Growing Up Transnational: Colombian and Dominican Children of Immigrants in New York City

By Débora Upegui-Hernández | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3
Negotiating Self and Identity as a
Child of Immigrants

The first theme to emerge among these two groups of interviewees from Dominican and Colombian immigrant backgrounds was the importance of their experiences as children of immigrants as a decisive and constituting aspect of their process of identity negotiation. Most of the respondents did not see themselves as immigrants. Though perfectly understandable among those born in the United States, even those born in another country who arrived as children felt that the United States embodied the meaning of “home” for them. Many would not consider moving to another country to live because they felt that the United States was their home. However, they were aware that their experiences growing up were marked by the fact that their parents were immigrants. This meant that they were used to participating in a culture at home and switching to a different culture in school or with friends who did not have immigrant parents.

What united respondents born in the United States and abroad, from Colombian or Dominican backgrounds, and made their experiences carry over to other ethnic/racial/national groups with immigrant backgrounds, was the fact that, as children of immigrants, they have had the common the experience of juggling different cultural norms, values, and expectations, that of their parents and the mainstream society they live in. Diana, a Colombian young woman, alluded to these common experiences as she described her relationship

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