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Arab Americans in Southwest Michigan - Research Paper Example

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However, contrary to popular belief, these immigrants did not immediately settle in the area in and around southwest Michigan. These first waves of immigrants were…
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Arab Americans in Southwest Michigan
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Arab Americans in Southwest Michigan

Download file to see previous pages... A unique dynamic of the majority of these first Arab American immigrants was the fact that they were almost invariably single males who, disillusioned with the prospects that their native land could offer them, struck out to find new opportunities in the United States in elsewhere as a means of building their life.1 Rather than settling in the major cities such as Chicago, Detroit, or New York city exclusively, such as so many immigrants before them had done, a large percentage of these young men set out across the Mid-West seeking to earn a living as traveling/itinerant salesmen.2 Although it is of course unfair to categorize an entire population by the actions of a few, it is fair to say that those individuals who engaged in such a line of work found themselves to be quite prosperous; so much so that many of them went back into the cities and opening small stores and shops of their own. It was at this juncture that the idea and actuality of an Arab community within southwestern Michigan began to develop.
Similarly, as the community began to grow and develop, a more nuanced and diverse array of Arab American immigrants began to add their own particular touches to this community. However, such is not to say that the transition that these individuals experienced towards acceptance within the communities they resided was an easy one not marked by hardship, racism, and prejudice. As the numbers of immigrants entering Michigan and elsewhere as a result of what has come to be known as “the Great Migration” increased, so too did the resistance among the native population to their presence. As with many such stories of assimilation and immigration, the native population believed that the influx of immigrants based on the belief that these individuals were antithetical to the “American” way of life and held worldviews, religious beliefs, and key cultural differences that would not blend well with ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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