Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Assimilation Goes Both Ways: Two Different Views

These two articles underline, in very different ways, an important point usually overlooked in discussions of immigration: that while immigrants assimilate to the society they settle in, that society also assimilates to them.—TPOI editor

Stanford sociologist flips assimilation formula in new book
In his new book, sociologist Tomás Jiménez turns the conventional analysis of assimilation on its head and dissects the phenomenon from the perspective of Silicon Valley’s established population.

By Milenko Martinovich, Stanford News
July 31, 2017
The conventional way of studying assimilation is to document the changes immigrants and their children experience when adapting to a new culture.

Stanford sociologist Tomás Jiménez flips the equation in his new book, The Other Side of Assimilation: How Immigrants Are Changing American Life. Focusing on the unique composition and atmosphere of three distinct areas of Silicon Valley, Jiménez analyzes assimilation from the perspectives of the region’s established inhabitants by exploring how their lives have changed due to the presence of immigrants and interactions with them.[…]

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The Meaning of ‘Despacito’ in the Age of Trump

By Moises Velasquez-Manoff, New York Times
August 4, 2017
On Friday, “Despacito,” the hit song by the Puerto Rican artists Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee, became the most watched video on YouTube ever, with nearly three billion views. And it got there faster than any music video in history. Just over two weeks ago Universal Music announced it was also the most streamed song in history, if you combine the number of times people played the original song or video with a remixed version featuring vocals from the Canadian singer Justin Bieber.

The ascendance of “Despacito” is remarkable for a number reasons: Except for Mr. Bieber’s intro, the song is almost entirely in Spanish. (Despacito means “slowly,” and depending on how you interpret the lyrics, the song is about what you’d do slowly to someone you really like.) The rhythmic backbone of the song is reggaeton, a style with roots in Jamaica that developed in Puerto Rico and has long been popular in Latin America but has only occasionally broken through to the English-speaking world. The video is set in a storied Puerto Rican slum called La Perla and features a joyously multiracial cast.[…]

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