Article Review

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The Article “Damned Yankees?” by Peter I. Rose is a review-cum reaction paper to Samuel Huntington’s book “Who are We?” According to the author ethnicity in America is being debated for a long time and usually, when sociology experts discuss ethnicity, they usually talk about the roots of the dominant groups. But to Rose, the question about the ethnicity goes back to the earliest settlers who were Puritans, the pilgrims, the Quakers and the poor people settled in the Appalachians.

According to the author, these people may have come from different places and for different reasons but they had one common characteristic—today they are called WASP- white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestants. They are an ethnic group by any definition of the word and they like any other ethnic group whether in the majority or minority stress their differentiating characteristics. Sometimes these challenges and threats are real, sometimes they are perceived and sometimes they are created to improve the group unity and to protect the fundamental culture of the group. Rose then discusses Huntington’s definition of core culture and says that this was the dominant and accepted culture in the US till the late twentieth century. And those who did not fit the WASP paradigm changed themselves by emulating the dominant community so that they could fit into the frame. They changed their names, their accents and their lifestyle so they could become a part of the American society. And this transformation was most successfully carried out by the school teachers. However, some of the dominant society resented this.

The change in this balance came with two major events; the first was the Civil Rights Movement, the call for awareness for ethnic Black minorities. And the Immigration Reform Act of 1965 which ended the quota law of the 1920s. After a period of 40 years new immigrants started coming in however the most alarming thing for the WASPS was that these were not Caucasians, but a mixture of Asians and Mexicans. They went about finding jobs and used existing relations to settle down but unlike Europeans, they were subjected to racism.  To counter this they adopted the African American model and started fighting for their rights.

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