Investigation of First and Second Generation Latinos' Experiences of Racialization, Anti-Immigrant Sentiment, and Linguistic Oppression in the United States

Danielle Wiedenbeck Birget, The College of Wooster


The focus of my study is to understand the manner in which racial oppression, linguistic oppression, and anti-immigrant sentiment have affected the identity formation of first and second generation Latinos in the United States. More specifically, I examine Latino immigrants' responses and coping mechanisms in regards to their treatment in United States society. These responses varied and included the loss or preservation of culture and language, the development of bicultural identities, and the concealment of ethnic identity in certain contexts. Through anthropological, sociological, historical, and immigration studies, I was able to analyze previous work on Latino immigrant experiences. The theoretical framework that structures my study discusses and explains interactions of power in U.S. society. My methodology included in-depth interviews with first and second generation Latino immigrant professionals from the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area. I found that while immigrant professionals are shielded from many discriminatory practices due to their status in the upper-middle class, their high levels of education, and their professional employment, these shields are not foolproof. In working towards a more inclusive society, I conclude that the United States must put forth greater effort to include and help Latinos and other minority groups to integrate.


© Copyright 2012 Danielle Wiedenbeck Birget