Army as a Way to Better Life for Latinos
International migration in the modern world is increasingly characterized not only by large-scale, but also by a strong national and ethnic characteristics, as well as ethnic and cultural differentiation, and as a result, increased inter-cultural, inter-ethnic and inter-racial interaction. Therefore, massive immigration process from Latin America to the United States put the problem of Latinos integration into the US society. Thus, the issue of Latinos integration into the American educational system is of considerable interest for the study being highly relevant today. In this regard, the paper describes the main aspects of the Hispanic community integration into the US education system through serving for the American army and vice versa.
By studying the features of the integration of Latinos into the American education system, it should be noted that US residents of Latin American countries have to overcome various forms of discrimination (e.g. ethnicity, economic and social inequality, discrimination on the basis of belonging to different socio-cultural environment). Because of the low social and economic status immigrants from Latin America have rather limited access to education. Moreover, the educational level of the majority of immigrants, including those legally residing in the United States and non-citizens, is far behind the average level of America. Therefore, departmental instructions, reference and advisory materials are published in English and Spanish in the United States for rapid adaptation and integration of Hispanic Americans.
Thus, the ethnic origin of Latin American immigrants and their descendants causes specific problems of their integration into the educational institutions of the United States. Adaptation and integration of the Hispanic community representatives into the educational institutions of America is associated with many social and economic as well as cultural and psychological difficulties and problems. Therefore, for the modern American society the most pressing issues are the further integration of the Latin American diaspora into the US education system, mastering of the English language and the basics of American culture, overcoming the isolation of Latin American communities through the incorporation (inclusion) of their representatives in the social, cultural and political life of the United States. Hence, the US army is one of the social institutions that attempts to help Latinos to integrate to the American society (Tienda & Mitchell, 2006). As Sergeant Major Velazquez, wishing to be engaged in broadcasting business, noted: “The Army gave me the chance to go to school”. He continued: “It gave me the opportunity to learn the business of broadcasting at a very high level and also, it paid me” (Nolasco, 2012).
Background Information on Latinos Community
Currently, Hispanics are the fastest growing population group in the United States getting nearly 54 million of its representatives (Ferdman, 2014). This is due to the constant influx of immigrants and high birth rate compared to other communities.
Features of Latin American ethnic community are manifested by considering the data on its age distribution. In 1960-1970h most Hispanics were born outside the United States. According to the 2008 major share of the number of Hispanics accounted for the age range of 35-54 years. This trend has continued to the present time. According to the Census Bureau in 2012, the majority (27.1%) of Hispanics are under the age of 35 to 54 years (Census Bureau, 2012). However, the age group of 15-24 years has also significant share - 14%. It must be given a special general review of general Latin American integration into the American society.
Moreover, there is a little increase in incomes of the US Hispanic population – from $31,000 up to $55,000 (Ferdman, 2014). Most revenue accounted for Argentineans ($55,000), while the less for Dominicans and Hondurans ($32,300 and $31,000 respectively) (Ferdman, 2014). Overall, Latinos household is 4 times less than the average white American one. That means that higher education literally is not the same piece of money for Latinos as for the white US population.
Considering the problems of integration it should be noted, that first-generation Latin American immigrants are distinguished by the desire to resist cultural assimilation English-speaking majority. Former immigrants from Latin America try to preserve national identity by speaking mostly Spanish. The presence or absence of migrants psychological problems adjusting to a new location, lifestyle and society, as well as difficulties with the purchase or rent an apartment, obtaining or failure to help relatives and friends - all of these factors also cause the process of successful socio-cultural adaptation of migrants from Latin America in the US society. Thus, many migrant communities from Latin America use a strategy of compact residence as a mechanism of social and cultural adaptation to the new conditions in the United States.
Background of the Military
The US forces have a long history of participation in the nation building. However, the problem of ethnic subculture is of particular importance for the United States. The US Army has athird of its members representing racial-ethnic groups, ideologically close to the peoples of the third world. In the early 90-ies at the time of the Gulf War, the army has successfully passed the compatibility test. However, there is no confidence that in the future it will effectively carry out combat missions. Racial-ethnic composition of the US armed forces is as follows: white Americans - 60%, African Americans – 25%, Latinos – 8% and other – 7 (Whaley & Belhadjali, 2009). This ratio does not reflect the proportional positions of these ethnic groups in American society.
There are a number of problems in staffing the US Army Corps personnel. Tuition fees in American higher education are the highest in the world. There are only three ways not to pay tuition for students: immediately begin to show good results in their studies or work out, or play for school, and, finally, enroll in courses Reserve Officers. In the latter case the state will pay for studying. In return, graduates must serve three years as an officer in the armed forces.
The main social problem Latinos face in army is hazing. Today racial-national and social composition of the armed forces is the concern of the military analysts. Year by year, the US Army is getting more representatives of ethnic minorities and immigrants from poor families. The lion's share of military personnel is from the southern and western states.
Current Possibilities Hispanic Have after Army
Nearly 2% of American soldiers are foreigners, that is, those who are eligible for permanent residence in the United States (Green Card) without being a citizen (Whaley & Belhadjali, 2009). There are more than 37 thousand of such persons in the Armed Forces of the country. Most of them are Hispanic. Apparently, in the near future flow of immigrants into the army should be increased, as the soldiers get the US citizenship in term of three years. That is almost half as compared to the conventional. Americans with special reverence always belonged to the army as one of the stabilizing social institutions. Thus, there is a hope that in the case of Hispanics’ adaptation the army will play a productive role.
Consequently, white Americans occupy the majority in the Armed Forces of the United States among other ethnic groups and races. The number of ethnic minorities is growing rapidly, especially Hispanics, as it is connected with migration processes (increase in the proportion of ethnic minorities in the United States as a whole), and a low standard of living of the population. Poor living conditions such as lack of access to quality education, high-paying jobs, good health care, housing, etc., force them to come to serve in the US armed forces, which is a great social ladder for them.
Military Engagement to STEM Processes
Immigrants from Latin America live in the United States primarily in the so-called disadvantaged areas, where schools, which educate the children of immigrants from Latin America, are in poor districts of the city and the countryside. It should also be noted that the US government has done little to provide educational services to children of illegal immigrants from Latin America. This lack of action has led to the fact that in the state of Texas, whose population is mostly represented by Latin Americans, were organized actions to prevent this trend. It is noteworthy, that the army took an active part in this operation. For example, there was school competition on the theme of robotics organized by the National Hot Rod Association on STEM (ArmyEdSpace, 2014). The soldiers took a direct part in the contest. Significant fact is that members of the military service had such an intimate experience with the students. Those, in turn, were able to observe a harmonious mechanism of relations between the soldiers themselves. Hence, such experiences are very important.
Moreover, there is Hispanic association of colleges & universities (HACU), which aims to help Latinos to overcome any possible issues with education (HACU, 2014). The organization developed and implemented various programs that allow future students get free (or partially free) studying in case those will engage to the military process of the country. HACU intensively cooperate with the US Army and that presents clear, non-dreamy, opportunity for young Hispanics to set up their future.
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The link of scientific and educational factor to army is obvious. As it was mentioned, tuition fees in American higher education are the highest in the world. In return, graduates must serve three years as an officer in the armed forces. As a result, 75% of American officer corps is completed by reservists who choose military service not by vocation, but for selfish reasons. The remaining 25% are representatives of specialized higher military educational institutions, primarily military academy at West Point.
Mostly people, who have not found application in the civil sphere, often poorly educated or those have trouble with the law, get to the army. Typically, more than one third replenishment of the armed forces in recent years is Latinos and others. Relatively low compared to the civilian military salaries seem to them quite sufficient. In addition, military service prestige provides a decent retirement and considerable social benefits, and most importantly - the opportunity to get the US citizenship in a much shorter period of time. Meanwhile, the educational level of the whole country is lowest in Latinos communities.
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