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Challenges That Multicultural Children Face In the United States

Over the recent past, there have been several attempts to integrate the challenges that multicultural families face in the direction of equal openings or opportunities in society, particularly in America. Multicultural families around the world have encountered many opportunities, conflicts, and adjustments at the turn of the twentieth century.

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This essay will therefore discuss the following points regarded as the challenges these families face

  • Alienation
  • Poverty
  • unemployment
  • Discrimination
  • Desired Policies

Introduction

At the turn of the twentieth century, multicultural children were beginning to gain distinctive experiences by adapting to a new way of living in terms of their increased awareness of challenges concerning them such as politics, business, education, human rights, and leadership in America. The main distinctive challenge that was experienced by multicultural children at the turn of the twentieth century was the struggle and construction of new models of gender identity and ethnic characteristics in American schools.

Most of the immigrant children experienced an acceptance of new culture and the society’s norms as a matter of bridging the societal gap in America thus adapting America’s education system. Also, most of the multicultural children learned that they do not have to depend on their families alone to provide for them but instead they slowly accepted the fact that they can be productive in the society thus can cater for further education that they desire (Balderrama and Rodriguez, 35).

Poverty and unemployment among the Multicultural Families in America

When multicultural families moved into the United States, they were not skilled or qualified for white-collar jobs. They did menial jobs for their survival. These jobs included spreading fertilizer in farms in America and also trimming hedges of the farms. They also used to work at construction sites. This is because some of them had some construction skills like masonry. Later on, these immigrants organized their firms which they could contract to their clients. These Italian American immigrants worked very hard and were very honest in most of the work that they were assigned to do. They helped in tomato harvesting and pulling garlic heads.

These multicultural families were restricted by many barriers that hindered them to easily acquire jobs in the United States. There was a language barrier because most employees could not understand the American language. There was much prejudice to jobs that existed in America. These immigrants were also restricted by their levels of education. Some job opportunities existed in the East Bay economy. They included food canning, janitorial services, washing windows, and trading in garments. Many parents for multicultural children worked very hard in food markets and also in restaurants. With time the Italian American immigrants started going to schools and colleges. They gained skills and knowledge in various fields like medicine, nursing, teaching, hospitality, design, and even engineering. After some time, American employers started hiring skilled multicultural people.

Many American employers started scraping off pension plans and also reduced health coverage costs for employees. Employers tried to limit the costs that they incurred so that they could get maximum profits. These employers were supposed to provide good and decent benefits to employees to motivate them but they never bothered. Many Americans started feeling that the immigrants were taking away the jobs that they were supposed to do.

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There were moments when the job opportunities were regionalized. For instance, for somebody to secure a job in an industry such as Oakland Scavenger, he or she had to be from the region of Genoa. The multicultural families faced much discrimination in securing jobs. There were moments when this discrimination was also directed at multicultural children.

Inequalities existed within the ethnic groups in the United States and according to a survey done by the National Survey of Americas Families, it indicates that disparities existed among the ethnic groups under which it was reported that this inequality was practiced were, Americans discriminated against other races thus subjecting them to live in abject poverty (Salili and Hoosain, 87). The National Survey of American Families further showed that the multicultural children faced the threat of poverty in America coming as a result of low incomes earned by their immigrant families thus they could not attend high-class schools and in the process did not perform well in their learning processes.

Although there are the rich and the poor at every scale, within the American communities, cities, countries, and regions it is generally the rich who are said to take the prerogative to solve problems including educational solutions thus they usually come up with unfavorable policies that do not favor the multicultural children in American schools. These problems were always seen to be occurring daily as a result of the non-involvement of the poor multicultural families in decision-making. Most externally propagated alternatives did not provide the kind of solutions that were anticipated. It is argued that the development interventions which sought to deal with a single issue, no matter how well designed, were not able to deal with the reality that human beings including multicultural children have needs that are multi-faceted and interconnected needs, which can be resolved in discrete bits. Although very few resources get allocated to the problems affecting multicultural families. (Magnet, 105)

Alienation

This normally occurs in multicultural children due to the assimilation policies that are imposed in schools which are normally meant to break the conversion of culture and language from an older generation to a younger generation this leads to the alienating of the native children from their society older to younger stimulating the identity crisis within their societies. This alienation can lead to social isolation that might also lead to depression through stress anger and fatigue which normally happen to detract the student from performing in schools. (Mallon, 15)

Discrimination

The case of discrimination has been depicted to have taken a large proportion of the minority members of the society who are classified as underclass for instance the multicultural children. However, some conditions have been developed to reduce this issue of race discrimination for instance the positive action developed by schools and other institutions whereby various people have been engaged in fighting for equality and just in the whole world. Discrimination has a diversified effect on the students which normally differ with the presence of many factors including those of self attitudes and cultural and socio-economic backgrounds these factors target the performance of the students whereby a negative impact is brought that is when a school administration fails to address the needs of its students this may be done when the school administers in formulating its curricula that include the exclusion of minority cultures and languages which proves to lack relevance to the students thus making the students lose interest whereby they fail to attend school and some of them dropping out of schools due to the boredom caused by the school curricula this course may also lead to a low literacy rate among the members of the society.

Desired Policies

If multicultural communities are going to participate centrally in the development processes which affect them in America, there has to be a process of education in an organization and mobilization to prepare them psychologically. So that when they face a problem, they need to understand that problem and then examine all the available options, in the context of their own lives and the larger social environment.

In most cases, lack of motivation leads to, absenteeism, poor performance, lack of involvement in activities, and dropout cases in schools by multicultural children. Most students are said to be undergoing various challenges while at school. Some of these problems may include fear of failure, lack of academic success, social pressures, lack of confidence, misplacement of papers and books, frequent absenteeism, lack of motivation, and quietness while in school due to racial discrimination. Teachers are therefore asked to focus on the multicultural children’s problems culturally, linguistically, and socially and at the same time, they should encourage these multicultural children to choose subjects that are of interest to them.

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These children should also be allowed to choose a unit of their study whereby the teacher can relate the children’s preferences of the subjects by asking those questions on the subjects they like and those they dislike but not based on racial factors. In this case, the serious school instructors should be engaged in educating this category of multicultural children in learning institutions by applying the teaching techniques they have acquired to motivate these multicultural children to achieve their goals in school. From this case, each child irrespective of his/her origin should be involved in every meaningful learning while at school (Chuang, 76).

School safety accountability programs which the schools in America should be created and implemented comprehensively to enhance school safety and therefore should be implemented particularly policies that will favor multicultural children national wide. The school accountability programs need to incorporate various key elements. Some of the principles that form the basis of accountability programs in school safety include; emphasizing the involvement of multicultural children in schools since there is no school safety program that can be successful if it does not involve all students irrespective of their races. Even if the program is well developed and implemented, it will not enhance school success without incorporating all students. Many district schools enhance school safety by giving parents “contract” forms to sign on behalf of the multicultural children’s parents. These forms are supposed to administer and regulate the children’s conduct both academically and also socially. The “contract” forms are created by students together with their parents under the guidance of school teachers and other personnel of the school. To maintain school safety the students including the multicultural children are supposed to report cases of indiscipline to the authorities for the authorities to take action in America. (Cochran, 27)

Safe schools are schools that ensure that they are taking all safety measures by the requirements of the commissioners of schools. To ensure safety in school particularly for multicultural children, the school’s administration needs to build capacity that will support safety. The schools also have to communicate to students clear and direct messages about what is acceptable and what is not acceptable in school, for example, host students assaulting multicultural children. The school authorities are also supposed to emphasize that students should take responsibility in any decision they are making, in making students understand that they are supposed to be responsible as they become more accountable and take safety measures in their decisions. In accountability, it is important also that the students should be taught critical thinking techniques to enable the students to consider carefully their decisions. Though, according to research carried out for this program to be more effective it is important to accord students psychologists together with counselors. When students are well counseled their up becoming conduct such as violent activities against multicultural children reduces and they become more responsible.

Though, schools are safe others are susceptible to violence and racial discrimination. This issue calls for safety measures in schools. In other reports, multicultural students are reported to be bullied by other students. For a school to be safe then it has to implement measures and safety rules that guard against such activities. In the current school safety programs, proven programs should be used to bring about safety in schools that incorporate multicultural children together with parents in instilling the safety measures that are undertaken by the school. The US Education Department has sanctioned funds under the Migrant Education Program (MEP) which takes in the number of migrant students in a school and expenditure per student. Since 1966, a large part of these funds go toward teacher training programs, parent advisory services, tutoring expertise, community-based health services – all so that multicultural students are not deprived of any of the opportunities offered by the American school system. Families can make use of a toll-free hotline that will put parents in touch with programs for multicultural students (Balderrama and Rodriguez, 33).

Apart from the above, there are funds allotted federally to migrants studying in schools or elsewhere. The High School Equivalency Program (HEP) provides funds to colleges, organizations, and universities to help migrant students obtain a General Educational Development Diploma (GED), to develop workplace and study skills. The Migrant Head Start (MHS) category is aimed at preschool and programs for daycare (Chuang, 56). The Migrant Education Even Start (MES) provides migrant families the opportunity to avail school or adult education so that they can break free from the bonds of poverty and illiteracy. There is a fund in place to help migrant students in the first year of college, should they need it.

Conclusion

It is evident that some multicultural families have lived in abject poverty and they have to work extra hard to meet their basic needs. Lack of education and vague policies implemented by the American institutions that do not cater to their educational interests were mostly major contributors to their conditions of living in America.

Reference

Balderrama and Rodriguez: Decade of Betrayal: Mexican Repatriation in the 1930s: Antonk, 2006.

Bartlett: Choice’s Outstanding Academic Titles, 1998-2002: Reviews of Scholarly Titles, Kurgan Publications, 2003.

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Chuang: Asian American Youth Ministry: Allied Publications Council on Foundations, Hispanics and Grant makers: Endowments, United States, 2006.

Cochran: International Handbook of Child Care Policies and Programs; Burns & Fletcher, 2007.

Mallon: Child Welfare for the Twenty-first Century: A Handbook of Practices; Martha Pride, 2005.

Magnet: The Millennial City: A New Urban Paradigm for 21st-Century America; Paramount Publishers Ltd, 2000.

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