago, Will Herberg theorized that future immigrants to the United States would no longer identify themselves through their races or ethnicities, or through the languages and cultures of their home countries. Rather, modern immigrants would base their identities on their religions.

The landscape of U.S. immigration has changed dramatically since Herberg first published his theory. Most of today's immigrants are Asian or Latino, and are thus unable to shed their racial and ethnic identities as rapidly as the Europeans about whom Herberg wrote. And rather than a flexible, labor-based economy hungry for more workers, today's immigrants find themselves in a post-industrial segmented economy that allows little in the way of class mobility.

In this comprehensive anthology contributors draw on ethnography and in-depth interviews to examine the experiences of the new second generation: the children of Asian and Latino immigrants. Covering a diversity of second-generation religious communities including Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, and Jews, the contributors highlight the ways in which race, ethnicity, and religion intersect for new Americans. As the new second generation of Latinos and Asian Americans comes of age, they will not only shape American race relations, but also the face of American religion.

Excerpt

Russell Jeung, Carolyn Chen, and Jerry Z. Park

It’s like regardless of your race or background, everybody comes. You
see—well, there’s not too many whites, [but] you know, we had that
Bosnian guy, he came. and we have some African Americans, we
have a whole lot of Arabs and people from the Indian subcontinent.
We have an Indonesian guy who comes. … It’s just everybody comes
together. We come and pray together, and it’s just awesome. … It’s—
we’re all equal, all standing in line together, we’re all praying to the
same Lord, and we’re all listening to the same speaker. It’s unreal.
—Shaheed, second-generation Pakistani Muslim, describing how
his university’s Muslim Student Association transcends race and
ethnicity

I think that Nueva Esperanza is what our people have been look
ing for, for years. and I think that if these folks stay on track, the
Latino community is going to have a voice like never before over
the next ten years. I think the black church is organized; I think
that African Americans in this country have organized. It’s time for
our people to organize! You know, we’re the least respected, least
educated, most impoverished, and I think that that season and that
age is changing now with organizations such as Nueva Esperanza.
—Pastor Francisco, a second-generation Puerto Rican evangelical,
describing how his national organization mobilizes Latino
religious leaders

Race and religion matter enormously for the new second generation, the children of post-1965 immigrants. They are negotiating who they are and where they belong in a United States that has transformed with contemporary immigration. in the epigraphs, Shaheed delights in how his Muslim identity transcends ethnic and racial differences; for Pastor Francisco, on the other hand, religion offers a way to mobilize Latino solidarity and . . .

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