“Because I’m Neither Gringa nor Latina”

Débora Upegui-Hernández

in Navigating Multiple Identities

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199732074
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199933457 | DOI:
“Because I’m Neither Gringa nor Latina”

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This chapter explores how Colombian and Dominican children of immigrants living in New York City negotiate multiple identities, selves, cultures, and histories within transnational social fields. Children of immigrants grow up in the midst of multiple cultures and juggle an array of cultural norms, values, and expectations of their parents’ culture and those of mainstream “American” culture, while they maintain transnational ties to the home country of their parents. This chapter is based on a mixed-methods secondary analysis of both qualitative and quantitative data collected on Dominican and Colombian young adult children of immigrants (ages 18 to 32) living in New York City by the Immigrant Second Generation in Metropolitan New York study (ISGMNY) in 1998–2000 (Kasinitz, Mollenkopf, & Waters, 2004). The author argues that children of immigrants navigate multiple identities as a result of their experiences of growing up within transnational social fields shaped by their parents’ home country and the United States. Second, children of immigrants embrace and feel at ease with the complexity and ambiguity inherent in their border-crossing lives. Third, children of immigrants construct and manage their personal and social identities by comparing and contrasting their multiple cultural repertoires without juxtaposing them as oppositional dichotomies. Using a transnational perspective allows us to approach the study of migration and its impact on people’s lives with a lens of continuity and recognizes migration as a family project and as a process of transition and change where migrants maintain connection between their pasts, presents, and futures through subsequent generations.

Keywords: transnational social fields; transnational identity; multiple identities; trans-identities; Colombian; Dominican; children of immigrants; second generation; Nepantla; in-betweenness

Chapter.  13285 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology

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