As immigrants come to America they dream of having a better lifestyle. Immigrants that migrate to America come here for many reasons, such as issues with their country’s economy, war, colleges and so on. When immigrants do arrive to America it is troublesome for them to immediately understand everything that is around them as they take their first step in the United States. For immigrants to understand American culture they must assimilate, which means to take in information of a new culture and be one with it, but it can be difficult for many. Arab immigrants are an example of an ethnic group having difficulty with assimilating to the American culture. Arab immigrants face many challenges when they assimilate with American culture.
Arab immigrants face harsh discrimination when they settle in America. Arab discrimination used to be minor and has been around for decades, but dramatically increased after 9/11. When the government investigated the attack it lead to an Islamic group called al-Qaeda that was responsible for the attack. After the information of the terrorist group was released to the public, many became paranoid and suspected that Muslims were associated to terrorist acts. Assault against Muslims became a major issue in 2001. In the article “Explaining the rise in hate crimes against Muslims in the US,” it states that “According to the FBI’s data, hate crimes against Muslims reported to police surged immediately following the terror attacks of 9/11. There were 481 crimes reported against Muslims in 2001, up from 28 the year before” (Brian Levin, 2017). Although discrimination against Arab immigrants decreased from 2002-2013 it increased a second time in 2016. The article “Assaults against Muslims in U.S. surpass 2001 level” states ,“Overall, there were 307 incidents of anti-Muslim hate crimes in 2016, marking a 19% increase from the previous year. This rise in hate crimes builds on an even sharper increase the year before, when the total number of anti-Muslim incidents rose 67%, from 154 in 2014 to 257 in 2015” (Katayoun,2017). Discrimination against Arabs still continues to be an issue to newcomers in America.
Higher and primary education among Arab immigrants is also a challenge when assimilating into America. During the first and second immigration wave, half of Arabic-speaking immigrants that came to America were mostly young men who were illiterate. During the final immigration wave, the population of Arab-Americans were mostly educated, but the educational system of the Arab world has issues that must be fixed. The article “Education in the Arab World” states, “The quality of education is one of the biggest challenges that the Arabs have to face in the present times. It is more difficult to sustain the quality of good education rather than to establish it in the first place. Active efforts are of course being made to maintain a stable quality of education throughout the region. However, many Arab countries have definitely found it difficult to maintain the quality of education” (Hassan Abdel Rehman, 2017). Although the regions in the Arab world have been recognized for having schools and universities compete with other states, they still lack resources for students who wish to make a career or study in other countries and have limited amount of schools for an increasing population. War is also a main reason that interferes with education of the youth. War can affect physical and mental health and destroy schools. According to article “Middle East and North Africa unrest has destroyed young dreams, says Unicef” states, “Nearly 9,000 schools in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya can no longer offer classes, some because they have been damaged or destroyed, others because they are being used to house displaced civilians or have been commandeered by warring parties. With schools sometimes deliberately targeted, thousands of teachers have fled and parents are too scared to send their children to continue their education” (Sam Jones, 2015).
Lastly, Arab immigrants face challenges with income. Arab immigrants come to America to escape from war, economic crisis, and hope to have a better education. Many Arab newcomers are young, lack knowledge of American culture, and are not fluent in English. This means that most immigrants who do not assimilate with American culture will most likely live in a poorer state, but those who do assimilate will live a better lifestyle, especially the third generation of Arabs. According to “Muslim Assimilation: Demographics, Education, Income, and Opinions of Violence”, the article states, “According to Pew’s 2011 survey, Muslim Americans are about as likely to live in a household with an income of $100,000 a year or above as the general public but also more likely to live in a poorer household with $30,000 in income or less. Foreign-born Muslims are both more likely to be in the $100,000 or above category and the bottom category. Income increases with age, thus explaining why Muslims are more likely to be poorer than the general population” (Alex Nowrasteh, 2016).
In conclusion, Arab immigrants have difficulty assimilating with America. Immigrants that come to America must assimilate in order to survive wherever they wish to settle in. Immigrants come to America to escape from crucial lifestyles and for better employment and education. Most Arab immigrants that arrive to America face racism, have lack of higher education, and face poor income as they assimilate.
- Levin, Brian. “Explaining the Rise in Hate Crimes against Muslims in the US.” The Conversation, The Conversation, 19 Sept. 2018, theconversation.com/explaining-the-rise-in-hate-crimes-against-muslims-in-the-us-80304
- Kishi, Katayoun. “Assaults against Muslims in U.S. Surpass 2001 Level.” Pew Research Center, Pew Research Center, 15 Nov. 2017, www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/11/15/assaults-against-muslims-in-u-s-surpass-2001-level/.
- Jones, Sam. “Issues Archive – Page 2 of 3 -.” – Praying That I Could Be Braver than I Believe, Stronger than I Seem and Smarter than I Think., The Guardian , 2 Sept. 2015, 19.01, dekkak.com/issues/page/2/.
- Rehman, Hassan Abdel. “Education in the Arab World.” Carlac, Carlac, 2 May 2017, carlac.net/education-in-the-arab-world.html.
- Nowrasteh, Alex. “Muslim Assimilation: Demographics, Education, Income, and Opinions of Violence.” CATO Institute, CATO Institute , 24 Aug. 2016, www.cato.org/blog/muslim-assimilation-demographic-education-income-opinions-violence.