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Young, Gifted, and West African

Young, Gifted, and West African

Transnational Migrants Growing Up in America

Chapter:
(p.211) 6 Young, Gifted, and West African
Source:
African & American
Author(s):
Marilyn HalterViolet Showers Johnson
Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814760581.003.0007

This chapter examines the success of young West African immigrants and refugees as well as the 1.5 and second generations in the United States. It begins with an overview of the “student-immigrant” tradition as a key element in the West African narrative of success and goes on to discuss the role of education in the upward mobility and achievement of the adult immigrant generation from West Africa. It then considers the so-called “second generation advantage,” based in part on the newcomers' ability to capitalize on the dexterity of their “in-between” status. It also describes the creative ways that young West Africans blend the different cultural components of their fluid ethnic affiliations especially with regards to music, food, fashion, and festive culture. Finally, it explores how the young newcomers develop social relationships not only with other West Africans but also with members of other minority populations such as those from the Caribbean and Latin America.

Keywords:   student-immigrant tradition, West African immigrants, success, education, upward mobility, achievement, second generation advantage, young West Africans, culture, social relationships

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