Parents and other family members are the first influence in maintaining ethnic identity from generation to generation. From birth to three, toddlers become aware of race based on physical attributes like skin color and begin to learn the names and labels of each group although they do not know what they mean. Shirley Samuels (1977) found out from the researches she reviewed, that by age two and a half, children develop a racial consciousness and a sense of ethnic identity.
Identity, an understanding of who we are and who we are not, has been described as “a complex multifaceted process that begins in childhood and continues through life. ” (Gasser, 1999) The foundation therefore of their loyalty to the ethnicity and race is inculcated by the parents and other family members who they interact with. The religions, beliefs, language, morals among others are passed on to generations and the individual’s affinity to the family makes the integration stronger.
An alternative society can be created to maintain the ethnic identity. This alternative society is an epitome of their homeland and is isolated from the dominant community. Living in the alternative society which is usually isolated from the dominant community, means more interaction with the members of the same ethnic group sharing the same culture, language, values, symbols, religion and norms. This is a technique used by other minority groups to separate from the dominant society for a cultural preservation.
(Hartshorn) An example of this is Roma minority community in Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland and Slovakia. (Barnes, 2004) B. School Preschoolers are usually aware of their racial or ethnic group. They will begin to be aware of other ethnic groups or the majority group which they do not belong and tend to compare. In this scenario, the school counselors should be classified accordingly and not misdiagnosed as emotionally disturbed. (Gopaul-McNichol, 1993) Youth, being aggressive, explore the significance of race, culture and ethnicity.
Influence of the media, language, friends, teachers and others will lay options to identify the ethnic preference vis-a-vis the original ethnicity from the family It is therefore the immigrants’ preference and personal satisfaction to preserve their original culture even there is already acculturation of the second culture. First generations tends to begin the acquisition of the majority culture which clash with their parents holding to the original ethnic identity. Courses to pursue sometimes produce arguments as if their ethnicity would allow or not.
In this regard, family plays a vital role in the transmission between generations of their original culture attributed to their strong family ties and dependence. C. Religion Religion can be considered as a factor in maintaining the ethnicity of the immigrants. Indian Hindu immigrants, for example, maintain their ethnicity mainly by preserving their religious values and rituals at home even without active participation in an ethnic congregation. On the other hand, Korean Christian immigrants maintain their ethnicity by participating actively in an ethnic congregation. (three industrial revolutions 2000)