Short Response “Ethnic Options” by Mary Waters

“Ethnic Options” by Mary Waters worth to be recognized valuable sociological research work. In her book, author raises the issue of complex nature of American society. Readers are able to become familiar with extremely interesting analysis, which invites to think about meaning of ethnic identities for immigrants in different generations. This problem is one of the most relevant for American community at all the times, and Mary Waters made the good job to make it understandable for the wide range of general readers. Let’s take the main ideas from read text.
At the beginning, the writer grabs readers’ attention with the significant problems of assimilation, which were met by immigrants from southern and central Europe. As the result, the appearance of ethnic ghettos became predictable consequence of American society forming. Then, Mary Waters outlines the fact of significant changes in treatment, which were experienced by immigrants and their descendants. This “Ethnic miracle” of American society is mostly explained by social mobility of ethnic groups. Also, the cut of Immigration program has also played important role there. The study of this phenomenon became the subject of numerous sociological researches.

Eventually, they gave a great deal about the meaning of such terms as ethnicity, ethnic identity and ethnic groups. However, the author pointed out that the claim about total assimilation of immigrants in third, fourth and later generations is disputable issue still. Discussion around this problem generated two main and opposing to each other camps ”“ “assimilationist” and “pluralist”. Assimilationists argue that economic and political ties, fully reduced the value of ethnic identity recently. Total assimilation is also explained with declining of segregation, increasing intermarriage and active social mobility decreased the meaning of ethnicity, which was replaced by economic and political values. In their turn, pluralists’ perspective determines that ethical identity is still maintained among people affected by assimilation trends. To support this idea, several evidences of self-identification among descendants were noted.

Seemingly, the contribution of Mary Waters’ work to the topic of “Race and Ethnicity of American life” hardly can be overrated. This point is grounded on practical meaning of read work. “Ethnic Options” is serious research, which was provided through in-depth interviews with sixty third and fourth generation white ethnics in suburban California and Pennsylvania, the author discovers a surprisingly resilient sense of ethnicity among people who could reasonably label themselves simply “American” In this order, readers are able to get evidences of pluralists’ theory confirmation, which are based on empirical achievements instead of theoretical discussion just. At second, the contribution of Mary Waters’ work is explained by its ability to make relevant problem of American society widely known. In other words, she lighted out specifics of contemporary American community in pretty understandable way. Moreover, the author did not stand aside from the issue of non-white ethnics, which were determined as optionless in comparison to white ones. Eventually, “Ethnic Option” by Mary Waters can be considered as the comprehensive sociological study, which raised and analyzed the most important issues about American society. It gave us the fresh look at the problem which exists, but had not being noted by millions for long time.

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