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THE 1.5 GENERATION OF THE BOSNIAN DIASPORA BY JENNIFER H. LELAURIN A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Social Sciences New College of Florida in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences Under the sponsorship of Uzi Baram Sarasota, Florida April, 2009
ii A C K N O W L E D G E M E N T S For advice, editing and support during the thesis process, as well as academic guidance for the last three years, I sincerely thank my academic advisor Uzi Bara m. I would not have been able to complete this project without the resources, editing and support provided by my mother, Suzanne LeLaurin. For helping to maintain my sanity and work ethic over the past nine months, I thank Sarah Ann Knotts, Christina Gold stein and the B. I additionally would like to acknowledge Ayn Rynearson and the staff of the International Institute of Metropolitan St. Louis for taking the time to speak with me and assisting in participant recruitment. Finally, I would like to express my enormous gratitude to Basia, Jasmina and Indira for sharing their stories with me and allowing this thesis to come to fruition.
iii T A B L E O F C O N T E N T S Page ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ii TABLE OF CONTENTS iii ABSTRACT iv CHAPTER I: INTRODUCTION 1 CHAPTER II: SCHOLARSHIP ON THE IMMIGRANT EXPERIENCE 5 15 CHAPTER III: THE BOSNIAN WAR 41 30 CHAPTER IV: MIGRATION, SCHOOL AND FAMILY 60 45 CHAPTER V: VALUES, ATTITUDES AND IDENTI TIES 86 CHAPTER VI: SCHOLARSHIP REVISITED 112 CHAPTER VII: CONCLUSION 129 APPENDIX 135 REFERENCES 138
iv THE 1.5 GENERATION OF THE BOSNIAN DIASPORA Jennifer H. LeLaurin New College of Florida, 2009 ABSTRACT Many immigrant and refugee studies address issues related t o the 1 s t and 2 n d generations of immigrants without accounting for individuals who migrate as children, known as the 1.5 generation. This thesis explores the topics of acculturation, identity, ethnic enclaves and family dynamics in relation to the 1.5 gen eration through semi structured interviews with three female 1.5 generation Bosnian refugees living in St. Louis, Missouri. The research presented in this study suggests that members of the 1.5 generation may have acculturation experiences, identity forma tion processes, and outcomes distinct from the 1 s t and 2 n d generations of immigrants. Analysis of this case study, in conjunction with a review of previous scholarship, results in an argument for the inclusion of the 1.5 generation category in future immi gration research as well as social service policy and programs. Signature ________________________ Uzi Baram Social Sciences
1 CHAPTER I: INTRODUCTION Immigration continues to be one of the most hotly debated topics in the United States as large influxes of migrants change the political, economic, social and cultural landscape of America. As immigrants constitute 11.7% of indivi duals living in the United States, the population is highly relevant to a multitude of issues, from what languages are used in schools to what it means to be an American in a plural society (Larsen 2004). Since the turn of the 20 t h century, when mass po pulations of European immigrants entered the US, a large field of immigrant studies has been constructed, producing scholarship from various disciplines such as sociology, anthropology, and psychology. Studies of migrants address several key issues, one o f which is how immigrants adapt to life in a new country and how this process changes conceptions of identity. Another question facing scholars studying immigrant groups is why some groups succeed in achieving the American dream while others struggle to escape poverty. Despite the large amount of material on immigrant issues, most of these studies overlook the key population of immigrant youth. These individuals, broadly defined as the .5 generation are too often grouped with the 1 s t and 2 n d genera tions or simply get lost in the data. For this thesis, I tackle the issue of this generational binary and advocate for the acknowledgement and inclusion of the 1.5 generation both in scholarly work and in practice. I specifically focus on the experiences of three women, Bosnian refugees of the 1.5 generation living in St. Louis, Missouri. The large population of Bosnian
2 refugees in St. Louis provides an opportunity to explore connections with ethnic enclaves and the implications for objective outcomes, s uch as employment and education, as well as subjective processes, such as the formation of new value systems and construction of identities. I took a qualitative approach to investigating the 1.5 generation, performing semi structured interviews with thre e young adult Bosnian women who migrated to the United States as children. While my broader argument focuses on services provided to immigrant youth, my research focuses on refugees. Therefore, this thesis will also address issues specific to refugees, s uch as secondary exposure to trauma and the burden of experience or knowledge of genocide. I use a small sample in order to gain understanding of the 1.5 generation experience without losing sight of the fact that every migrants experience is different. I therefore present the words of Basia, Jasmina and Indira to stress the importance of individual variation within larger social categories. Thus, this thesis uses the voices of these three women to present personal experiences, which I then use to extra polate to the 1.5 immigrant generation in general. I draw from the work of many scholars, including Rubn Rumbaut, a pioneer of 1.5 generation studies, who provides definitions and extensive empirical data on generational differences among immigrants. I c onceptualize links within and between ethnic groups through the use of Benedict Andersons concept of imagined communities, while drawing from the research of Jacqueline Mosselson, who comes from a critical psychology perspective, which offers more specifi c insights into the Bosnian 1.5 generation population. While I use the work of these scholars as a theoretical background and apply their concepts to my data, I choose to let the participants
3 comments guide this thesis in order to present a more individu alized view of the 1.5 generation. I therefore address the topics of migration, education, family dynamics, values, beliefs and personal identities, as these were the most discussed. This is not meant to imply that the words of these women are unmediated as I came to each interview with prepared questions and selected the quotations to present in this thesis; however, I largely let the participants guide the interviews and the participants discussed a majority of topics I sought to address without prompt ing, such as the case of family dynamics. I attempt to present the words of each woman as accurately as possible, while acknowledging my influence on the statements of the participants. Chapter Summaries In the next chapter of this thesis, I will provide a brief history of scholarship related to immigrant assimilation and acculturation, generational differences among immigrants and issues specific to refugees. I will also present scholarship on the 1.5 generation, with a focus on of Bosnian 1.5 generatio n refugees. For my theoretical grounding, I introduce Benedict Andersons (2006) notion of imagined communities as a means to conceptualize the shared experiences of the 1.5 generation in conjunction with Mosselsons multidimensional approach to her study of young adult Bosnian refugees in New York City. To understand the experiences of refugees in the United States, one must first understand the context of their flight. In my third chapter, I will present a brief history of the Bosnian War, outline the process of attaining refugee status and describe the Little Bosnia community in St. Louis. This chapter is intended to provide some context for
4 the shared experiences of Bosnian refugees in St. Louis, which will help frame the discussion of my intervie w data presented in Chapters Four and Five. For Chapter Four, I introduce the three participants and provide selected quotes relating to their migration, school and family experiences, while Chapter Five focuses on the values, attitudes and identities of t he participants. Common themes that arose included the experiences of culture shock, interpretation for parents and ambiguity regarding ethnic and national identities. I chose quotations that I felt best expressed each womans viewpoints and opinions. T he excerpts are direct quotations, however as I asked questions to guide the interviews and selected which comments to include and omit, so each womans words are mediated through my choices in presentation. I bring together the data collected in my inte rviews with my review of relevant scholarship in Chapter Six. Through the application of previous scholarship to the comments acquired in my interviews with Basia, Jasmina and Indira, I identify common experiences shared by my participants as well as many variations on the individual level. The analysis of my data along with the findings of previous research leads me to argue for the incorporation of the 1.5 terminology in immigrant studies and social service practices in order to better understand, and t hus better serve, members of the 1.5 generation.
5 CHAPTER II: SCHOLARSHIP ON THE IMMIGRANT EXPERIENCE The study of immigration and cultural adjustment invariably leads to the subject of identity, a regular feature of psychological and anthropological stu dies. Kathleen Hall (1998) contends identity is derived from the differences individuals identify between themselves and others (cited in Mosselson 2006a: 61). In terms of immigrants, the construction and modification of ethnic identities towards becomin g fully Americanized is a primary scholarly concern. There are numerous definitions offered for ethnic identity, but for this thesis I conceive of ethnicity in terms of membership in imagined communities. Benedict An derson introduced his definition of nationalism as imagined communities in 1983, greatly influencing an array of academic disciplines. While Anderson specifically focuses on the roots and consequences of nationalism, his insights into group identity and solidarity are applicable beyond nat io nal identity to the nature of group identity and interaction. The community is imagined because members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion and a community as regardless of the actual inequality and exploitation that may prevail in each, the nation is always conceived as a deep, horizontal comradeship (Anderson 2006: 7 6). This definition accounts for the numerous episod es of violence, war and genocide stemming in part from individuals willingness to sacrifice themselves for the purported good of the nation.
6 While Anderson goes into further detail defining the imagined political communities of nation states, his basi c conc eption of group solidarity and nationhood is applicable within and across political borders. Nationhood is just one of the many identities individuals can hold, joined by race, ethnicity, religion and geography among others. Therefore, ethnic ident ity can be conceived as an imagined community even if it is not associated with a nation state. Members of an ethnic group can identify with co ethnics they have never met and despite varied differences, can feel kinship and engage in behaviors which dem onstrate and reinforce group solidarity. Extending the concept of imagined communities from nationality to ethnicity, the question of how these imagined communities are created, maintained and altered arises. Frederick Barths influential 1969 work on ethnic identity called attention to the role of boundaries. In his paradigm, influenced by social constructionist thought, Barth argues it is the ethnic boundary that defines the group, not the cultural stuff that it encloses which provides the best me thod for studying identity (15). The boundaries Barth discusses are not fixed lines separating groups, but rather a social construction of fluctuating and negotiable boundaries between two or more defined groups. Barth conceives of ethnic identity as a st atus, based both on external ascription and the performance of identity. He observes that identities often persist despite changes in location, context and group membership, as boundaries exist despite a flow of personnel across them (1968: 9). Inter e thnic contact occurs ac ross borders for necessities such as trade and resources, but ethnic groups are maintained due to a dichotomized understanding of ethnicity, which enforces an us and them attitude to ethnic outsiders.
7 Barth uses the term boundar y maintenance to describe the ongoing process of social interplay that defines, negotiates and shifts the meanings and identifications of ethnic groups. Sanders (2002) describes boundary maintenance as patterns of social interaction that give rise to, a nd subsequently reinforce, in group members self identification and outsiders confirmation of group distinctions (327). Barths focus on social organization, status, social stratification, ethnic hierarchies, political relations and the interchange of material resources shows a strong structural basis which influences his concepti ons of identity and inter group relations. While acknowledging the simplification of this typology, Barth outlines three general forms of ethnic contact: distinct ethnic niches with little resource competition, low interdependence and contact primarily through trade; defined, separate territories with high competition that come into contact primarily through border politics; and finally a reciprocal relationship with different n iches but high interdependence and resource exchange (20). Barth acknowledges that many times inter ethnic relationships do not fit into these templates, but instead fluctuate between them. Barths model provides suggestions for the examination of imagine d ethnic communities, advising scholars to examine boundaries and boundary maintenance in order to understand ethnic groups. I concur with Barth that looking at ethnic boundaries provides insight that may not be attainable when inspecting the cultural st uff in between; however, I do not employ this method rigidly as often the stuff in between can yield useful insights into the cultural norms and practices which influence the construction of ethnic boundaries.
8 So, if ethnicity is an example of imagined communities defined by socially constructed boundaries, what happens when an individual migrates from one nation to the other? How is the construction and maintenance of the new ethnic boundaries influenced by interactions between immigrant and dominant c ultures? Do immigrants hold steadfastly to the imagined community of their country of origin, embrace a new identity, fall somewhere in between or reject such notions all together? While this thesis is not intended to answer any of these questions defini tively, the thesis will explore the interaction of immigrant status, age of entry, country of origin and ethnic identity in the context of the United States in order to pursue a fuller understanding of the nature of refugee communities. Relying on the conc ept of ethnic groups as imagined communities, in this chapter I will provide a brief overview of historical and contemporary literature relating to assimilation and acculturation, generational differences among immigrants, the special case of refugees and finally, the specific case of Bosnian refugee youth. The literature presented in this chapter will present the theoretical background that guides my exploration of the 1.5 generation of Bosnian refugees in St. Louis. Assimilation and Acculturation Schol arship regarding immigration, especially when addressing the large increase in immigration to the United States at the turn of the 20 t h century, is dominated by research and theories relating to assimilation. Park and Burgess (1924:735 as cited in Rumbaut 1997:484) defined assimilation as a process of interpenetration and fusion in which persons and groups acquire the memories, sentiments, and attitudes of other
9 persons and groups, and, by sharing their experience and history, are incorporated with them i n a common cultural life. Stated simply, assimilation is the process of social, political and cultural adjustment which leads to the other becoming one of us. In the context of immigration, this would entail the process of abandoning identification with country of origin in favor of identifying with the destination country; full assimilation occurs when the traditional norms, values and practices familiar to the immigrant are completely replaced by those of the destination country. Thus, full assimi lation in an immigrant would require complete withdrawal from the imagined community of the nation of origin and ethnic enclave in exchange for membership in the imagined community of the destination country. An alternative to assimilation initially propos ed by anthropologists is the concept of acculturation, which Redfield, Linton and Herskovits defined as those phenomena which result when groups of individuals having different cultures come into continuous first hand contact, with subsequent changes in t he original culture patterns of either or both groups (1936: 149). Thus, acculturation differs from assimilation as it accounts not only for changes in the incoming immigrant group but also the dominant culture and society. Acculturation implies an ongo ing interaction between two or more groups, without necessitating an end to the process as assimilation does. Generally, classical immigrant scholarship relies primarily upon conceptions of assimilation, while more recent scholarship moved away from this trend in favor of examining acculturation. While definitions of assimilation and acculturation are by and large agreed upon within immigrant scholarship, theories diverge as to the nature and outcomes of these processes.
10 Early Assimilation Theories I n order to understand the contemporary assimilation models that I will address, I will provide a brief outline of classic assimilation theories. By doing so, I hope to contextualize the development of assimilation and acculturation models I use in this th esis by presenting earlier theories and their critiques. In addition, understanding the progression of scholarship can also give insight into public perceptions of immigrants, as individuals often tend to (or are meant to) trust expert opinions. During the early 20 t h century, the perception that immigrants and children of immigrants in the United States were failing to become fully Americanized drew the attention of scholars to this problem of lagging assimilation. Evidence of immigrant groups maint aining ethnic identities and failing to achieve economic equality with native born Americans fueled these inquiries. Most assimilation theorists before the 1960s viewed retention of the immigrants old culture, such as language retention and ethnic encl aves, to be negative factors in immigrant assimilation (Child 1943, Warner and Srole 1945 as cited in Zhou 1997: 71). Sanders (2002: 331) notes that from the 1920s to 1960s, the general scholarly conclusion was that this lagging assimilation among 2 n d a nd 3 r d generation immigrants was not due to immigrant groups resisting assimilation, but rather that the dominant US society was in part denying immigrant groups entrance into US society. Zhou (1997) and Sanders (2002) report that during this time period the general scholarly consensus was that it took two to three generations for immigrant ethnic groups to achieve full assimilation. Models developed during the first half of the 20 t h century almost exclusively relied on the assumption that assimilation w as a natural, processual phenomenon in
11 which immigrants and their descendants slowly abandoned their old culture and became fully and irreversibly American (Park 1928, Warner and Srole 1945, Wirth  1956 as cited in Zhou 1997). For example, Robert E. Park (1926 as cited in Sanders 2002: 332) developed a model proposing that immigrants and their descendants engaged in a process of initial contact with the dominant society, followed by economic competition, accommodation and ending in full assimilatio n. Warner and Srole argued in 1945 that assimilation was directly linked with upward mobility (Rumbaut 1997: 925). Sanders (2002) brings attention to the historical and political conditions in which this scholarship was conducted. Between the 1920s and 6 0s, the US government instituted an immigration quota system which prevented to a great extent the renewal of ethnic groups (331). Considering the stagnation of immigrant flows into the US, one can see why scholars primarily focused on the idea of laggi ng assimilation in 2 n d and 3 r d generation immigrants, as government policy restricted the replenishing of ethnic groups. While assimilation theories up to the 1960s greatly resembled those of Robert E. Park (1924), the 1960s saw a growing body of litera ture critiquing previous theories and drawing attention to the multi faceted characteristics of immigrant adaptation. Challenges to traditional assimilation theories Sanders identifies several key scholars whose work in the 1960s altered traditional conce ptions of assimilation and acculturation. Gordons 1964 Assimilation to American Life exemplifies the changing approach to said theories. Zhou (1997: 70) notes Gordons approach went much deeper than traditional models which relied upon variables such as time and industrialization to acknowledge different types of
12 assimilation, including cultural, behavioral, structural, civic and identity based aspects of assimilation. Still, Gordon (1969) predicted ethnic minorities would pass through the stages of cul tural assimilation, followed by structural assimilation and intermarriage and ending in identificational assimilation (thinking of oneself as only American instead of hyphenated identities), eventually losing all distinguishing characteristics (Rumbaut 199 7: 926). Sanders (2002: 332) discusses Herbert Gans 1962 study of Italians in Boston, which demonstrated a new way of thinking about ethnic enclaves. Gans argued Italian assimilation was slowed by a lack of economic opportunities that did not relent unt il the post WWII economic boom, during and after which Italians were judged to be more assimilated. Gans further argued that the closed and defensive attitudes of Italians were in fact a cultural form that served as a defense against anti Italian di scrimination, and was therefore an appropriate response even if it slowed assimilation. Another seminal publication identified by Sanders is Glazer and Moynihans 1963 Beyond the Melting Pot Glazer and Moynihans research on five ethnic groups in New Y ork City demonstrated not only that immigrant groups maintained distinct ethnic identities, but that these identities changed over generations and became more removed from the characteristics of the 1 s t generations identities. Sanders additionally notes works by Williams (1964) and Breton (1964), which brought increased attention to the role of the ethnic enclave, demonstrating that strong ethnic community networks corresponded with a slower rate of assimilation than immigrant communities with weaker inte rnal social networks (2002: 333) Sociologist Min Zhou (1997), who focuses her work on immigration and assimilation, attributes the renewed interest in assimilation theories in the 1960s to
13 scholars recognition of several observations that called into ques tion the validity of established assimilation models. Increasing numbers of non European immigrants entering the United States posed a new challenge for theorists; while Zhou does not go into detail on the specific theoretical problems non white immigrant s posed, it can be inferred that a greater number of non whites coming from non Westernized cultures raised new questions. For example, while German immigrants could reach full assimilation and be indistinguishable from the general white population with in a few generations according the theories, even 3 r d or 4 t h generation non white immigrants would still inhabit marked bodies and experience racism and xenophobia. Another contradiction between theory and data identified by Zhou as an impetus for the re examination of assimilation theories was the observance of persisting ethnic identities as well as divergences in educational and economic attainment in immigrant groups. She notes a 1985 study by Charles Hirschman and Luis Falcon showing that 2 n d gener ation immigrants with highly educated parents performed better in school than 4 t h and 5 t h generation descendents of immigrants with little education. Zhou also notes that second generation immigrants can have vastly divergent outcomes; research by Gans (1 992) notes that many children of immigrants, especially those with low socioeconomic status and racial minorities, experience conflict between refusing to settle for occupations and wages their parents earned but not possessing the skills and resources for occupational advancement. Pearlman and Waldinger have coined this phenomenon the second generation revolt which stems from the character of immigration and immigrant families as well as external societal factors, such as racism and economic recessions (1996 as cited in Zhou 1997: 72).
14 Post 1965 Immigrant Assimilation Theories Zhou (1997) and Sanders (2002) demonstrate that contemporary immigrant studies tend to place less emphasis on immigrant assimilation and instead focus on cultural pluralism. Add itionally the notion of acculturation has garnered more attention in recent past. Sanders (2002:335) incorporates Gans (1997) suggestion that the shift towards pluralist theories is a result of changes in researchers and methods. Gans observes earlier r esearch was conducted by out group members who tended to hold assimilationist values, while more recent research is conducted by an increasing proportion of in group scholars who are more influenced by cultural retention values. Gans also notes that early research relied primarily on the study of adult populations and cross generational comparisons. These early studies lend themselves to observing levels of assimilation across generations, while current research often incorporates the experiences of immig rant children along with adults; however, Gans (1997) argues the current models of immigrant adaptation have yet to fully explore cross generational differences. As there is an abundance of detailed assimilation and acculturation models, I will limit my r eview to four theoretical trends in assimilation and acculturation scholarship to provide a general sense of approaches to the discipline. Zhou (1997) focuses on three frameworks pluralism, structuralism and segmented assimilation, which serve as alternat ives to the traditional four step assimilation model of contact, competition, a ccommodation and assimilation. In addition, I will describe the multidimensional approach, which I advocate utilizing for the study of immigrants and refugees.
15 Pluralist Persp ective The pluralist perspective attempts to present a more holistic view of American society than traditional assimilation theories. This approach conceptualizes society as a conglomeration of racial and ethnic groups that constantly interact and moves away from focusing on the dominant culture alone. In practice, the pluralist approach seeks to place the experiences of minority groups at the center of analysis rather than treating them as outsiders in American society (Zhou 1997:72 74). One of the c entral ideas of the pluralist perspective is viewing ethnic identity as an asset, especially in terms of social capital. Instead of seeing ethnicity as a factor that must be overcome in order to achieve success in American society, membership in an ethnic group provides access to social networks, cultural norms, and social expectations and obligations that aid in the adaptation process. The pluralist approach acknowledges individual autonomy and collective identity by recognizing that immigrants make choi ces about their paths of adaptation, be it in how they identify themselves or the degree to which they are immersed in their ethnic community. Kathleen Conzen et al. (1992 as cited in Zhou 1997: 73) provides further insights developed within the pluralist perspective. Taking a historical perspective, Conzen et al. argues against using the culture of an immigrant groups country of origin as a predictor of outcomes in the United States. Their reasoning rests on the observation that immigrants actively and strategically choose which aspects of their culture to carry with them or leave behind in order to best succeed in the US. Additionally, Conzen et al. argue that the cultural traits of the incoming group are not merely absorbed into the
16 dominant US socie ty, but instead an interaction between the two cultures results in changes on both sides. While the pluralist perspective provides a more holistic view of immigration that incorporates individual agency, Zhou notes the framework fails to explain certain p henomena observed in immigrant groups. There is little explanation available within this perspective to describe the factors leading to the second generation decline. In addition, dynamic nature of observable cultural traits makes identifying and study ing these characteristics very difficult. Probably the greatest weakness of the pluralist perspective is it fails to acknowledge that retention of ethnic identity and strong ties to ethnic enclaves do not always positively correlate with desirable outcome s, as in certain contexts this can limit the opportunities of an individual. Zhou (1997) uses the example of high socioeconomic achievement in Asian immigrants in contrast to the low achievement levels of Mexican immigrants as a counterexample to this per spective. She contends the disparity in achievement between Mexican and Asian immigrants is in part because Mexicans have seldom been able to motivate their children in schoolwhile other groups, such as the Asians, have far more often succeeded (74). While Zhous argument could be interpreted as endorsing a racialist view which would attribute the disparities in academic success, I believe her example points to differences in cultural values (but not inherent characteristics) and structural constraints experienced by some groups but not others. Structural Perspective The structural perspective takes a very different approach than the pluralist perspective, emphasizing external social conditions as
17 opposed to the pluralist perspectives focus on eth nic identity. The structural perspective primarily focuses on the systems of social inequality that dictate which groups have access to resources. These resources can be material, such as access to jobs, education and economic capital or non material, su ch as power, social networks and social privilege. Especially important to structural theories addressing immigration is the issue of race and racism as the majority of todays immigrants in the US are non white. Returning to Zhous (1997) example of Mex ican versus Asian immigrant achievement, the structural perspective could attribute the disparities to systems of racial hierarchies, which often label Asians as the model minority while portraying Mexican immigration as an economic threat. These social ly ingrained stereotypes can both restrict and facilitate resource acquisition. The structural approach bases immigrant economic and social outcomes on the stratum of society the individual inhabits. In this sense, the structural perspective can account for the second generation decline phenomenon. While viewing immigration issues through a structuralist lens allows for the differing outcomes seen in immigrant communities, Zhou notes the perspective is largely pessimistic on the both the notion that c omplete assimilation into the middle class is the end stage for immigrants as well as the pluralist idea of accommodation on the part of the dominant society. The structural approach is therefore strong in terms of lining up with empirical data but fails to give enough explicit attention to the roles individual agency and cultural identity play in the immigrant adjustment process.
18 Segmented Assimilation The most recent notable contribution to immigrant adjustment theories is the segmented assimilation framework, initially proposed by Portes and Zhou in 1993. Segmented assimilation proposes that immigrant assimilation can have three outcomes: the traditional method of gradual integration into the middle class, assimilation into the underclass, or the r apid economic advancement of a close knit ethnic community. Portes and Zhou base their theory in analysis of the new second generation of immigrants. The authors contend that traditional assimilation theories, developed in the early 20 t h century, are n o longer applicable as the face of immigration has changed. Since the 1965 Immigration Act, the racial makeup of immigrant groups has shifted from European to primarily non whites. Additionally, starting in the 1960s the industrial labor market began to shrink, creating an hourglass labor market which has reduced opportunities for upward mobility. The three major vulnerability factors identified by Portes and Zhou are racial discrimination, concentration of minority groups in inner cities, and the hour glass US labor market. While racial discrimination is now outlawed in the United States, de facto racism continues to affect access to resources such as employment and housing. Race and racism have been shown to have effects on childrens identity, aspi rations and academic performance (Fernandez Kelly and Curran 2001; Lopez and Stanton Salazar 2001 as cited in Zhou et al. 2005: 1006). In 2003, the US Bureau of the Census reported that 40% of immigrant families live in the inner city (cited in Portes et al. 2005: 1010). As physical location affects the social networks, job opportunities and quality of education, living in the inner city can lead to a so called downward assimilation
19 culminating in unfavorable outcomes such as dropping out of school, dru g use, violence and crime. Segmented assimilation theory takes into account structural factors while incorporating positive aspects of ethnicity (evidenced by the third outcome of rapid upward mobility by strong ethnic communities) and, to a lesser extent, attempting to include individual agency among other factors. Portes and Zhous theory displays strong roots in traditional assimilation models through its goal oriented and processual characteristics. Multidimensional Perspective A multidimensional mo dels of acculturation provides a more holistic and open ended view of the acculturation process. Yeh and Hwang (2000) argue the goal of uni linear stage models as a holistic, cohesive and consistent sense of ones ethnic background (422) implies that et hnic identity will become a fixed, static outcome of identity development, ignoring the dynamic nature of ethnic identity. The models critiqued by Yeh and Hwang (2000) assume moving through the stages of acculturation is desirable by both the individual a nd larger society, overlooking the possibility that progressing uni linearly through these stages may not correspond with individual desires and needs. Suzanne LeLaurin, a senior vice president of a St. Louis refugee and immigrant services agency, explains the multidimensional approach recognizes the acculturation process as multifaceted and bilinear process, and makes room for the possibility that true assimilation may never occur (personal communication March 17, 2009). Yeh and Hwang (2000), whose theo ry is grounded in interdependence, contend that instead of
20 developing a cohesive ethnic identity, the goal per se of acculturation should be the ability to navigate successfully through multiple cultural contexts. Zea et al. (2003:109) identify behavior cultural identification, language, values and knowledge as common factors. Race and racism additionally play a strong role in acculturation for people of color. New US arrivals face the task of learning what race means in America; some may have never encountered a person of a different race or experienced racial discrimination, while others may come from societies with vastly different racial dynamics and hierarchies (Potocky Tripodi 2002). Even with understanding of the US racial system, immigrants o f color face many of the same barriers American born people of color. Immigrant status may compound experiences of racism in some cases and lessen them in others. Either way, immigrants of color receive poorer outcomes in comparison to their white counte rparts; however, there is high variability among national origin and ethnic identity within racial and ethnic groups. Oropesa and Landale (1997) note that while white immigrants have lower poverty rates than Asians, non Latino blacks and Latinos, if categ ories are broken down beyond racial or pan ethnic labels strong differences can be seen. Among Asian immigrants, Japanese and Korean immigrants have relatively favorable outcomes, while Vietnamese and Hmong fare considerably worse. A multidimensional app roach would allow for the investigation of factors other than race and economic status, perhaps examining levels of pre migration education, marginalization in the country of origin and differences in culture. Returning once again to Zhous (1997) discussi on of Asian and Mexican immigrants, a multidimensional approach can incorporate factors addressed by
21 structuralist theory as well as the role of differing cultural values and attitudes toward institutionalized education. Racial and ethnic identities also change with time in the US; studies performed by Portes and Rumbaut (2001:28) suggest a trend in the 2 n d generation immigrants use of racial categories, opposed to nationality, to identify themselves. The authors further note that change in racial and et hnic identities can result from conditions in the destination country as well as country of origin. Rumbaut (1994:1197 1198) provides the example of the anti immigrant Proposition 187 in California. While levels of the participants self identification b y national origin were very similar in 1992 and 2002, data collected in 1995 (the year after the proposition was introduced) demonstrated an increase in identification by national origin, especially among Mexicans and Filipinos. Although no causal relatio nship can be established from the data collected, Rumbaut suggests the rise in national origin identification could be due to a reactive ethnicity used to buffer against increasing discrimination, an explanation that is compatible with the multidimension al perspective as it considers political events, social norms, public perception, individual autonomy and psychological processes as possible variables. For this thesis, I use the foundations of the multidimensional approach in order to highlight the multi ple external and internal variables which affect the processes of acculturation and ethnic identity formation. This model integrates the pluralist conception of society and emphasis on autonomy within structural constraints, recognizing the interaction be tween internal and external factors. I also incorporate Gibsons (1988) conception of accommodation without assimilation, which argues individuals actively select aspects of both immigrant and dominant cultures to suit their needs and desires. The multid imensional model additionally fits well with Barths
22 concept of ethnic boundaries, as it addresses the numerous ways in which individuals and groups define and negotiate the distinction and boundaries between immigrant communities and the dominant culture. I believe this approach is most useful for my purposes as it allows for a pluralist conception of US society and accounts for interaction of subjective, individual choices about ethic identity and objective structural conditions. The Generation In B etw een Scholarship relating to immigration typically examines the 1 s t and 2 n d generations of immigrants as a comparative measure for assimilation indicators and outcomes such as educational attainment and economic status. In theory, the 1 s t generation co nsists of individuals who migrated to the destination country, with the 2 n d generation identified as, in the case of the US, American born children of the 1 s t generation. This binary becomes problematic when addressing the issue of children immigrants. I n practice, there is a lack of consistency in these generational definitions; while some authors abide by country of origin data to make generational comparisons, others assign child immigrants under a certain age to the 2 n d generation (Zhou 1997; Dinh and Nguyen 2006; Aparicio 2007). These definitional inconsistencies call into question the applicability of research and theory regarding the 1 s t and 2 n d generation of immigrants in relationship to those who migrated as children, and thus fall somewhere in b etween. Contested Definitions Scholarly attention to the in between generation is relatively recent in immigrant studies. Rubn Rumbaut drew attention to the subject when he coined the
23 term 1.5 generation in the 1 970s to refer to immigrants who migrat ed before puberty. Later, this Rumbaut broke down this category even more, creating a .75 category of individuals who migrated between the ages of 0 and 5 and a .25 category of those who came between the ages of 13 and 17 to join the .5ers who mi grated between ages of 6 and 12 (Rumbaut 1997: 950). Although the onset of puberty varies between individuals, and especially between genders, the age of 12 was selected as the endpoint of the 1.5 generation. In addition to the drastic development change s that come a long with puberty, people lost much of their capacity to acquire new languages (Lennenberg 1967; Laponce 1987; Bialystok and Hakurta 199 4 as cited in Rumbaut 1997:950). As language barriers are some of the most pressing problems of resettleme nt, the age of an individual upon arrival in a new country plays a strong role in speed of the adaptation process. The definition of the 1.5 generation varies greatly in academic research. In general, immigration studies have sometimes lumped individual s defined as .5ers by Rumbauts work into the 1 s t generation by relying on census data and country of birth data, while other research has deemed children who immigrated before 12 (sometimes 10) years of age as 2 n d generation because the formative years of adolescence are spent in the host country. Demographic data gets particularly difficult to analyze when an individual has parents from different countries. Usually this problem is resolved by defining the 2 n d generation as anyone with at least one fo reign born parent or basing the generational status on the nationality of the mother. Oropesa and Landale (1997: 432) propose that in such cases, an either/or system should be used. Though less common, some authors have based criteria for the 1.5 gener ation on the basis of cultural construction; Kyeyoung Parks (1999) work with the 1.5 generation of Korean Americans
24 in Los Angeles studies relies on the communitys conception of the 1.5 generation, or ilchom ose, so an individual could be a member of the 1.5 generation based on their self conception, regardless of their nation of birth. Oropesa and Landales analysis of the new second generation demographics argues that the lack of operational consistency has im p eded the accumulation of basic informat ion about the 2 n d generation (1997: 430). Although there is a growing trend to use Rumbauts definition of the 1.5 generation, this is relatively recent and thus has not produced a large body of statistically significant data. For this thesis, I follow Rumbauts generational breakdowns and characterize my participants, who arrived in the US between the ages of 9 and 12, as members of the 1.5 generation. While I categorize my participants under the 1.5 generation label, it is essential to note that the p articipants in my study did not necessarily identify as a .5er as none of the women were familiar with the terminology until engaging in the interview or viewing the recruitment materials created for the study. Characteristics of the 1.5 Generation Lan guage Acquisition The majority of demographic data on the 1.5 generation that is available comes from the Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Study (CILS), which gathered information from over 5,000 teenagers on the east and west coasts of the US, half w ho had come to the US before the age of 12 and half who had been born on US soil to at least one parent of foreign nationality. The longitudinal study has thus far completed three waves of data collection, beginning in 1992 and continuing in 1995 and 2002 (Rumbaut 2004: 1162 1163). The ability to understand and speak English is one of the first and most important skills for new Americans in terms of cultural adjustment, but
25 Rumbaut notes language is also a symbolic marker of national identity and solidari ty (1994:1192). In terms of language skills, the CILS provides the opportunity to break down the studied population into 1.0, 1.25, 1.5, 1.75 and 2.0 cohorts. Rumbaut finds that the generational cohorts unsurprisingly show that the earlier one enters the United States, the higher the chance that person will posses English proficiency Retention of the mother tongue produces similar results in reverse, with the ability to speak the foreign language declining as the generational cohorts increase (Rumbaut 2 004: 1194). Academic Performance and Educational Attainment The 1.5 generation of immigrant and refugees consistently demonstrates higher academic performance and overall educational attainment than the general population. While young immigrant s and ref ugee s are often underestimated by their teachers, they routinely overcome obstacles of language barriers, misjudgments by teachers and school administration and navigating a new school system (Mosselson 2006b: 37). Rumbaut (2004), using crime as a measur e of immigrant outcomes, concludes that outcomes worsen with each generational cohort even though socioeconomic status increases and levels of cultural adaptation are assumed to be higher. Very few empirical studies of immigrant generational differences br eak down the 1 s t generation into 1.0, 1.25, 1.5 and 1.75 cohorts. Studies that do separate the decimal generations yield surprising results. Boyds study of immigrant educational attainment in Canada shows that, usi ng the broad definition of the 1.5 ge neration as those who immigrated as a minor, the 1.5 generation has more years of schooling and higher rates of high school graduation than 3 r d generation Canadians. However, when the 1.5 generation cohort is broken up into those who immigrated under the age of 15 and those who
26 immigrated between 15 and 18 years of age, the results reveal the .25 generation of individuals who immigrated later in life to be at higher risk for dropping out of high school and completing less years of schooling than the ind ividuals who migrated to Canada under the age of 15 (Boyd 2002: 1053). Rumbaut (2004: 1191) concurs, noting that the 1.25 generation performs the same or worse than the 1 s t generation in terms of educational achievement and occupation, prompting him to ar gue that the 1.25 generation appears to be the most vulnerable, indicating a comparatively more problematic adaptation. As there has been relatively little research performed explicitly on the 1.5 generation and almost none on the issues of the 1.25, there is a large gap in literature that needs to be filled in order to understand and explain the significant differences between the 1.5 generation and those who migrate just a few years later in life. While this thesis will not fill this gap in the lite rature, hopefully greater understanding and attention to the experiences and outcomes of the 1.5 generation will lead to more detailed examinations of the diversity of this category. Cultural Brokers In addition to academic achievement, playing the rol e of a cultural broker is a common characteristic of the 1.5 generation. Cultural brokerage involves assisting others in navigating through new cultures and societies. One of the most common forms of cultural brokerage is children serving as interpreters for their family in order to communicate as well as to understand bills, documents and other paperwork; sometimes even family members who can speak and understand English will prefer their child to speak for them to avoid frustration associated with comm un icating with an accent. Additionally, language is not the only barrier in communication; even if an individual has mastered a language, the challenges of making sense of idioms,
27 deciphering social cues, and cultural practices still remain. While immigr ant social service agencies strongly advise immigrant families not to rely o n their children for interpretation children are almost always the first family members to learn and become proficient in English and families will therefore rely on the children for practical reasons (Suzanne LeLaurin, personal communication 28 October, 2008 ). The role of cultural brokers that immigrant youth often take on can lead to personal problems and family conflicts. Fantino and Cook (2001) note that playing the role of the cultural broker while adjusting to a new culture and society can put excess stress on children who do not give themselves permission to grieve because of their responsibilities. Another primary problem identified by Potocky Tripodi (2002) is role reve rsal in which children lose respect for the authority of their parents due to serving as a cultural broker and taking on adult problems and activities at an early age. Potocky Tripodi ( 2 002:324) add s that this concept of role reversal can also be extended to emotional support. Parents, especially refugees, often feel overwhelmed by daily life and turn to their children for emotional support, further compounding the role reversal present in immigrant and refugee families. Caught in Betw een Rumbaut bel ieves the 1.5 generation [characterizes] children who straddle the old and the new worlds, but are truly a part of neither (as quoted in Zhou 1997: 65). This notion of being part of two worlds but belonging to neither consistently arises in interviews a nd other studies of the 1.5 and 2 n d generations, however it is important to note these feelings, while prevalent, can by no means describe the experiences and feelings of all .5ers. Some .5ers may feel strong connections
28 to their country of origins, while others may feel completely detached from the old traditions and consider themselves fully American. While most individuals fall somewhere between these two extremes, and vacillate in between them over their life, others may hold a hybrid identity and still others resist labeling themselves completely. In Korean American communities, the term ilchom ose describes the 1.5 generation; Park traces the term to the Japanese Hawaiian communitys description of the knee high generation (1999: 140). Par k references Shu mei Shih in describing the ilchom ose as neither Korean, American, nor Korean American, while at the same time all three (1995 as cited in Park 1999: 142). As the ilchom ose is a defined identity recognized by the community, it ca n be expected that the Korean Americans Park interviewed have most likely considered their identity and role in the community in more explicit terms than ethnic groups with no in group designation for the 1.5 generation. Nevertheless, Parks interviews re veal the conflicts and complexity of being a .5er. Bong Hwan Kim, a member of the Los Angeles Korean American 1.5 generation, believes the 1.5 generation understands both the first generation perspective yet have access to the mainstream culture and it s institutionthe second generation arerelatively disassociated from immigrant KA and community based institutions. It is the 1.5 generation that I believe represents the most promise for effective leadership (q uoted in Park 1999: 140 141) Kim represen ts a portion of the Korean American community which sees the ilchom ose as bridge builders between the Korean community and American society, culture and politics, playing a strong role as community advocates and leaders.
29 Parks data provides personal explanations of changing notions of identity and ethnicity that have been seen in empirical data. Jenny, although born in the US, feels culturally 1.5 and reports: I have gone through several identity crises. I havent necessarily come up with a conclusi on, a n d its definitely a struggle to juggle two culturesIn childhood, I practiced more of my American identity, whereas in college (UCLA), it was my Korean identity. I really feel that I am both and you can be both. Thats part of being American. We are a melting pot of different cultures and people (quoted in Park 1999: 148 49) Jennys quote demonstrates how notions and performance of identity can change not only as a form of reactive ethnicity to external forces as noted by Rumbaut (2004: 1191) but a lso as a result of the individuals own development. While some of the ilchom ose see their generation as a positive force in the bridge building process, this is not true across the board. Some have a more apathetic view of their identity label; a 25 year old ma le who came to the US at age 7 states : These days I identify myself more and more as an i ndividual, avoiding identifying with this or that community. Before it was sort of a Korean thing, now more of an international thingfocusing too much on ethnicity often leads to a narrow, warped conception of the worldI dont struggle with my identityI think too many Korean American spend too much time and personal energy struggling with identity (quoted in Park 1999:152) This individual demonstrates ho w individual identities are fluid over time, and how this sometimes re sults in a move away from struggling with ethnic identities in favor of developing a holistic, personal identity. The Special Case of Refugees
30 Distinguishing Refugees from Immigrants Although many empirical studies fail to do so, distinguishing among different types of immigrants is essential in order to understand the variations in the immigrant experience. For this thesis, I focus on the position of refugees in American society. T he context and character of immigration varies immensely from case to case and many immigrants engage in forced migration due to a lack of economic opportunities. H owever this term overlooks the distinctive experiences of refugees. The experience of l iving through war and in this case study of Bosnian refugees, genocide dramatically shapes the lives of refugees and their outcomes in the US. Jacqueline Mosselson (2006 a ) acknowledges that immigrants and refugees both face the challenges of learning a n ew language and adjusting to a new culture, but argues against the immigrant umbrella label by bringing up several distinguishi ng factors of the refugee experience. While immigrants usually have some measure of control over their migration, refugees are often forced to leave their homes on short notice. Paralleling this issue is the measure of control migrants have over their destination locations, which Miller et al. terms the valence of movement (2002 b : 346). Mosselson explains that while immigrant s migrate to a location, refugees are in flight from a location Most of the time, refugees have limited or no choices in destination countries. Finally, while immigrants can entert ain the possibility of visiting or returning to their country of origin, refugees often become stateless citizens after governmental collapse, leaving a much slighter chance for a return home (Mosselson 2006 b : 20) even if desired or affordable
31 Public Perception of Refugees The term refugee often carries str ong connotati ons, many of them negative. It is not uncommon to hear reference or see footage of waves of refugees from some distant country on t he nightly news. Malkki (1997a, 1997b as cited in Binder and To i 2005: 611) suggests the negative connotations associated with refugees come from uneasiness about the idea of a stateless and uprooted people resulting from a moral breakdown of society. T his breakdown can evoke suspicion of the loyalty of the sta teless individuals while also raising fundamental questions about issues such as morality, governance and faith in society. While Malkkis hypothesis may prove true in certain contexts, it should be emphasized that the perception of and reaction to refug ee groups varies in terms of country of origin, political factors and the state of the economy, among others. To demonstrate the variability in host country reception, Miller et al. (2003) provides the example of the reception of Cuban versus Guatemalan r efugees as an example of the political nature of refugee reception. Additionally, he discusses the difference in perceptions between Bosnian Muslim innocent refugees and Iranian fundamentalists to display the variances in public perception of refugees Miller et al.s discussion emphasizes that the public perception of specific refugee groups is highly contingent upon social and political forces influencing public opinion. Binder and To i (2005 ) further caution against the connotations associated with the term refugee. When examined through a political lens, refugees have historically been identified as the problem rather than the actual conditions that created refugees. Binder and To i argue the term refugee in the eyes of non refugees can often obscure the other meaningful aspects of a persons identity. This pushes the refugee into the
32 passive roles of the aid receiver, victim or some other manifestation of societal pr oblems. Most importantly, this creates a vision of the refugee as the other in society (611) Jacqueline Mosselson (2006a) finds that many individuals avoid using the term refugee to describe themselves, indicative of negative or embarrassing feelin gs. Unfortunately, this can reduce opportunities for support and services to the refugee. For example, teachers and other school staff may not even know one of their students is a refugee because of the childs reluctance to identify as such due to socia l stigma. The connotation of the term refugee builds stereotypes that many refugees do not conform to, resulting in misunderstandings and tension. Mosselson (2006a) found that many of her participants experienced interactions in which others could not reconcile their knowledge of the refugee as a person with their expectations of the poor and downtrodden refugee stere otype. Mosselson presents a comment from Nata # a, a young adult Bosnian refugee in her study, who described her foster family as [having these ] images because in the news you always saw these women with scarves who didnt have teethwell they expected me to be this poor, poor thingI was too sophisticated for them (29). Nata # a s comments exemplify not only how refugees must cope with such expectations but also how individuals in the host culture must reconcile their perceptions of refugees after persona l encounters. Mental Health Issues The experience of living through war, fleeing their homes and resettling in a foreign country with new social norms and cultural values all take their toll on the mental
33 health of refugees. The refugee experience is un ique for each individual; intuitively, it follows that the reactions to war, genocide and forced migration differ among individuals. While these experiences and results vary among individuals, refugees are often placed into broad diagnostic categories. W hile I do not refute the utility of the DSM IV, as it provides psychiatrists and psychologists with tools for diagnoses and treatment of refugees, I stress the importance of acknowledging individuality within these diagnostic typologies. In addition, Lewi s Fernandez and Diaz (2002) argue the DSM IV is largely based on Western (i.e. American) cultural constructs and its applicability to different cultural groups needs more development. Pernice and Brook (1996) outline the progression of theories relating to immigrant and refugee mental health. In 1945, degard proposed the social selection theory, arguing that mental health problems were the result of individual predisposition, ignoring external factors. Eitinger took the opposite view in 1959 when he arg ued that mental health problems resulted from external stimuli alone. The multivariate model introduced by Goldlust and Richmond in 1974 synthesized the opposing positions, emphasizing pre immigration conditions, demographic attributes and post immigratio n conditions, with post immigration factors gaining increased attention in the 1980s (Pernice and Brook 1996: 511 512). Not only is the context of migration different for refugees and immigrants, but also the experiences in destination countries. In Mill er et al.s research with Bosnian refugees in Chicago, the most common mental health problems were post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depressive disorders and symptoms of anxiety and somatic disorders ; children often reported the same types of problems but with a much greater variance
34 (2002 a: 341). Miller et al. (2002b : 378 379) found pre migration exposures to violence were closely linked to PTSD while post migration stressors had stronger links to depressive symptoms. The trauma experienced by an i ndividual can affect the entire family unit. Aside from problems with interpersonal interaction that often stems from PTSD, the symptoms of trauma can be transferred to others in what is known as secondary trauma stress vicarious trauma, or compassion fa tigue. Figley first described this phenomenon in 1983, defining secondary trauma stress (STS) as emotional duress experienced by persons having close contact with a trauma survivorespecially family members (quoted in Jenkins and Baird 2002: 424). Symp toms of STS mirror those of PTSD: re experiencing the primary persons traumatic experience, avoiding reminders of trauma or becoming numb to reminders, and persistent arousal (Figley 1995a as cited in Jenkins and Baird 2002: 424). Stressors of Ex ile The violence, destruction and other hardships refugees endured in their country of origin are not the only factors shaping their experience in their destination countries. Through interviews with Bosnian refugees in Chicago, Miller et al. (2002a) provides a n arrative study of the psychological stressors of exile encountered in resettlement. The study identified many sources of distress occurring post migration, including social isolation and loss of community, the loss of life projects such as a home or b usiness, lack of environmental mastery, loss of social roles, a lack of sufficient income and health problems not previously experienced in Bosnia.
35 Mi ller et al. (2002a: 342) identifies what Eisenbruch termed cultural bereavement syndrome in 1988, a term used to describe crises of meaning, faith and id entity induced by migration. Social isolation was a common complaint, with many participants contrasting the frequent social visits to friends and family in Bosnia to their lives in Chicago where they had fewer social contacts. Miller et al. observed that coming from an intact nuclear family seemed to buffer against feelings of isolation, and individuals often referred to family as the main source of support. Correspondingly participants reported separa tion from family as the hardest part of living in the US (345 346). Th e loss of life projects was discussed more often by the older participants, with the younger individuals expressing more optimism for their lives in the US. Again, family served as a mi tigating factor when participants had children or grandchildren with them, leading Miller et al. to conclude that children became their parents or grandparents new life projects, sources of motivation for surviving and continuing to confront the challen ges of life in exile (2002 a : 346). While environmental mastery can lead to feelings of empowerment, the lack thereof was associated with feelings of dependency on others for help in translation and transportation. Many individuals attempted ESL classes but became frustrated and quit. New health problems consisted of ailments such as insomnia, hypertension, nervousness, headaches and stomachaches; however the participants tended not to differentiate between physical and emotional problems (345 347). Thi s may be linked to social norms in Bosnia, where seeing a therapist or seek ing other psychiatric help can result in social stigma. Family
36 The experience of living through war compounded by the stressors of adjusting to a new society and culture can pu t considerable strain on refugee families. Children often emerge as an integral player in the family both practically as a cultural broker but also as an emotional center. According to Binder and To i often, children are seen as the only sense in thei r parents life, a fact that can be stressful for them. Children often try to fulfill their parents expectations. Failure makes them feel guilty and powerless (2005: 620.) 1.5 Generation Refugees Refugee Youth Jen Couchs ( 2007 ) work with refugee youth in Australia advocates for increased youth participation in refugee communities and social service programs Couch argues against the common perception of refugee youth as an at risk category instead of viewing young refugees as capable and autonomous actors (40). According to Couch, many of the established refugee assistance programs not only lack flexibility and cultural competence, but also omit specialized youth programs and services. Couch observes that the practice of youth participation ofte n consists only of consultation, leaving youths out of the decision making process (2007: 38). In terms of educational performance, refugee youth are often high achievers. Zhou (1997: 73) notes that in the early 1980s and mid 1990s the top 10 winners of t he prestigious Westinghouse Science Talent Search have been dominated by 1.5 or 2 n d generation immigr ants, many of whom are recent US arrivals Studies have shown r efugee youth outperform immigrant youth in terms of academic performance (Surez
37 Orozco 198 9; Loescher 1993; Kaprielian Churchill and Churchill 1994; Jones and Rutter 1998 as cited in Mosselson 2006a:35). Mosselson (2006a) suggests that this disparity in academic achie vement is due to the value placed on education by both refugee adults and you th. She found female Bosnian refugees valued education as a transportable skill in the event of further migration; as one of Mosselsons participants described, you can go anywhere with a good education (164) While many studies have shown that overal l, refugees perform above average in terms of scholastic achievement, compared to both immigrant and native born Americans (Mosselson 2006a), this is a trend that does not apply to all refugee populations. The Hmong, Somali and Cambodian refugee populatio ns are examples of groups that do not conform to the high scholastic achievement found in other refugee populations (Suzanne LeLaurin, personal communication 24 March, 2009). The variability of academic achievement among refugee populations can be explain ed by a variety of factors, including amount of time spent in refugee camps and resulting hiatus of education, cultural values, racial discrimination and previous academic experiences (Suzanne LeLaurin, personal communication 16 March, 2009). In addition to variation among specific refugee groups, a striking difference in academic achievement appears in the 1.25 generation; while individuals who migrate before puberty (age 12) perform above average, those who immigrate in their late teens fare significant ly worse than their younger cohort. Demographic studies have shown that individuals who migrate between the ages of 15 and 18 do not perform as well in school and are more likely to drop out of high school among other n egative life outcomes (Boyd 2002: 1053; Rumbaut 2004: 1191).
38 Despite the high educational achievement of many young refugees, Mosselson (2006a, 2007) warns against tying educational success with overall well being. She builds on Gillgan et al.s 1990 concept of masks of achievement, w hich proposes that high academic success can be a mechanism for hiding depression and other problems. Mosselson exte nds this argument and applies to refugee youth, arguing that high academic success can be a mask for depression, post traumatic stress diso rder and adjustment problems. Additionally, Mosselson posits that engagement in school could also serve as a channel for young refugees to connect with thei r teachers and peers. She suggest s that education can give an individual a feeling of control, som ething often lacking in refugee s lives. Also, becoming a high achiever can change an individuals identity at school from foreigner or the other to straight A student (26). The discrepancies in academic achievement across cultural and generational lines provide support for the inclusion of culture and age of entry factors to the study of refugees and immigrants in order to more fully understand the refugee experience. The Bosnian 1.5 Generation Mosselson (2006a) seeks to work against the tradition al, sequential paradigms of identity development and assimilation which have end goals of identity resolution or fully assimilated. Mosselson stresses that alternative frameworks need to address cultural factors and identity factors while avoiding the goal oriented and sequential approaches. She relies upon Sarups 1996 definition of identity as a tool of mediate between the external and internal, and individual and the group (2006: 45). Using
39 Sarups definition as her anchor, Mosselson develops a fr amework which incorporates temporal, social and cultural aspects of identity. Through her study of Bosnian refugee youth in New York City, Mosselson (2006a, 2006b) develops a framework of root s and routes ( which contends that the identity development of refugees is best understood by the individuals attitude toward both their country of origin (roots) and their destination country (routes). She uses Ogbus (1978 ) cultural model and theory of oppositio nal identity with Gibsons (1988 ) concept of accommod ation without assimilation as the theoretical basis of her paradigm. Mosselson argues that th e identities of refugees center around the balance between understanding oneself in terms of past experiences and what was left behind in Bosnia and their opport unities, hopes and desires for their future. Mosselson, while advocating for a departure for fixed typologies, develops her own paradigm of root/route couplets to broadly categorize the experiences and attitudes of her participants. As Mosselson developed her framework for explicit application to her own study, which differs from my research in relation to the age, age of arrival, location and family circumstance of the participants, I do not seek to apply her categorization to my research. Instead, I us e her notion that attitudes towards Bosnia and the Bosnian ethnic enclave can reveal insight to the 1.5 generation experience and identity formation. This will help guide my discussion and description of the identities of the participants in my study. C onclusion
40 In this chapter I have presented a variety of quantitative and qualitative findings that range from broad immigrant assimilation and acculturation theories to the specific concerns surrounding the 1.5 Bosnian refugee generation in America. The l iterature provided demonstrates the variety of experiences and outcomes associated with immigrants, refugees and the 1.5 generation. The general lack of definition and differentiation among scholarship in these categories holds implications for how immigr ant and refugee service providers, social workers and educators approach different types of immigrants. In order to avoid the generalizations common in immigrant literature, in Chapter Three I provide historical context for the focus of my study, then use I the scholarship presented in this chapter to guide my interviews with three 1.5 generation female Bosnian refugees, presented in Chapters 4 and 5.
41 CHAPTER III: THE BOSNIAN WAR Refugees share the characteristic of fleeing their country for fear of persecution, violence or death, but the context of this flight can vary greatly. Examining the context of flight can help further the understanding of refugee acculturation. In the case of Bosnian refugees, the conflict in the former Yugoslavia during th e early 1990s produced huge waves of individuals seeking asylum from ethnic cleansing, setting the stage for some refugees to enter the United States. While no two refugee experiences are the same, surviving genocide and navigating legal channels to becom e a certified refugee can provide insight into the psychological, emotional and social experiences of young refugees in the United States. In this chapter, I will present a brief history of the Bosnian war, overview the process of obtaining refugee status and describe the Bosnian refugee community in St. Louis, Missouri. It is all too easy to explain the violence that plagued the former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s as an inevitable result of age old ethnic conflicts coming to a head in a pluralistic socie ty. While this explanation is appealing in its simplicity, it ignores the long tradition of ethnic co existence and complex power sharing among Serbs, Croats and Bosnian Muslims (referred to as Bosniaks in this chapter), which suddenly shattered in the ea rly 1990s. While some authors, such as Robert Kaplan (1994), view ethnic tensions as inherent to the Balkans and the cause of the Bosnian War, it is more useful to understand ethnicity as a tool used by individuals in power to incite fear and violence in an ultimate quest to acquire territory. Noel Malcolm (1996) and Robert Donia and John
42 Fine (1994) take the latter approach and provide a detailed historical overview of Yugoslavian history and the Bosnian War. A Brief History of Yugoslavia World War Tw o World War Two was a period of great turbulence and political uncertainty in Yugoslavia. Noel Malcolm (1996) identifies at least four conflicts that occurred in Yugoslavia during WWII in addition to the primary war between Allied and Axis nations. Axis troops occupied Yugoslavia often targeting Serbs; some Serbs saw the acquiescence of their Croatian and Bosniak neighbors as justification for attacking them. Additionally, Croatian extremists targeted Serbs in Croatia and Bosnia in what Malcolm describe s as a war of aggression on one side and sometimes indiscriminate retaliation on the other (1996:174). Axis occupation created two resistance movements, the Communist Partisans led by Josip Broz Tito and Cetnik Royalists led by Draza Mihailovic. Tensio ns between these two resistance movements eventually resulted in the outbreak of civil war amidst the backdrop of ethnic extremist movements and WWII. Malcolm estimates that of the one million Yugoslavs that died during WWII, most were killed by other Yug oslavs. Titos Reign At the end of WWII Josip Tito emerged as the leader of Yugoslavia. In 1948, Yugoslavia was expelled from Stalins Cominform and became dependant on Western loans and diplomatic support. In order to justify the apparent contradictio n of a communist state receiving Western funds, Tito became a founding member of the non
43 aligned movement (1996:196). Despite the expulsion from the Cominform, Titos Communist reformation of Yugoslavia followed typical Stalinist policies, such as campa igns against organized religion that resulted in the destruction of many churches and mosques. The initial policy of the new Yugoslav government was to force Muslims to choose between Serb and Croat nationalities, reflecting the Communist Partys anti reli gious stance. Malcolm (1996) uses the Yugoslavian census data across several decades to demonstrate Muslim resistance to being forced into choosing a nationality. In 1948, Muslims could choose between identifying as a Muslim Serb, Muslim Croat or Muslim s, nationally undeclared. The census response made clear that Muslims would not accept simply choosing a new identity: 72,000 identified as Serbs, 25,000 as Croats and 778,000 registered as undeclared. In 1953, the census completely removed the Muslim category and, in an effort to promote Yugoslavism over other national or religious allegiances, created the category of Yugoslav, nationally undeclared which 891,800 Bosnians chose. The 1961 census included the category of Muslim, in the ethnic sense and by 1971 this was changed to Muslim, in the sense of a nation (1996:197 99). Malcolm also notes that the Serb and Croat identities were not created until the late 19 t h and early 20 t h centuries, well after the Islamicization of Bosnia instituted under Ottoman rule in the 15 t h to 19 t h centuries. These distinctions were made based on religion, with the descendants of Hungarian or German Catholics identifying as Serbs and descendants of Orthodox Romanians as Croats (1996:200). By 1990, 43% of Bosn ians identified as Muslims, 31% as Serbs and 17% as Croats (Helsinki Watch 1992 as cited in Mosselson 2006).
44 Setting the Stage for War Economic Instability Economic instability in Bosnia Herzegovina began before Titos death in 1980 but reached crisis level by the early 1990s. The Bosnian economy primarily relied on heavy industry and suffered amid a shrinking market and increased competition; although the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo brought some economic reprieve and a glimmer of hope, the economy did n ot recover and triple digit inflation, rising foreign and domestic debt and widespread corruption placed an increasing amount of pressure on the Bosnian government (Donia and Fine 1994:195). Donia and Fine (1994:198), as well as Malcolm (1996:209), use th e example of Agrokomerc, an agricultural production and distribution company, to illustrate the extent of political corruption and economic instability in Bosnia. In 1987, a warehouse fire investigation led to the discovery of illegal financial practices. The investigation revealed that Agrokomerc had based its enterprise on $875 million of unsecured promissory notes from the Bank of Bihac; this unsecured debt led to the closing of the bank and 50,000 workers losing their paychecks that were tied to the b ank. The scandal then reached the Yugoslavian government, where over 200 party members in Bosnia and Croatia were revealed to be complicit in the illegal activities (Donia and Fine 1994:196 98). The Agrokomerc case is just one example of the widespread c orruption in Bosnian politics and the resulting economic turmoil that weakened the Bosnian state, leaving it vulnerable to outside forces. Political Instability
45 In accordance with the 1974 constitution, after Titos death in 1980 the Presidency rotated each year among the eight remaining Presidency members; this system prevented any one individual from gaining too much power, thus keeping the interests of Yugoslavia as a whole above any nationalistic ambitions of individual republics (Donia and Fine 19 94:202). The decentralized nature of the Yugoslavian government allowed republics of Yugoslavia to wield more power than the central government; in addition, every republic except for Bosnia became associated with a particular national identity. Donia an d Fine (1994) and Malcolm (1996) argue that the consistent prosecutions of individuals espousing radical nationalistic ideologies demonstrate the Bosnian governments efforts to curb nationalist tendencies and promote a secular state. Malcolm uses the exa mple of the League of Communists of Yugoslavias (LCY) prosecution of 13 Islamic extremists advocating for a Bosnian Muslim state to illustrate the governments commitment to a multi ethnic society. He contends that such prosecutions were used as a strate gic means to assert Bosnias commitment to power sharing in response to growing nationalist movements in Serbia (1996:209). Despite these efforts to promote plurality and tolerance, these nationalist movements surrounding Bosnia would eventually push the all of Yugoslavia into civil war. Slobodan Milosevic, now referred to as the Butcher of the Balkans, seized control of the Serbian government and media in 1987. In the summer of the next year, Milosevic supporters staged a massive 100,000 person protest in the Serbian city of Novi Sad, which eventually resulted in the resignation of all non Milosevic supporting government leaders and the placing of pro Milosevic individuals in their seats. In 1989, the republic changed its constitution and claimed Vojvo dina and Kosovo as Serbian
46 territory (Donia and Fine 1994:204 205). The Serbian governments increasingly independent and nationalist actions worked to de legitimize the Yugoslavian power sharing governance system. Like other Eastern European states in the late 1980s, voices within the LCY, specifically those with the greatest Western influence such as Slovenes, called for a move away from communism and toward a market based economic approach. Donia and Fine (1994:207) note that this conflict resulted in the Fourteenth Extraordinary Party Congress, dubbed extraordinary in expectation of a huge government restructuring, in early 1990. The conference dissolved amidst infighting, with the Slovenes eventually calling a boycott of the congress and the LCY adjourning only hours later. This was the last LCY congress; the party no longer held control over the republics of Yugoslavia and only functioned at local levels for the next few months, leaving new governments in control. Donia and Fine (1994:222) iden tify the Yugoslav Peoples Army as the last vestige of Yugoslavias multi ethnic power sharing heritage. The YPA, with leaders from each main ethnic party, had maintained its traditional role as defenders of all Yugoslavs until the dissolution of the fede ral government. Troubles within the YPA began as leading officials took differing political stances: some desperately worked to preserve the Yugoslav ideal of national unity above ethnic or religious difference, while others provided nationalist Serbs out side of Serbias borders with weaponry. Despite internal disagreements, the YPA increasingly became an agent of the Serbian republic and concentrated forces in regions where Serbs were a minority.
47 From spring to December of 1990, multiparty elections were held in each of the Yugoslavian republics, with nationalist candidates winning the majority of seats in each republic. The mounting economic and political turmoil, combined with increasingly nationalist rhetoric from all sides, instilled fear among those constituting ethnic minorities in all republics. On the other hand, Donia and Fine state the majority of positions on the Bosnian Assembly were held by Serbian, Croatian and Muslim parties which agreed to share power, including a rotating one year preside ncy term (1994:210). The Bosnian commitment to preserving multi party rule stood in contrast to Slobodan Milosevics Serbia and Franjo Tudjmans Croatia, which were both considering Bosnia Herzegovina as a potential territorial acquisition. In March of 1 991, Tudjman and Milosevic met secretly and agreed to conquer Bosnia and divide the territory between Serbia and Croatia (1994:213). Outbreak of V iolence War in Croatia After Tudjmans election victory, Donia and Fine (1994:227) note many Serbians were fired from Croatian businesses and the nationalist government increasingly alienated Croatian Serbs. The 1990 1992 war focused on the region of Krajina, where resident Serbs voted to separate from Croatia and join Serbia. The war between the Serbs (backe d by the YPA) and Croats resulted in the destruction of ancient cities such as Dubrovnik, the displacement of hundreds of thousands and the deaths of thousands. In the first days of 1992, UN negotiators were able to broker a cease fire among Serbia, Croat ia and the YPA. Donia and Fine contend that the war raging in Croatia had a direct
48 effect on Bosnia, with the Muslim and Croat parties forming an alliance seeking autonomy for Bosnia and the Serbian party opposing it. On December 21, 1991, just days befo re the cease fire in Croatia, Bosnian Serbs declared independence (1994:230). Yet quiet within Bosnias borders was maintained until March 1, 1992, when it came time to vote on a referendum asserting independence for Bosnia Herzegovina. V iolence Spread s to Bosnia Donia and Fine (1994:238 39) mark the independence referendum as the beginning of violence in Bosnia. Radovan Karadzic, leader of the Bosnian Serbs, instructed Serbs not to vote in the referendum. Leaflets dropped over Bosnia from YPA planes also encouraged Serbs not to vote and these strategies were successful; only a small number of Serbs voted and 99% of voters supported the referendum for independence. The first shots of the Bosnian War were fired on the day of the referendum, and on Marc h 27 t h Bosnian Serbs announced their own constitution while YPA attacked Bosnia from the south, west and northwest. On April 26, the European Community recognized Bosnian independence while Serbian snipers fired on peace demonstrators in Sarajevo; by that time more than 1,300 Bosnians had died. The YPA held a huge military advantage in the war it had over 90,000 troops in Bosnia and forty fighter planes along with hundreds of tanks. The Bosnian army was poorly prepared due in part to the UN arms embargo e nacted in September 1991; while Serbia and Croatias borders and coastline enabled the illegal importation of arms, Bosnia was land locked and stationed at the center of the former Yugoslavia, providing little opportunity to acquire munitions.
49 Tactics and Genocide While the Bosnian army and its supporters desperately tried to preserve Bosnian territory and defend major cities, Serbia and Croatia aimed to annex different sections of the country. Serbian forces aimed to acquire eastern Bosnia where a mi x of Bosniaks and Serbs resided, the primarily Serbian northwestern region, and a northern region connecting the two. Croatia aimed to seize the western portion of Herzegovina and the city of Mostar, famous for its 16 t h century bridge (240). The Mostar bridge is just one example of needless destruction of historical landmarks, symbolic of the co existence ended by the war. Mertus et al. (1997) provide individual testimonials from Bosnian and Croatian refugees, giving a personalized, on the ground accoun t of the war that serves to complement the broader, more objective historical narrative. One of Mertus et al.s informants, Vinka Ljubimir, a refugee from the medieval port city of Dubrovnik in Croatia hoped the historical importance of her city would sav e it: We wanted to believe that the citys beauty was going to save it. We could not imagine that in Europe, again, for the third time in the twentieth century, bombs were going to fall on civilians, that there were going to be massacres, that rape was go ing to be employed on a large scale for territorial gains. Although we saw all the warning signs, we tried to live as if the situation would not deteriorate that far. But it did. (quoted in Mertus et al. 1997:47) Many Bosnians shared Vinkas hope that t he war would not reach them; due to optimism or denial, they hoped to maintain their peaceful, diverse cities and towns. One individual stated that we watched it on television, but we never thought it could happen to us (quoted in Mertus et al. 1997:21) These hopes were quickly dashed as the out gunned
50 Bosnian resistance was conquered easily within a few weeks and the YPA seized control of much of the country and laid siege to Sarajevo (Donia and Fine 1994:241). Bosnian Serbs, and Serbs living outs ide Bosnias borders, were recruited and trained by the YPA; Donia and Fine (1994:241) argue this tactic allowed the YPA to prevent military casualties and escape much of the official blame for war crimes committed. The authors note that Serbian and Croat ian propaganda depicted the Bosnian army and government as promoting a hard line Islamic state (245). This served to fuel ethnic tensions and demonstrates the primary role nationalist governments played in inciting genocide among peoples who had previousl y maintained a peaceful coexistence. These tactics worked, as one woman from Lika, Croatia described hearing that mothers were throwing babies into the arms of UN soldiers on the road. They thought it would be the only chance for their children to survi ve (quoted in Mertus et al. 1997:67). While incidents such as these may or may not have actually happened, stories such as these instilled enough fear in civilians for them to flee their homes, demonstrating the success of terror campaigns aimed at forci ng specific groups out of their communities. Bosniaks were routinely killed or displaced; if this was not achieved quickly enough the army lay siege to towns and blocking off supplies. This tactic was used in large cities such as Sarajevo, which had been declared but not enforced as a safe zone by the UN Security Council. While often women and children were allowed to leave, men were either murdered and buried in mass graves or sent to concentration camps. A middle aged Bosniak man from Prijedor describe d his experience in a concentration camp. He discusses an incident when he asked permission to wash his face, and soldiers took him and told me to lick the floor of this washroom for 20,000 people which was
51 dirty with urine and sewage. They broke my rib s. I vomited for one month. I vomited blood. He later described further inhumane treatment by guards: Sometimes they put us in a 4x4 meter room 700 people. They told us to lie down and they closed the windows and doors. It was summer. We lay like sa rdines in a can. Those on top were in the best position. Every morning some on the bottom were dead. Every morning a guard came with a list and called peoples names. Those they brought out never came back. (quoted in Weine 1999:35). This man, along w ith 173 others, was lined up behind a building while ten soldiers fired machine guns at them. Only he and two others survived. Despite orders from the Presidents of Bosnia and rump Yugoslavia to desist, the YPA remained controlled by Serbian interests an d resisted, revealing to all the real interests of the YPA. Over 100 generals were viewed as unreliable and forced into retirement in the purge of YPA leaders (Donia and Fine 1994:244). Bosniaks had no choice but to flee their homes and reach either the Croatian or Serbian border; only three weeks after the EC recognized Bosnia as an independent state, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees estimated there were 370,000 Bosnian refugees. By fall of 1992, two million Bosnians held refugee status almost half the countrys population (Donia and Fine 1994:245). Serbs either seized or destroyed Muslim homes as a tactic to force Muslims out and prevent their return. One refugee recalled such an incident, saying I shook the hand of my neighbor when I left. We had grown up together. I think he took my house. (quoted in Mertus et al. 1997:21). During the Bosnian War incidents such as these were not uncommon; neighbors, in some cases life long friends, attacked Bosniaks and stole or destroyed their property. T one Bringa (1995), a social anthropologist, points out that this violence against neighbors has lasting effects for refugees. The peaceful co existence that disintegrated so quickly into neighbors
52 attacking neighbors can result in a distrust of others tha t lasts well beyond the duration of a war, perhaps impairing refugees ability or desire to trust and interact with others after resettlement. Systematic rape was used as tactic of terror, especially against Bosniaks. Stories from refugees tell of houses where women and girls were kept and raped repeatedly; military commanders often encouraged their troops to take part in systematic rape in order to instill fear and push out Muslim populations (Mertus et al 1997:45 47). A 38 year old woman from Teslic, B osnia Herzegovina, describes her ordeal: A man came up to my front door with a mask over his face. He took me by the hand and dragged me outside the houseI fought back but he stripped my clothes off. He took me to the back of the house and started to ki ss me, saying, You are a woman, you must give yourself to me. I didnt know yet who he was, I thought he was one of the postmen, but when I took the mask off his face and recognized him as a neighbor, I felt even worseSo often he had sat at our place, drank coffee with us. He had even worked for me. He raped me. I told nobodynot even my husband. I am afraid of blood revenge. That must not happen. My son saw it, but he also keeps quiet. (quoted in Mertus et al. 1997:29 30) Sadly, this womans exp erience is shared with thousands of Bosnian women. As the war escalated, neighbors and life long friends turned against one another. Nationalist rhetoric and campaigns of terror and genocide instilled enough fear and mania Thousands of refugees, mainly Bosniaks, traveled to the eastern city of Srebrenica. Serbian troops set up road blockades and shelled the city, preventing humanitarian aid from entering the city, sometimes for as long as eleven months. Although Srebrenica was declared, but again not e nforced, as a safety zone for refugees where troops were supposed to withdraw and allow aid convoys to enter. Although supplies enter, people could not exit. Eventually, Serbian troops forced an estimated
53 50,000 individuals out of the city while thousa nds of men were murdered and buried in mass graves, under the eyes of UN troops (Mertus et al 1997:98). Resolution of Conflict The last major armed conflict of the Bosnian War was the spring 1995 shelling of the northeastern Bosnian city of Tuzla, a UN safe zone. In December, Bosnian president Alija Izetbegovic, Croatias Franjo Tudjman and Serbias Slobodan Milosevic agreed to the Dayton Peace Accord in Paris, dividing Bosnia between a Serbian republic in the east and a Muslim Croat region bordering Croatia. 60,000 NATO troops enforced the treaty, but thousands of refugees did not returned home (Mertus et al 2007:166). While the Bosnian War is generally seen as an act of genocide perpetrated by Serbian nationalists, it is important to acknowledge that individuals on all sides of the war engaged in genocide and ethnic cleansing. Institutions such as Amnesty International and the International Court of Justice have officially deemed Serbia as the initial instigator in the conflict and, in 2006, Slob odan Milosevic died while on trial for war crimes (Donia and Fine 1994:246). Most international observers acknowledge that the Serbs were the main perpetrators of ethnic cleansing and Bosniaks were the main victims, but all sides engaged in ethnic cleansi ng against each other. Surprisingly, a large number of Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats remained committed to plurality and tolerance even after experiencing grave atrocities often at the hands of life long neighbors. The level of commitment among refugees t o the former Yugoslav ideal of national unity over religious and ethnic differences is at times astounding considering the atrocities committed by all sides. A 58 year old Muslim woman from Bijeljina, Bosnia
54 Herzegovina, sitting in a hotel room outside of Budapest declared We all lost our country, as she invited Serbian visitors to sit and cry over their shared loss, even as Serbs held her family captive back in Bijeljina (Mertus et al. 2007:41). Nizima, a 38 year old Muslim from the Bosnian town of Jan ja living in Vienna, stated in the spring of 1995 that even today in the midst of war the Bosnian passport bears the symbol of three peoples living together. And we have a Bosnian passport, not a Muslim one (34). The symbolism of the Bosnian passport, and Nizimas prioritizing her Bosnian identity over her Muslim identity, shows again how individuals can maintain hope and faith in humanity amidst such brutality. A poignant description of the possibilities of reconciliation comes from Fikerta, from a sm all town named Mali Zvornik in Bosnia Herzegovina. Living in Budapest in June of 1995, Fikerta describes moments of unity among Serbs and Bosniaks: On the Hungarian border where there is a camp for Bosnian refugees, there are two cafes, one visited by Ser bs, one by Bosnians. When they get drunk, since the places are very close to each other, they sing in the dark together and laugh and crythat really touches me deeply (quoted in Mertus et al. 1997:125) The refugee testimonials collected by Mertus et al. show the deep commitment felt by many Bosnians, regardless of ethnicity or religion, to tolerance and forgiveness. This dedication to ethnic plurality and view of Bosnia as a multi ethnic state, despite the atrocities committed by some, demonstrates the resiliency and compassion of Bosnian and Croatian refugees. Becoming a Refugee: V oyages to America The 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees defines a refugee as an individual who, owing to a well founded fear of being persecuted for reas ons of race,
55 religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country. In ord er to gain official status as a refugee, individuals must prove to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees that they were forced out of their national borders due to fear of persecution. If individuals are fleeing conflict or persecution but are within their nations borders, they are designated as Internally Displaced Persons and not designated as refugees. Those who have applied for refugee status but have not received a decision are termed asylum seekers. When mass refugee movements occu r as a result of war and refugee processing systems are overloaded, individuals who are regarded as obvious refugees can receive prima facie status and bypass proving that they were persecuted. In the case of the Bosnian conflict, prima facie status w as awarded to individuals in mixed marriages or children of mixed marriages, as well as detention camp survivors (Suzanne LeLaurin, personal communication, October 28, 2008). Individuals convicted of war crimes, terrorism or who were active fighters in ar med conflicts are not eligible for refugee status, but former soldiers or fighters are qualified for consideration (UNHCR 2007). Refugees may be repatriated (the preferred option) if conditions in their home country are stabilized, settle in the country i n which they are seeking asylum, or resettled to a third country. Third country resettlement is the option of last resort and the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants World Survey (2008) estimates only 1% of refugees worldwide are resettled in a third country. Third country resettlement in the United States requires refugees to travel through additional bureaucratic channels. Suzanne LeLaurin (personal communication October
56 28, 2008) explains that refugees must be referred to the US Department of St ate by the UNHCR and must apply for resettlement in the US. If a refugee is accepted by the US government, they are matched with one of ten authorized refugee resettlement agencies, which then match the refugee to a non profit resettlement organization. The non profit organization must provide a letter of assurance, promising that the agency will provide the refugee with basic services. The refugee must pass a medical and security screening and sign a promissory note assuring they will repay the Internat ional Office of Migration for flight and other travel expenses. After crossing the Bosnian border, refugees from the war in Yugoslavia had to travel to European countries to find asylum. LeLaurin (personal contact October 10, 2008) relates the story of t wo female Bosniak refugees to provide an example of the journeys from Bosnia to Germany, and finally from Germany to the United States. In order to gain entry to Germany, refugees had to have a sponsor; in one of the cases the sponsor was a distant family member while in the other a family volunteered to sponsor refugees. Eventually, Germany started warning refugees they could not all stay in the country, so the refugees started applying for asylum in other countries. One of the women applied for asylum in the US, New Zealand, Canada and Australia, deciding to move to whichever country accepted her first. When the women were finally approved for US refugee status they went to Frankfurt for a medical screening and signed promissory notes for flight costs. Both women had family already in the US, so once their US family members filed Affidavits of Relationship the women were allowed to settle in the cities where their relatives resided. The two women eventually settled in St.
57 Louis, Missouri, one of the p rimary US destination cities for refugees of the Bosnian War. Bosnian Refugees in St. Louis The Bosnian refugees who came to St. Louis in the mid 1990s have been overall largely successful due to numerous factors. Aside from government resettlement promo tions, St. Louis in the mid 1990s offered a strong job market, affordable housing and low cost of living, important factors as a great deal of the Bosnian refugees lost all or most of their possessions as a result of the war. The Bosnian community was fur ther expanded as more refugees relocated to St. Louis to join family members, seek economic opportunities and be close to a Bosnian community (Suzanne LeLaurin personal communication March 27 2009). After 1995, Bosnians quickly became the largest refugee group in St. Louis. In 2001, the International Institute of Metropolitan St. Louis, a non profit refugee and immigrant service provider, released data indicating refugees composed approximately 10% of St. Louis Citys population (OConnor 2001). The most recent figures from the International Institute (2009) estimate approximately 50,000 refugees from the former Yugoslavia in St. Louis City and County, the majority of whom are Bosniaks. Other estimates reach as high as 65,000 and close to 15% of the St. L ouis City population (Matsuo 2005). Bosnians by far represent the largest refugee community in St. Louis; the International Institute (2009) reports that of the nearly 75,000 refugees in St. Louis City and County, Bosnians represent two thirds. The three other largest refugee groups in the metropolitan area are the 8,600 Vietnamese, 3,550 Iraqis (Arabs and Kurds)
58 and 2,800 Ethiopians. Matsuo (2005:110) additionally reports the Bosnian/Serbo Croatian is the one of the most spoken non English languages in t he area, second only to Spanish. Signs of Bosnian acculturation are prevalent in the Little Bosnia area of South St. Louis City. At the heart of Little Bosnia is the Bevo Mill on Gravois Avenue, a popular St. Louis landmark and restaurant that closed in 2009. Bosnian restaurants, cafs and bakeries are prevalent, as well as other Bosnian owned businesses. Signs of the Bosnian communitys influence on St. Louis, aside from food and cuisine, are prominent within just a few blocks of the Bevo Mill are off ices for a local Bosnian newspaper, insurance agency, travel agency and chamber of commerce. Almost every Shop n Save, a local grocery chain, sells Bosnian food; the amount of products in the Bosnian section is comparable, if not larger, than the Hispani c and Asian offerings (see Appendix). The large influx of refugees is often credited with the economic revitalization of the Little Bosnia area. Suzanne LeLaurin (personal communication March 27 2009) relates the story of Southern Commercial Bank near Bev o Mill, which was facing closure until Bosnian refugees arrived and invested their money. As the bank recovered with the help of the new customer base, it hired Bosnian employees and became primary source of home and business loans for Bosnian residents. Southern Commercial Bank serves as a good example of the mutually beneficial relationship of the Bosnian enclave and South St. Louis City, which has provided Bosnian refugees with economic, social and cultural opportunities that helped to revitalize and s trengthen local businesses and neighborhoods.
59 The Bosnian community in St. Louis has been largely successful by refugee standards. Aside from the favorable economic conditions that facilitated the acculturation and adaptation of Bosnians in the city, oth er factors are at play as well. Variables easing Bosnians transition to American society include the experience of living in an industrialized society, literacy, standardized education in Yugoslavia, similar job opportunities, certain shared cultural tra its, and race (Suzanne LeLaurin, personal communication March 27, 2009). As most Bosnian refugees in St. Louis are Caucasian, they did not face the racial discrimination experienced by immigrants and refugees of color. While anti Islamic sentiments in th e United States were high after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Bosniaks were most likely buffered against a certain degree of discrimination because of their skin color. While the fact that Bosnians are not Arab may have protected against some bigotry, anti Bosnian and anti Muslim attitudes are present. In 2008, Madina Masjid, a Bosnian mosque, began construction of a minaret in South St. Louis. Some residents responded by sending hate mail and making threats of vandalism, resulting in a call for an FBI investigation (Townsend 2008). While Bosnians are one of the most successful refugee groups in St. Louis, xenophobia and anti Islamic sentiments still remain. In this chapter I have presented overviews of the Bosnian War, the process of obtai ning refugee status, and the Bosnian refugee community in St. Louis. I supply this information to provide context for my data and promote a fuller understanding of my participants backgrounds. For this thesis, I interviewed three 1.5 generation Yugoslav ian women living in St. Louis, whose comments will be presented in Chapters Four and Five.
60 CHAPTER IV : MIGRATION, SCHOOL AND FAMILY EXPERIENCES In Chapter Two, I relied on scholarship from the fields of anthropology, sociology and psychology o n assimilation to demonstrate the range of experiences and characteristics of immigrants, refugees and the 1.5 generation, which prompts my own research of the Bosnian 1.5 generation in St. Louis. In Chapter Three, I provided contextual information about the circumstances leading to the creation of one group of refugees in the US survivors of the war in the Former Yugoslavia during the 1990s and gave a brief history and description of the Bosnian ethnic enclave in St. Louis, Missouri. In this chapter, I e mploy qualitative methods to provide an in depth examination of the experiences, attitudes and values of three young women from the Bosnian 1.5 generation. I first detail the Institution Review Board (IRB) process and methodology I employed for my study and provide background information on my participants, then present some of my initial findings regarding the participants migration, school and family experiences. First, I provide excerpts from the womens discussions of their migration memories and ea rly settlement in the United States, including their reactions to US culture. In the section addressing school experiences, the women comment on differences between education in Yugoslavia and America, their academic performance, attitudes toward school a nd interactions with peers. In the final section, I present the
61 participants statements about family dynamics, including their relationships with parents and roles as cultural brokers. IRB Process I began the research process intending to interview you ng adult members of the 1.5 generation through the use of semi structured interviews. As this involves using human subjects, I fulfilled the requirements for an Institutional Review Board application to ensure my study was ethical. I stipulated I would e ngage in semi structured interviews, and the participants in my study would be restricted to individuals ages 18 25 who migrated to the United States before the age of 15. The interviews were to be conducted at a designated immigrant and refugee services agency, in public places such as cafs or parks or in the participants home. I limited my participants to US citizens, naturalized citizens or permanent residents. In the application, I agreed to protect the confidentiality of the participants through t he use of pseudonyms and password protected audio and text files. I also submitted the flyer and telephone and email scripts I intended to use for recruitment, along with a copy of my interview protocol. In order to facilitate recruitment and avoid bring ing up potentially traumatic memories that could induce distress in the participants, I clarified that my inquiries would be restricted to participants lives post migration. After initial submission, I was informed that conducting interviews at a partici pants home posed a risk to my personal safety, and I needed to eliminate this option from my application. After revising the possible locations of my interviews, my application was approved by the New College of Florida IRB.
62 Methodology I conducted int erviews with the three participants, Basia, Jasmina and Indira, between August and December of 2008; the names used are pseudonyms selected for the purpose of protecting participant confidentiality. While I originally planned to interview members of the 1 .5 generation in general, the participants in my study were all from the former Yugoslavia, allowing me to narrow my focus. I held Basias and Jasminas interviews in a conference room of a local immigrant and refugee social service agency and interviewed Indira at a local caf. The interviews ranged in duration from about 45 to 75 minutes. I developed an interview protocol to ensure I addressed certain topics, but allowed the participants to guide the conversation to other subject matter that arose. In preparation for the interviews, I developed a series of potential questions for the participants. Drawing from my research o n immigrant and 1.5 generation studies, the questions covered the issues of expos u re to US culture, conceptions of Bosnian cultur e, family dynamics, school experiences and ethnic and racial ide ntity. As there is rel a tiv e l y little research on the 1.5 generation, I used these topics to le ad the interview instead of tak ing a gr ounded the o ry approach. I planned to allow the participants to guide the conversation and, near the end of the interview, ask questions about to pics they had not covered. I employed semi structured methods so the participants could steer the interview to issues they found relevant. I believe this method allowed the women to express the salient features of their experiences; if I had simply read a list of questions, obtained a response and moved on, I would have missed the personal emphasis placed on specific
63 subjects. For example, Basia spoke of education without prompts frequently throughout the interview, demonstrating the value she places on education. If I had moved dow n a strict list of questions, Basia would have been able to discuss education but not in the depth that occurred in our interview. Therefore, the three interviews address some common themes but in varying detail; I believe this helps bring out each woman s individual values and personalities. The three participants in this study are young women between the ages of 20 and 24, living in St. Louis, who came to the United States as a result of the Bosnian War. The women arrived in the US between 1994 and 19 98, at ages between 9 and 12. Basia and Jasmina were born in Bosnia Herzegovina while Indira was born in Slovenia, but held Bosnian citizenship as her parents were from Bosnia. The participants from Bosnia came to the US as refugees, while Indira immigra ted to the US. The participants are all unmarried and live with their immediate families. All three women are culturally Muslim, although their attitudes towards religion and spirituality vary. Interviews with the three participants produced varied respo nses to questions about school experiences, family relationships, values and identity. The interviews revealed some shared underlying themes and attitudes among the participants, but the young women often expressed very different sentiments on a variety o f issues, notably family, friends, values and identity. I selected the pseudonyms of Basia and Jasmina, both common Bosnian names, for the first two interviews, while Indira requested to select her own pseudonym. Jasmina is 24 years old and was born in Bo snia. She lives, works and attends school in St. Louis. She came to the US with her parents and two younger siblings under refugee status at the age of 10 in 1994, settling first in Florida. Jasminas grandmother
64 was killed in the war and her father sur vived internment in a concentration camp. Jasmina recognizes her fathers experiences during the war have caused psychological problems, however she states her father will not seek medical attention for his problems. Jasminas family lived in a refugee c amp, and after reuniting with her father, immigrated to the US. After leaving Florida, they moved to Oklahoma and then settled in St. Louis in 2002. During the interview, Jasmina was outgoing and opinionated, talking fast in English, laughing often in th e interview and strongly stating her views on issues such as gender roles and conceptions of family. Basia is also 24 years old, was born in Bosnia and works as a quality control agent for an upscale hotel chain. She came to the US at the age of 12 wit h her parents and younger brother. Her family was granted refugee status and was one of the many families to receive temporary asylum from Germany. After living in Germany for a time, her family was resettled in California, where they joined members of h er extended family. They moved to St. Louis two years later. Basia was more reserved than Jasmina, speaking at a slower pace and describing the majority of her experiences and family relationships in a positive light. Indira is 20 years old and was bor n in Slovenia. Her parents are from Bosnia, so she held Bosnian citizenship despite being born in Slovenia and never living in Bosnia. She arrived in the US in 1998 at the age of 9, accompanied by her parents and older sister. Although Indira and her fa mily left Yugoslavia after the war had ended in Slovenia, their migration was directly motivated by the violence and tension in neighboring states. Her familys status as Bosnian citizens living in Slovenia was also a concern. Indira mentions the reactio n of some teachers in Slovenia to her name
65 (identifying her as Muslim), indicating the presence of anti Muslim sentiments in Slovenia. Her family immigrated to St. Louis, where they still reside. She is a full time student at a local college and works pa rt time. Indira was very thoughtful and engaged; conversations prior to the interview indicated she had spent time seriously contemplating some of the issues discussed. She had previously expressed a desire to become active in working with the immigrant and refugee teen community of St. Louis. She stated she viewed the interview as helpful for the participants, assumedly because it encouraged active reflection on many personal identity issues. Of all the participants, Indira appeared to be the most refl ective and engaged in many of the topics discussed. Migration Memories and Initial Reactions Migrating to a new country can elicit feelings of anxiety, fear, sadness, excitement and optimism (van der Veer 1992; Miller et al. 2002b; Suzanne LeLaurin, pers onal communication, March 17, 2009). As I decided against asking about pre migration experiences, I began the interview by requesting the participants to describe their first memories in the United States. The womens initial reactions to the US ranged f rom excitement and hope to anxiety and fear, consistent with the range of feelings noted above. Jasmina reported feeling excited while remembering her parents fear and anxiety. Basia, on the other hand, had a relatively smooth transition to the US, repo rting feelings of excitement and optimism, perhaps due to her prior experiences living in Germany, a country politically, linguistically and structurally more similar to the US than Bosnia. Indira, who was the youngest participant at arrival, did not disc uss her travel to
66 the US but spoke of an increased closeness and feelings of safety with her family, paralleled by her fear of the outside world. Jasminas migration to the United States occurred under highly stressful conditions. Her mother had an injury or illness that required two surgeries in Bosnia, and according to Jasmina, she almost died in the process. Because she was Muslim, many doctors refused to operate on Jasminas mother and the one physician who did perform surgery did so poorly. Upon the ir arrival in the United States, her mother received another surgery, which was successful but left her in the hospital for their first week in the country. While Jasmina describes her and her siblings as being scared but excited about going to a new coun try, she remembers her parents reaction much differently. She describes their reaction: T h e y w e r e s c a r e d V e r y s c a r e d I k n o w m y d a d w a s e v e n o n t h e p l a n e H e s s c a r e d o f h e i g h t s p e r i o d H e s n e v e r b e e n o n a p l a n e i t w a s h i s f i r s t r e a c t i o n T h e y d i d n t w a n t t o c o m e t o A m e r i c a w e w a n t e d t o g o t o E n g l a n d o r G e r m a n y c a u s e i t s c l o s e r t o h o m e A m e r i c a i s s o f a r a w a y w h e n t h e y c a m e h e r e t h e y d i d n t k n o w w h a t t h e y w e r e d o i n g Y o u k n o w c o m i n g h e r e f r o m a p o o r c o u n t r y y o u k n o w M y d a d l o s t h i s m o m s o h e w a s a l l m e s s e d u p o v e r t h a t M y m o m w a s l e a v i n g h e r m o m a n d d a d y o u k n o w a l l o f h e r s i s t e r s a n d b r o t h e r s T h e y w e r e I k n o w t h e y w e r e r e a l l y s c a r e d t h e y w e r e r e a l l y c o n f u s e d T h e y d i d n t k n o w w h a t t h e y w e r e d o i n g M y m o m o n t h e o t h e r h a n d w a s p r e t t y m u c h d y i n g s o i t w a s j u s t i n s a n e f o r t h e m I t w a s p r o b a b l y a b i g g e r s h o c k t o t h e m t h a n i t w a s t o u s C a u s e w e w e r e j u s t k i d s w e d i d n t k n o w Jasminas description of her migration is the most harrowing of the three participants. At her familys arrival in the US, the foster family that was supposed to pick them up from the airport did not show up for hours. They finally came, helped them buy groceries and found the family an apartment a couple of days later, dropping them off in the middle of the night and ne ver coming back, compounding the stress of migration. Jasmina reports it was later revealed the sponsor family had taken the money and food stamps meant for refugees for themselves. An altruistic neighbor eventually came to their aid, acting as a bridge to US society and acquiring furnishings and toys for the family. While Jasmina
67 and her siblings were partially insulated from the stressors of migration by their age, her parents clearly underwent great hardships before, during and after her migration. Ba sia remembered her migration experience much more positively than Jasmina. Basia describes feeling both excited and sad when coming to the United States. Her family was granted temporary asylum in Germany and offered the choice of going back to Bosnia or resettling in the US. As Basias family had nothing left in Bosnia their home was burnt down during the war they chose to come to the US. During her time in Germany, she learned some of the language and made friends so she was reluctant to leave. At th e same time, she was happy about the prospect of a new life in the United States. Basia remembers her family as excited and happy about moving to the United States. While her mother had to leave her family in Bosnia and Germany behind, her parents looked forward to being reunited with her fathers family in California. She did not express feelings of culture shock to the extent of the other participants; when asked if she saw any differences upon arrival in the US, such as styles of dress, she replied, No, it was pretty much the same as Germany and Bosnia. While Basia did remark upon the differences in cultures, her time spent in Germany seemed to help her prepare for adjustment to life in the US. Indira did not talk about her experience traveling to t he US, but did recall memories of her familys first apartment in St. Louis. They lived next to a bar in a super bad neighborhood, in an apartment Indira remembers as j u s t r e a l l y b a d a n d s c a r y a n d y o u k n o w t h e r e w e r e c o c k r o a c h e s a l l o v e r a n d w e d n e v e r s e e n c o c k r o a c h e s b e f o r e I t w a s n e g a t i v e i n t h a t w a y b u t a t t h e s a m e t i m e w h e n y o u r e f o r c e d t o h a v e e v e r y o n e s l e e p i n t h e s a m e r o o m a l l o f a s u d d e n a n d y o u k n o w s h a r e t h e s m a l l e r s p a c e s o m e h o w t h a t m a d e m e f e e l l i k e I w a s c l o s e r t o m y f a m i l y t h a n I w a s b e f o r e S o g o i n g t h r o u g h s o m e t h i n g l i k e t h a t b e i n g i n t h a t s p a c e I d o n t k n o w m a y b e i t s m y p a r e n t s d o i n g a r e a l l y g o o d j o b b u t I h a v e v e r y g o o d m e m o r i e s o f t h a t
68 Like most refugees and immigrants, Indiras family first lived in a low income neighb orhood. Despite the cramped living conditions, Indira reported feeling safe in her home, perhaps in part due to her feelings of increased closeness to her family. On the other hand, she responded that she did not feel safe outside of her apartment becaus e her parents told [her] dont ever go outside, try to make yourself invisible so to speak. It seems this protectiveness was warranted, as Indira recalls that a young Bosnian refugee in the neighborhood was kidnapped, raped and murdered. Indiras first experiences in the US primarily center on the fear she held of the outside world, countered by her feelings of safety and closeness to her family and home. Encountering US Culture After each woman talked about their migration to the US, I invited them t o share their initial experiences with US culture, as a means of beginning exploration of culture shock and cultural adjustment. When asked about their first memories of life in the US, the participants gave various responses but themes of safety and scal e were shared. Jasmina and Basia both cited the largeness of everything in the United States, from stores to ice cream, as one of the first things they remember about the US. Jasmina recalled her first exposures to the media and her parents over protect iveness, while Basia spoke of differences in food and school. Jasmina discusses being in the airport, which was huge, and the airplanes were scary. This was also the first time she saw a black person in real life. She describes her shock at going to a Wal Mart style store saying, I had never seen anything so big. Jasmina was especially impressed by a woman she saw in her first few days in the US,
69 describing her as really blond and really, really tan. She had a cordless phone and I was just like wow shes so cool! You know, cause I had never seen a cordless phone before. Later that day, an elderly woman entertained Jasmina and her siblings with videos of The Lion King and 101 Dalmatians. She also remembers being impressed by special effects she saw in music videos. Jasminas descriptions of her early experiences in the US express a mix of shock at the size of everything along with positive memories of being impressed by the media and cool looking people she saw, along with interactions with he lpful neighbors. Like Jasmina, Basia remarked on the larger size of nearly everything in the US. After learning English, Basia listed adjusting to the size and inaccessibility of living in US cities, noting everyone here [drives] a car, you cant go anyw here without a carin Europe we have such as mass transit system that you can do anything, go anywhere. She also told a story of looking unsuccessfully for ice cream in her grandmothers freezer until her grandmother came and [pulled] out this, like, bu cket! She added that she and her family members all gained 10 to 20 pounds in their first months in the US. While Basias description of her early experiences in the US focused mainly on the scale of things in America, she did experience a strong shock w hen she first went to school in St. Louis. Unlike California, where many of her classes were outside, the high school in St. Louis she attended was a much more controlled atmosphere. She describes her first day at the new school, where students were all lined up outside of the building. When she asked why there was a line, she was simply told she had to wait in line; when she reached the school doors she realized this was because every student had to go
70 through a metal detector before entering. She desc ribed it as kind of weird as she had never encountered such strict security at her school in California, let alone in Bosnia. School Ex periences Educational attainment and achievement are common measures of immigrant and refugee outcomes (Zhou 1997; Rum baut 1997; Portes and Zhou 1993; Mosselson 2006a). As Boyd (2002) and Rumbaut (2004) demonstrated the 1.5 generation of immigrants and refugees are high scholastic achievers, I asked the participants about their academic experiences in the US. Since chil dren and teens spend a large portion of their day in school, I also inquired into the relationship each woman had with her peers. Differences from Yugoslavia Basia, Jasmina and Indira remarked upon differences between US schools and former Yugoslavia ed ucation, and in Basias case differences from the German education system. All the participants agreed they experienced less academic pressure in the US and their education in the former Yugoslavia was much stricter. Basia, who spoke the most about her educational experience, declared her belief that the US school system is better than the Bosnian system of her youth, citing that in Bosnia, if your parents know the professor, or if somebody knows the professor, they can be like Oh, go easy on them. L ike here, its like you take the written test, you get what you get, theres [sic] no partial points. According to Basia, school in the US was much easier than in Europe because teachers provided more assistance and guidance on what to study. Another ad vantage Basia sees in US education is that while in Europe,
71 verbal tests are used frequently and memorization is emphasized, in the US she feels there is more emphasis on learning what you need to know. She describes Bosnian style tests as unfair in tha t your professor will just sit there, hell flip open the book and hell see whatever is on the page and ask you about that. And if you dont know, you fail. Basia described the German system as similar to Bosnias, saying its not just Bosnia, its like that in the whole of Europe. Overall, Basia seemed to enjoy her experience in the US school system due to less corruption and less emphasis on memorization of unnecessary information. While Indira did not express a preference for the US or Sloveni an school system, her comparisons are very similar to the other participants. She described school in America as more of a babysitting place and really easy. She recalled that school back home was so strict, so it almost felt like everyone had to be a straight A [student]. There wasnt a place for people that didnt do good. Like Basia, Indira found that expectations of and attitudes towards academic performance in the US were far less stringent than in their home countries. Indira did not explic itly discuss her value judgments on school in the US or Slovenia, but noted she didnt feel nearly as driven in school in America, despite maintaining straight As. When asked about differences between Bosnian and US schools, Jasmina also cited the lower levels of pressure and discipline in the US. She recalls teachers in Bosnia slapping students hands with rulers in elementary school as a disciplinary method. She attributes her dedication to schoolwork to her experiences in Bosnia, stating that in Bosn ia there was more pressure to be good, like to know your homework. I remember here I would do my homework all the time and I was considered a dork. But it was so
7 2 pushed into me in Bosnia to do this. While Jasmina did not go into as much detail as Basi a on the merits of US schooling, she did express a preference for certain aspects of Bosnian style schooling, specifically parent teacher relationships. Academics Academically, all three participants reported receiving good grades and described school i n the US as easy scholastically despite initial difficulties due to lack of English proficiency, falling in line with the findings of Mosselson (2006a) and Rumbaut (2004). Only Basia had previous experience with English from her time in Germany, where she took English as a foreign language course, but all participants reported learning English rather quickly. Except for Indira, who has an older sister, the participants were the first members of their families to learn English. Jasmina reports school bein g easy as pie after she learned English, Indira describes herself as a straight A student and Basia also reported school success, leaving ESL classes after only one semester. The high academic performance exhibited by these three women is characteristi c of refugee youth, who routinely out perform peers in school. While the factors contributing to refugee scholastic achievement are detailed in chapters 3 and 6, all three participants comments on the rigorous attitude toward education in the former Yugo slavia point to the influence of cultural values on school performance. Peers Socially, the participants had a range of experiences in middle and high school, ranging from loving school to being bullied and feeling isolated. The participants
73 experienc es in school were affected by external factors such as the presence or absence of a Bosnian enclave, the actions of peers and the presence of extended family members. In conjunction with these external influences, the individual experiences, personalities choices and attitudes are also in play. Basia talked positively about her experiences in school, stating she couldnt wait to go and loved school in Bosnia and the US. Basia and her brother were both fortunate enough to have cousins the same age alr eady in the US. The presence of cousins in the same grade at the same school helped Basia and her brothers transition to school. Additionally, Basia moved to St. Louis after two years in the US, attending a high school that she estimates to have been 40 % Bosnian. One can assume the Bosnian community in St. Louis increased Basias ability to communicate with peers, and additionally provided her with a sizable community of peers with the same cultural background, nearly all of whom left Bosnia as a result of the war. Basias eagerness to attend school along with the initial support of extended family and the later immersion in a school with a large Bosnian population most likely contributed to her positive attitudes towards her time in US schools. Indira also had the benefit of attending school with a significant Bosnian population, however her language difficulties were more complex. Indira grew up speaking Slovenian while her parents spoke Slovenian and Bosnian. When she started school in the US, she knew bits of Bosnian from her family, but describes socializing with [Bosnians] only like a notch higher than people who spoke English. When asked if she was picked on at school, she replied in my school there were quite a few Bosnians, so at that ti me, a lot of people were used to that presence. Despite this, she remembered
74 a few people picking on her; while she did not know the reason behind the bullying, stating I dont want to speculate, she proposed it may have been motivated by her initial i nability to communicate, and thus tell on the perpetrator. While her initial contacts were Bosnians, Indira stated, I think when it comes to me Ive always kind of left the crowd I was supposed to be in. I never felt like I belonged to the Bosnian crowd anyway. Indira became more comfortable speaking Bosnian in high school, which alleviated some of her isolation, but she remembers in general, the ideology and culture was different so I felt like the random kid who was just thrown in there, didnt real ly belong anywhere. So I just became friends with everyone, beginning then and continuing now. While Indira discussed initial problems she encountered with language and teasing, her responses indicate that her strategy of [becoming] friends with everyo ne helped her through her later school years. Indiras case demonstrates the strong role language plays in determining social contacts as well as the importance of individual choices in coping strategies. Jasminas reported experiences in school were alm ost all negative Jasmina was the only participant who attended a school with no Bosnians, aside from herself and her siblings. From the start, she dealt with bull y ing at school: I w e n t t o s c h o o l i n F l o r i d a I h a d t o w a l k t o s c h o o l b e c a u s e I d i d n t k n o w w h e r e t h e b u s w a s a n d i t w a s r e a l l y h o t j u s t w a l k i n g t o s c h o o l I n t h e s c h o o l I w a s a n o u t c a s t I g o t m a d e f u n o f b e c a u s e I d i d n t k n o w w h a t d e o d o r a n t w a s s o I g u e s s I s m e l l e d a n d l i k e I d i d n t s h a v e m y l e g s c a u s e y o u k n o w I w a s a k i d I w a s 1 0 1 1 y e a r s o l d S o i t t o o k f o r e v e r t o g e t m y m o m t o l e t m e s h a v e m y l e g s f i n a l l y b e c a u s e t h e y w o u l d j u s t b e l i k e h a i r y l e g s h a i r y l e g s She describes going into 7 t h grade at her new school in Oklahoma as horrible, with mean teachers who just didnt care abou t foreigners. In addition to the mean teachers, teasing by peers continued, and Jasmina reported speaking very little during
75 school. Overall, Jasmina characterized her middle and high school experiences as primarily negative. One of the few positive peer interactions Jasmina discusses is making her first friend at school. Although Jasminas friend was a Mexican immigrant, they became friends according to Jasmina because she didnt speak English just like me, and we were really good friends. She spo ke Spanish to me and I spoke Bosnian to her! But we still got alongand she was my first friendmy brother and sister, same thing. While Jasmina had difficult social experiences throughout school and lacked a Bosnian peer group to communicate with and r elate to, her strategy of befriending other foreigners partially alleviated her isolation and appears to be a logical coping mechanism. Jasmina also discussed at length her avoidance of speaking aloud in class or around her peers due to a fear they would discover her Bosnian identity because of her limited English and accent. While Jasminas secrecy relating to her Bosnian identity will be discussed in depth at a later point, it is interesting to note that Jasmina was the only participant to speak without an accent. Family Dynamics Immigrant children, especially refugees, often face new family issues and conflicts after resettlement (Binder and To i 2005; Van der Veer 1992). All the participants lived with their families at the time of the interviews, in line with the traditional Yugoslav custom of living with ones parents until marriage. Although none of the women interviewed described their relationship with their parents as particularly difficult, the closeness they felt to their parents varied. All three women discussed their
76 experiences acting as cultural brokers, although the extent of help they provided their parents and their feelings about performing this role varied greatly. Other common themes that arose in this section of the interview were the importance of family as a support system, over protectiveness of parents, conflict resolution styles and value differences. Generational D ifferences One of the most striking findings in the emerging field of 1.5 generation studies is the stark disparity in outcomes between the 1.5 and 1.25 generations. Although studies using detailed age breakdowns are few and far between, empirical studi es have demonstrated marked differences in educational attainment and achievement between the 1.5 and 1.25 generations, with the 1.25 generation being the most vulnerable (Boyd 2002; Rumbaut 2004) Although my participants fall into the 1.5 rather than 1. 25 category, the women were able to provide some observations on generational differences. Indira came to the US with her parents and 14 year old sister who, following Rumbauts (1997) breakdowns, falls into the 1.25 generation. Indira remarked that be cause of the age difference, their parents treated them very differently, expecting much more from her older sister. While Indira never felt she belonged with her Bosnian peers, she described her sister as quickly joining Bosnian social groups. When I as ked Indira if she had a good relationship with her sister, she replied, N o t r e a l l y n o I t h i n k t h a t a l o t o f i t h a s t o d o w i t h m y p a r e n t s e x p e c t e d s o m u c h o f h e r t h a t s h e a l m o s t s t a r t e d t o d e v e l o p n e g a t i v e f e e l i n g s t o w a r d s m e b e c a u s e I w a s t h e o n e p l a y i n g a r o u n d w h e r e a s s h e h a d t o d e a l w i t h b i l l s a n d t r a n s l a t i n g a n d a l l t h e s e p r o b l e m s w h a t e v e r h a p p e n e d s h e w a s b l a m e d f o r w h a t e v e r I d i d s h e w a s b l a m e d f o r Indira presents her sisters post migration experience as primarily negative. Without the benefi t of an interview with Indiras sister, it would be inappropriate for me to speculate
77 on her motivations for associating with Bosnians or the distant relationship with her sister. That being stated, I present Indiras comments on her sister in order to pr ovide insight into the experience of a 1.25 generation individual, as well as in order to demonstrate how cultural brokerage can affect relationships between siblings. Relationships w ith Parents Basia describes her family as very close and considers he rself lucky to have her family. She describes her parents as modern and supportive, saying my parents never pressured me or my brother into anythingthey always said just make up your mind, take your time, it will all come. Basia expressed feeling ve ry close to her parents, who tell her your parents are your best friends, its better to come to us than go somewhere else. She reports that her and her brothers values are the same as her parents, noting only that her father and grandfather talk abou t politics more than the rest of the family. She describes resolving differences with her family as a debatetheyll tell me their point of view and Ill tell them my point of view and well try to compromise. She says her family never scream[s] at ea ch other in part because of her culture. She says for Bosnians, it is i n o u r c u l t u r e r e s p e c t f o r y o u r p a r e n t s a n d e l d e r s L i k e y o u r e n o t s u p p o s e d t o t r e a t y o u r p a r e n t s t h a t w a y o r y o u r g r a n d p a r e n t s l i k e y o u r e n o t s u p p o s e d t o r a i s e y o u r v o i c e a t t h e m L i k e t h e y l l a s k m e D i d y o u j u s t r a i s e y o u r v o i c e a t m e ? I t h i n k i t w a s k i n d o f b r e d i n t o u s w h e n w e w e r e y o u n g e r Basia attributes her positive relationship with her parents to the values instilled in her at an early age, as well as her parents modern characteristics and support of their childrens choices. During the interview, Basia never brought up any negative aspects of her family life. While this does not exclude the possibility of tension or conflict in her family, Basias responses indicate an extremely positive attitude toward her family.
78 Jasminas description of her relationship with her parents was more detailed than Basias, revealing the presence of conflict and value differences. She describes her parents as overprotective in that they did not want her going out of the house, especially when she was younger. When asked why she thought her parents kept her close to home, Jasmina replied it was due to their fear of drugs and violence fueled by the American media. She does not view this as coming from external forces, as her mother was allowed much freedom as a child and would justify her actions by saying [that] was Bosnia and this is America. Jasmina recalls her parents having difficulty disciplining their children in the U S due to differences in accepted modes of punishment. She states that in Bosnia it was okay to beat your kidsand here thats not allowed. And so my parents had a hard time with us because they didnt know how to discipline us, cause they were disciplin ed the same way. Jasmina added that this is a problem she has seen not just with Bosnians, but other immigrant families as well. Compared to American families she knows, Jasmina describes her parents as stricter and less communicative. Jasmina describ es the difference in discipline as American children would be grounded, their TV taken away; Id get my ass whooped. Another cultural difference Jasmina identified was the level of communication between parents and children, stating: I n B o s n i a t h e r e s a l o t o f s t u f f t h e y d o n t t a l k a b o u t Y o u j u s t d o n t t a l k a b o u t i t i f y o u r e h a v i n g p r o b l e m s l i k e i f y o u r e s t r e s s e d a b o u t b o y f r i e n d s o r s t u p i d l i t t l e p e t t y s t u f f l i k e t h a t o r h a n g i n g o u t o r w e a r i n g t h e r i g h t t y p e o f c l o t h e s l i k e m y p a r e n t s d i d n t c a r e a b o u t t h a t S o t h a t k i n d o f d i s t a n c e d m e f r o m t h e m Jasmina expressed feeling close to her mother, saying I can tell her anything, but having difficulties dealing with her father. She attributes this to the trauma her father experienced during th e war:
79 M y d a d j u s t f l i p s o u t B u t I t h i n k h e f l i p s o u t b e c a u s e h e w a s i n B o s n i a a n d h e w e n t t h r o u g h a l o t m o r e t h a n w e d i d y o u k n o w ? C a u s e h i s m o m w a s k i l l e d a n d h e s a w p e o p l e k i l l e d a l l t h e t i m e H e w a s t a k e n t o a g r a v e a n d h a d a g u n t o h i s h e a d a n d t h e y w e r e g o n n a k i l l h i m b u t t h e y d i d n t b e c a u s e h e h a d t h r e e k i d s Y o u k n o w h e w a s i n t h e c o n c e n t r a t i o n c a m p w h e r e t h e y k i l l e d t h o u s a n d s o f p e o p l e b u t h e s u r v i v e d S o I t h i n k a l l t h a t m e s s e d w i t h h i s n e r v e s a n d m e s s e d w i t h h i s h e a d b u t h e d o e s n t w a n t t o t a k e a n y p i l l s f o r i t I t h i n k h e h a s a m e d i c a l c o n d i t i o n p r o b a b l y b u t h e d o e s n t w a n t t o a d m i t i t C a u s e i n B o s n i a i f y o u r e c r a z y a l i t t l e b i t y o u r e c r a z y a l l t h e w a y T h e r e s n o m i l d m e d i u m a n d t h e n e x t r e m e i t s j u s t y o u r e e x t r e m e l y c r a z y Jasminas relationship with her father has clearly been affected by his experiences during the war, however social stigma and cultural norms prevent him from seeking treatment. Although her relationship with her father is sometimes strained, during the i nterview Jasmina praised her father multiple times for his successes in supporting the family; she expressed feeling very proud and grateful for the hard work and success her father achieved in the US. While Jasmina spoke of problems in her relationship with her parents, she also added that she feels comfortable discussing most things with her parents, aside from issues she has with their parenting, stating Ive learned not to say anything about that because theres no winning that situation. As mentio ned earlier, Jasmina is very outspoken and reports that she shares her opinions with her family, even when they go against her parents opinions or values. Most of the value differences she spoke of related to gender roles, marriage and family, which will be discussed later in this chapter. Jasminas interview indicates that despite communication issues and differences in values, over time she has learned how to cope with her parents and their sometimes differing values. Like Jasmina, Indiras description of her family life included themes of value differences and conflict resolution. She describes her parents as very good people, they are very kindhearted people, but at the same time, they are not very quick to trust anyone. Indira contrasts her paren ts reluctance to trust others with her desire for
80 exposure to new people and ideas, saying basically anything that is not very familiar to them, they get scared of, whereas I usually like jump right in, you know? Like, I try to find out as much as I can about different people. Indira cites instances when she would socialize with a Somali acquaintance (who has kind of a [strange] name) but only tell her parents she was going out with a friend to avoid conflict. Conflict also arose between Indira an d her parents when she chose to begin practicing Islam and wearing a veil, which Indira attributes to her parents upbringing in a communist society and fears that Indiras newfound religiosity was a result of influence of others or brainwashing. Indira s relationship with Islam will be discussed further when addressing the role of religion in the participants lives. While Indira did not mention any trauma in her family from the war, she did discuss the way her parents spoke of the past and its negative influence on her: [ M y p a r e n t s ] k i n d o f j u m p e d o n t h e b a n d w a g o n t h a t a l o t o f o l d e r B o s n i a n s a r e o n e r a l o t o f t i m e s w h e n e v e r s o m e t h i n g c o m e s u p a b o u t t h e p a s t a l o t o f t i m e s y o u r e g o i n g t o j u s t h e a r t h e m y o u k n o w o b v i o u s l y t h i s i s v e r y o p i n i o n a t e d I m n o t n e u t r a l a t a l l a g a i n s t t h i s b u t t h e y a r e k i n d o f w a l l o w i n g i n t h e i r o w n m i s e r y T h e y k e e p o n s p i t t i n g o u t a l l t h i s n e g a t i v e s t u f f a n d y o u c a n s e e t h a t a n g e r a n d y o u c a n f e e l t h a t s a d n e s s t o t h e p o i n t w h e r e i t s t a r t s t o f e e l W h e n i t c o m e s t o m e a n d t h e w a r n o t h i n g d i r e c t l y a f f e c t e d m e w i t h t h e w a r b u t w h e n t h e y s t a r t a c t i n g l i k e t h a t t h a t s w h e n i t s t a r t s t o d i r e c t l y a f f e c t m e S o w h e t h e r I w a s t h e r e t o h e a r t h o s e s h o t g u n s o r n o t w h e n y o u h a v e t h i s s o c i e t y t h a t s c o n s t a n t l y s a y i n g a l l t h i s s t u f f a n d y o u r e h e a r i n g a l l t h e s e n e g a t i v e s t o r i e s e v e r y s i n g l e d a y e s p e c i a l l y a s a c h i l d i s s o m e t h i n g t h a t y o u c a n n o t h a n d l e v e r y w e l l Indiras comments display how exposure to her parents discussions of the Bosnian war put emotional strain on her, especially as a child. Although Indira does not describe mental health problems in her family due to the war, as Jasmina does, she illustrates the stressors stemming from exposure to her parents and other Bosnians anger and sadness in relation to the war. In relation to the comments on her parents discussion of the past, Indira also spoke of providing emotional support by playing the role of a psychiatrist in order for
81 her parents to talk out their problems. She describes her parents as using m e as a mental punching bag, as in, you know, telling me all of their sorrows and stories. When I asked for an example of this, she replied, Y e a h I m e a n t h e y y o u k n o w m y d a d w i l l j u s t s a y O h I m s o t i r e d o f l i f e I m s o t i r e d i n g e n e r a l y o u k n o w T h i s h a p p e n e d t o m e T h i s h a p p e n e d t o m e t h e n a n d e v e r y n o w a n d t h e n i t c a n b e v e r y e d u c a t i o n a l I t s s o m e t h i n g t h a t I c a n t a k e s o m e t h i n g a w a y f r o m U m i t m a k e s m e a p p r e c i a t e y o u k n o w w h a t w e d o h a v e b u t a l o t o f t h e t i m e s y o u k n o w I c a r e f o r t h e m s o I d o n o t w a n t t o s e e t h e m t h i n k i n g t h a t w a y s o t h e m s a y i n g t h a t u m m y o u k n o w I I i t s j u s t a v e r y s t r a n g e r e l a t i o n s h i p b e c a u s e I m v e r y c l o s e t o t h e m b u t a t t h e s a m e t i m e I h a v e t o f u r t h e r m y s e l f I l i t e r a l l y h a v e t o p u t s p a c e b e t w e e n m e a n d t h e m b e c a u s e o t h e r w i s e t h e y w o u l d d r i v e m e c r a z y T h e y r e a l l y w o u l d Indira sometimes finds value in these conversations with her parents, but largely characterizes her emotional support of her parents as negative and stressful. When asked if she felt she knew her parents better because of her role as an emotional support, she replied, No, no, noI dont think it brings anything positive, I meanits one thing if you hear it once, its another thing if you hear it like fifteen times, every day. Indiras description of her familys conflict management style differs from both Basia and Jasmina. Indira cited practice of religion and time spent with her boyfriend as sources of tension. Like Jasmina, Indira spoke of learning how to cope with famil y conflict, saying, Im just, Im a little smarter now, you know. If I have an opinion that doesnt necessarily agree with them, and if I dont have to argue it, Im just going to be saying ok Mom and ok Dad and let them, you know, think whatever the y want to think and so I have my own opinion. Indiras statements express a sense of resignation in relation to talking to her parents; unlike Jasmina, Indira stated in her house its hardly ever agree to disagree. Indiras interview indicates playing the role of psychiatrist to her parents, as well as their discussions of the past and Bosnia put strain on her relationship with her parents.
82 Cultural Brokers Playing the role of the cultural broker is familiar territory for most 1.5 generation immigr ants and refugees, as children learn usually new languages with greater ease and speed than adults (Fantino and Cook 2001; Potocky Tripodi 2002). Cultural brokers engage in activities to act as middlemen between their family and the new society, most ofte n through interpretation. The participants responses describe their experiences playing the role of the cultural broker, their feelings on serving as a cultural broker as well as touching on issues of birth order. Basia had previous experience acting as an interpreter in Germany for her parents. Basia recalled translating for her family a little bit when they came to St. Louis. In the two years before, when she lived in California, she said she did not interpret because her English skills were not str ong enough. She also explained that her mother caught onto English really quickly and served as the primary interpreter in the family. Basias discussions of experiences as a cultural broker were primarily confined to interactions with her grandparents and consisted of interpretation and transportation. When asked if she ever felt resentful for having to interpret, she replied I think I was already used to it because of her time in Germany and that it was something that just came natural I guess. Basias experience as a cultural broker was more limited than the other participants and she was also the only woman interviewed who did not speak of negative feelings associated with interpreting and other cultural brokerage actions. Jasmina, the oldest child in her family, was the first person in her family to learn English. She served as the main interpreter for her parents, a role she still performs today. Cultural brokerage can extend beyond interpreting to helping navigate through social and politic al institutions. Jasmina explains, I would translate for my mom and dad, you
83 know with the rent and bills. Cause we didnt know, you know, that you have to pay taxes, you have to pay this and that all that stuff was new to us. She remembers early on i n the US, the family moved to Oklahoma; on the trip Jasmina was in charge of reading the signs and they accidentally ended up in Texas because, as Jasmina explains, I didnt really know all the signs you know! And the highways and stuff we didnt really understand that. While Jasmina can look back humorously on their accidental detour now, one can imagine the difficulties of navigating a new country with extremely limited English skills. Without knowledge of the language, it is challenging to perform r outine tasks such as buying groceries, acquiring housing and figuring out the public transportation system. Although social service agencies generally aid refugees with such tasks in their first month of resettlement, such resources are not always availab le or continuous. In terms of interpretation, Jasmina still serves as the primary interpreter for her father. Both Jasminas parents speak English but her father often becomes frustrated when Americans do not understand his accent. Jasmina says, E v e n n o w u m I s t i l l c a l l f o r l i k e e v e r y t h i n g m y d a d n e e d s H e n e v e r t a l k s I s a y t h a t I m h i m a l l o f h i s c r e d i t c a r d b i l l s h o u s e p a y m e n t s c a r p a y m e n t s a n y t h i n g a n y k i n d o f p a p e r w o r k t h a t c o m e s t o t h e h o u s e h e h a s m e r e a d i t e v e r y d a y A n d i t g e t s o n m y n e r v e s b e c a u s e I m j u s t l i k e y o u s p e a k E n g l i s h y o u r e a d E n g l i s h w h a t i s t h e p r o b l e m ? B u t t h e n I m l i k e h e p r o b a b l y d o e s n t l i k e e v e n i f y o u d o n t u n d e r s t a n d o n e o r t w o w o r d s t h e n y o u d o n t u n d e r s t a n d t h e w h o l e l e t t e r S o I h a v e t o d o a l l o f t h a t U m a n y t h i n g a n y k i n d o f d e c i s i o n t h a t s m a d e t h e y a s k m e Jasmina continues to be highly involved in interpreting for her father. While she does express resentment that her father knows English but still has her perform these tasks, Jasmina also unde rstands her fathers motivations. Jasmina describes her change in attitude toward interpreting for her parents: U m I w a s a n g r y a l o t b e f o r e N o w I m n o t l i k e I d o i t b e c a u s e i t s e x p e c t e d o f m e a n d I m d o i n i t t o h e l p t h e m B e f o r e I w a s r e a l l y a n g r y c a u s e I f e l t l i k e I w a s n e v e r r e a l l y a c h i l d o r a t e e n a g e r
84 o r y o u k n o w a l l o f t h a t k i n d a g o t s k i p p e d a n d I h a d t o g r o w u p w h e n I w a s l i k e 1 2 y e a r s o l d b a s i c a l l y w a s w h a t i t w a s S o i t w a s n t p r e t t y I d i d n t l i k e i t a t a l l While Jasmina currently does not mind interpreting for her parents, her comments about being forced to grow up at a young age indicate playing the role of a cultural broker as a child greatly affecter her. Jasminas comments in general indicate that while interpreting for her parents as a child was clearly a negative experience, with age she has accepted her role in part through acknowledging that her actions benefit her familys welfare. Indira describes her experiences interpreting as primarily negative. When interpreting f or her father, problems can arise due to their differing views on how to interact with people. Indira provides an example: O k h e l l a s k m e t o c a l l t h e t r a s h c o m p a n y t o l e t t h e m k n o w t h a t t h e y h a v e n t p i c k e d u p t h e t r a s h a n d i t s b e e n t w o d a y s p a s t t h e d a t e a n d t h e y r e g o i n g t o s a y w e l l s e n d s o m e b o d y a s s o o n a s p o s s i b l e a n d t h e n o f c o u r s e t h e y d o n t s o h e g e t s m a d a t m e b e c a u s e a p p a r e n t l y I w a s n t c l e a r e n o u g h s o I l l c a l l t h e m a g a i n a n d t a l k t o t h e m a g a i n b u t h e s j u s t e x p e c t i n g m e t o y e l l a t t h e m t h i s t i m e a r o u n d S o i t s y o u k n o w y o u h a v e y o u r o w n o p i n i o n s a n d m y o p i n i o n i s t h a t I t r y t o b e a s n i c e a s p o s s i b l e d o n t u s e c u s s w o r d s o r a n y t h i n g l i k e t h a t h e s o v e r h e r e l i k e f u m i n g f l a m e s f r o m h i s h e a d o r s o m e t h i n g l i k e t h a t t r y i n g t o g e t m e t o b e t h e s a m e a s h e i s S o i t d o e s n t q u i t e w o r k o u t Although Indira and her father argue due to their differing perspectives on how to deal with people such as customer service representatives and her description of interpreting for her father seems extreme ly stressful, she did not feel that it was a large factor in her life, saying, thats not really often a problem, you know I dont think that that traumatized mebut the way my parents went about it really bothers me today. Indiras responses indicate m ixed feelings about serving as a cultural broker; while she does not describe it as a major factor in her life she does express frustration with her father and mentions issues with some of her parents actions in the past.
85 Conclusion In this chapter, I p resented Basias, Jasminas and Indiras comments on migration, school and family in the hopes of developing an initial portrait of the three young women. The women described many of the same experiences, such as culture shock, academic achievement, and p erforming as a cultural broker. The interviews also revealed considerable differences in experience; for example, Jasmina did not move to St. Louis (and encounter a Bosnian enclave) until age 18, while Basia and Indira came to St. Louis in the early years of their resettlement. Of greater significance is the considerable variation in responses to these experiences. Basia described her adjustment to life in the US as relatively smooth, Jasmina had difficulties connecting with peers and Indira discussed tr oubles finding where she fit in with the new culture and ideology. In this chapter I focused on the experiences of the three participants; in the next chapter, I will present more in depth interview data to explore each womans personal values, attitude s and identities.
86 CHAPTER V : V AULES, ATTITUDES AND IDENTITIES In the previous chapter I presented interview data regarding the migration, school and family experiences of each of my participants. The participants statements demonstrated both the com monality and variation in the experiences of and reactions to being a 1.5 generation Bosnian refugee in St. Louis. In this chapter, I present comments from Basia, Jasmina and Indira that address their relationship to Bosnia and the Bosnian enclave, indivi dual values and beliefs and each womans conceptions and articulation of their national, ethnic and personal identities. This chapter will provide a more in depth look at the participants and explore the nature of identity and identity development in the three women. Relationship to Bosnia Descriptions of Bosnian and American Culture In light of Mosselsons (2006a) understanding of refugee identity through examination of their attitudes toward Bosnia and Bosnian enclaves, I asked the participants about their feelings about their country of origin. I first inquired as to what the participants felt were major differences between the US and Yugoslavia. Common themes that arose include differences in parenting styles and family relationships, the fast pace of American life, safety and differing attitudes toward mental health.
87 Basias discussion of differences between US and Bosnian culture focused on the pace of life. She reported that everybody is working more in America and noted that in Bosnia, eve ryone gets at least a month for vacation. Basia describes how lack of safety and the fast pace of American life affect individuals welfare: H e r e e v e r y t h i n g i s s o f a s t p a c e d p e o p l e d o n t h a v e t i m e t o r e l a x a n d e n j o y l i f e I r e m e m b e r e v e r y b o d y e v e n l i k e p e o p l e m y a g e t h e y c o m p l a i n w h e n t h e y h a n g o u t t h e r e s n o p l a c e s j u s t t o w a l k d o w n t h e s t r e e t a n d e n j o y y o u a l w a y s h a v e t o g o f r o m o n e p l a c e t o a n o t h e r b e c a u s e y o u c a n t w a l k a t n i g h t o n t h e s t r e e t c a u s e i t s d a n g e r o u s a n d t h i n g s l i k e t h a t A n d I t h i n k t h a t s w h a t m o s t p e o p l e m i s s a n d t h a t w h a t p e o p l e m y p a r e n t s a g e r e a l l y t h a t s o n e o f t h e r e a s o n s t h e y w a n t t o g o b a c k b e c a u s e i t s m o r e r e l a x e d a n d h e r e e v e r y t h i n g i s s o f a s t p a c e d a n d y o u d o n t h a v e t i m e f o r y o u r f a m i l y a n d t h i n g s l i k e t h a t Basia also spoke of the closer relationships among family and friends in Bosnia compared to the US: I r e m e m b e r [ A m e r i c a n ] p a r e n t s a l w a y s s a y i n g I c a n t w a i t t i l m y k i d s t u r n 1 8 a n d t h e y m o v e o u t a n d I m l i k e o h m y g o d y o u k n o w I m 2 4 a n d I m s t i l l a t h o m e A n d a l s o I v e n o t i c e d t h e y r e j u s t n o t I g u e s s a s c l o s e m a y b e ? C a u s e e v e r y o n e i s w o r k i n g t h e m o t h e r a n d t h e f a t h e r a n d j u s t d o n t s e e e a c h o t h e r a s m u c h A n d I t h i n k w i t h u s l i k e t h i s i s w h a t I v e n o t i c e d f o r b i g h o l i d a y s p e o p l e t e n d t o g e t t o g e t h e r b u t i n o u r c u l t u r e l i k e e v e r y w e e k e n d y o u h a v e t o g o s e e s o m e b o d y o r s o m e b o d y s c o m i n g t o y o u r h o u s e o r y o u r e g o i n g t o s o m e b o d y s h o u s e Basias descriptions of life in the US were linked to the closeness of social relationships; she describes sa fety issues limiting places to socialize and the fast paced life and heavy workload taking time away from being with family. Her comparison of family gatherings succinctly displays her interpretation of the differences between American and Bosnian famil ies: while Americans gather a few times a year for holidays, Bosnians visit family every week. Many of Jasminas comments echoed those of Basia, especially in terms of the pace of life. Jasmina compared her life in the US to that of her cousins in Bosn ia, stating: I d o n t w a n t t o s a y t h a t I m t i r e d o f A m e r i c a b u t I m t i r e d I m a l w a y s t i r e d I m w o r k i n g I m g o i n g t o s c h o o l l i k e I m n o t e n j o y i n g l i f e L i k e I f e e l f r o m w h a t t h e y s a y w h e n I t a l k t o m y c o u s i n s a n d s t u f f t h e y r e a l w a y s d o i n g s o m e t h i n g n i c e t h e y r e g o i n g t o t h e o c e a n t h e y r e d r i n k i n g c o f f e e t h e i r j o b i s e a s y t h e y r e n o t d o i n g m u c h y o u k n o w t h e y c a n w a l k e v e r y w h e r e T h e y d o n t h a v e t o d r i v e c a r s I d r i v e 3 0 m i n u t e s j u s t t o g e t h e r e t h a t s a h u g e t h i n g t o t h e m t o h a v e t o d r i v e 3 0 m i n u t e s i n a c a r
88 Jasmina also declared that she feel[s] sorry for a lot of Americans because they dont know a different way of life. Like Basia, Jasmina views American life as more demanding and fast paced than in Bosnia and compares this to how her co usins live. Jasmina noted differences in attitudes towards Western medicine. While Jasmina does not agree with the attitude toward psychology in Bosnia, she also sees problems in American attitude toward medication, reporting even to this day, my dads like, eat a piece of garlic when I get sick, but for Americans, everything that a child does, here theyre given a pill. She remarked that while she initially doubted her fathers advice on garlic as a remedy, she later found that it possesses natur al antibiotics. She sees the American attitude toward medicine as restrictive, noting that I think that because Americas so modernized that when they tell me that Im like, Oh, thats so stupid and old fashioned but it really does work, it really does While Jasmina identifies negative aspects of both American and Bosnian attitudes toward Western medicine, she also acknowledges corresponding benefits as well as the influence of American society in shaping her own preconceptions of medicinal treatment s. Indira identified a few differences between the US and Yugoslavian culture, but also discussed the issues of cultural difference in a more holistic perspective than the other participants. She noted that crime and safety issues are more predominant in the US and concurred with Jasmina that discussion of mental health issues is discouraged in Bosnian culture. She identified aspects of both cultures she enjoyed; when asked what aspects of Bosnian and Slovenian culture she appreciated she replied: T h e r e i s a p a r t w h e r e w e l o v e f o o d l i k e o u r s e c o n d r e l i g i o n T h a t s t h e o n e t h i n g I v e r e a l l y c o m e t o a p p r e c i a t e A n d w h e n e v e r s o m e o n e c o m e s o v e r t o y o u r h o u s e w e d r i n k c o f f e e i t s a l m o s t l i k e a r i t u a l y o u k n o w I l o v e t h a t A n d y o u m a k e t h e g u e s t s e a t I t s n o t j u s t C o m e o v e r a n d w a t c h m o v i e s y o u r e g o n n a e a t Y o u h a v e t o I f y o u d o n t e a t y o u r e n o t g o n n a l e a v e
89 In addition to the importance of food, coffee and company in Bosnian culture, she also spoke of her preference of gender roles in America. D espite identifying a few aspects of each culture she liked and disliked, Indira was reluctant to make any generalizations about either culture: T h e b i g d i f f e r e n c e s t o b e h o n e s t w i t h y o u I d o n t t h i n k t h e r e a r e a s m a n y d i f f e r e n c e s a s m y p a r e n t s w o u l d l i k e t o t h i n k t h e r e a r e U m b u t I w o u l d s a y I t h i n k t h a t m y p a r e n t s t h i n k t h a t A m e r i c a n s a r e n o t s t r i c t w i t h t h e i r k i d s a n d t h e y l e t t h e i r k i d s y o u k n o w d o d r u g s a n d s m o k e y o u k n o w i t s w h a t t h e y s e e o n T V S o w h i l e A m e r i c a n s a r e s t e r e o t y p i n g t h e m a s t h e f o r e i g n e r s t h e f o r e i g n e r s a r e s t e r e o t y p i n g t h e A m e r i c a n s a n d i n a l l i t j u s t c r e a t e s a r e a l l y b i g m i s u n d e r s t a n d i n g Indira further resisted making generalizations when asked if she felt if, as others had reported, family was more important in Bosnian cultur e. She again resisted using her experience as a basis for comparison: I t h i n k t h a t i t d e p e n d s i t d e p e n d s o n w h o y o u r e t a l k i n g t o I t d e p e n d s o n t h e f a m i l y y o u r e g r o w i n g u p i n I k n o w m a n y A m e r i c a n f a m i l i e s t h a t a r e e v e n c l o s e r t h a n m y f a m i l y a n d f o r m e i t s h a r d t o s a y b e c a u s e I d o n t r e a l l y h a v e a n y o n e e l s e h e r e e x c e p t f o r m y p a r e n t s a n d m y s i s t e r S o w h e n i t c o m e s t o i m m e d i a t e f a m i l y y e a h w e r e d e f i n i t e l y v e r y c l o s e w h e n i t c o m e s t o c o u s i n s a n d a u n t s I f e e l l i k e m y c o u s i n s a r e m y s i s t e r s a n d b r o t h e r s s o m a y b e t h a t s t h e o n l y d i f f e r e n c e j u s t t h a t t h e f a m i l y t h a t s n o t q u i t e i m m e d i a t e w e f e e l a l i t t l e b i t c l o s e r t o B u t o n c e a g a i n i t d e p e n d s o n t h e f a m i l y I h a v e a n a u n t h e r e w h o l i v e s l i k e t e n m i n u t e s a w a y f r o m m e b u t I h a v e n t s e e n h e r i n l i k e 3 y e a r s b e c a u s e o f h e r p e r s o n a l p r o b l e m s S o i t d e f i n i t e l y d e p e n d s While Indira speculates that Bosnians may be closer to their extended family than Americans, she again emphasizes her disinclination to characterize cultures; in general, she framed m ost of her replies on the individual level, explicitly avoiding homogenizing comments. Feelings about Bosnia I asked Basia, Jasmina and Indira in what ways they felt, or did not feel, connected to Bosnia and Yugoslavia. Only Basia had been back to visit Although economic considerations undoubtedly constrict opportunities to travel, the responses from the participants were primarily framed in terms of their own attitudes and emotions. The
90 women discussed the topics of visiting Bosnia, the possibility o f returning permanently, parents view of the country and the current state of Bosnia. Basias family regularly visits Bosnia, while Jasmina and Indira have not returned since their departure. Jasmina expresses a desire to visit, while Indira would not g o back to Bosnia or Slovenia. Basias family tries to travel to Bosnia every two or three years, staying for at least a month and primarily visiting family members. She revealed that while her parents love Bosnia, they mostly talk about the good ole time slike what they did when they were kids. When I referred to her visits to Bosnia as a vacation, she replied, Its not really va cation. Because you have to go there and visit all your family, you have to because if you dont everyone gets kind of mad a nd oh you didnt visit me so in the end you need another vacation just to relax While Basia reported feeling connected to both Bosnia and the US, she does not feel she could live in Bosnia in its current state: I d o n t k n o w i f I c o u l d s e e m y s e l f l i v i n g t h e r e a n y m o r e U m j u s t i t s s o d i f f e r e n t t h a n h e r e l i f e i s h e r e w e r e s o u s e d t o t h e A m e r i c a n l i f e a n d g o i n g b a c k t h e r e s t h e r e s n o e c o n o m y t h e r e s n o j o b s I m e a n I s t i l l l o v e i t a n d t h i n g s l i k e t h a t b u t I d o n t k n o w i f I w o u l d b e a b l e t o m o v e b a c k a n y t i m e s o o n In spite of Basias visits to and love for her home country, at the time of the interview she did not plan on residing there for an extended period of time. While she left open the possibility of going back, she states the poor condition of Bosnias economy and the influence of living in the US as preventing this. Jasminas interview reflected the complex and temporal nature of her views on Bosnia. Her parents have returned to the country for at least one visit, but Jasmina did not ac company them. She did not specify whether this was related to financial constraints or a personal decision. She stated that her desire to visit Bosnia has changed over the last few years, explaining the more and more the older I get like Im 24 and
91 whe n I was 19 it was like Im never going back to Bosnia. 20, never goin back, 21 hmmm, I wanna see some and now that Im 24, I know that its like 2 years difference, its just I do wanna go back While Jasmina desires to visit her home country, she al so expressed anxiety about visiting Bosnia related to the death of her grandmother: A n d u m m I k i n d o f r e g r e t n o t g o i n g b a c k I k i n d o f d o n t w a n t t o I m s c a r e d I k n o w t h a t s o u n d s c r a z y b u t I d o n t w a n t t o g o t h r o u g h w h a t I w e n t t h r o u g h U m m y g r a n d m a w a s k i l l e d w h e n I w a s r e a l l y y o u n g I w a s r e a l l y c l o s e t o m y g r a n d m a I w a s l i k e 8 w h e n s h e w a s k i l l e d T h a t w a s m y d a d s m o m a n d I k i n d o f u m I k n o w s h e s d e a d b u t I d o n t r e a l l y a c c e p t i t S o I m s c a r e d h o w I l l r e a c t i f I g o b a c k a n d a c t u a l l y s e e h e r g r a v e Jasminas comments indicate that she has not fully come to terms with the death of her grandmother and anticipates a journey to Bosnia would evoke intense emotion. In spite of horrific memories of the war, Jasmina reported that her parents descri be Bosnia as: t h e p e r f e c t p l a c e i t s h e a v e n i t s l i f e T h e y s a y t h a t A m e r i c a s b a s i c a l l y a p r i s o n t h a t y o u w o r k i n I t s n o t a l i f e y o u r e j u s t a r o b o t h e r e A n d m y p a r e n t s e v e r y d a y a t l e a s t o n c e t h e y s a y t h a t t h e y p i t y u s b e c a u s e t h e y f e e l b a d t h a t w e r e l i v i n g h e r e l i v i n g t h e w a y w e r e l i v i n g a n d t h e p r e s s u r e w e r e u n d e r Jasminas description indicates her parents miss Bosnia greatly, however her memories of the country are more limited and the connections much weaker. Additionally, she real izes that she would not be returning to the Bosnia of her youth: A n d i t s t o t a l l y d i f f e r e n t c a u s e w h e r e w e u s e d t o l i v e n o b o d y l i v e s t h e r e a n y m o r e I t s n o t t h e s a m e t h i n g i t d b e l i k e g o i n g t o t o m e i t d b e j u s t l i k e g o i n g t o T e x a s o r s o m e p l a c e I t s a t o t a l l y d i f f e r e n t p l a c e i t s n o t w e r e I g r e w u p E v e r y t h i n g t h a t I r e m e m b e r i s d i f f e r e n t c a u s e m y p a r e n t s w e n t b a c k T h e y s a i d t h e h o u s e d o e s n t l o o k t h e s a m e t h e n e i g h b o r h o o d d o e s n t l o o k t h e s a m e L i k e I p r o b a b l y w o u l d n t r e c o g n i z e a n y t h i n g a n y m o r e t h e r e s n o b o d y t h a t u s e d t o l i v e t h e r e t h a t l i v e s t h e r e a n y m o r e Jasminas desire to return to Bosnia centers around seeing friends and family she left behind. When asked if she felt any other connection to Bosnia, she replied, U h h o n e s t l y n o c a u s e y o u k n o w I l e f t s o y o u n g y o u k n o w S o m e o f t h e m u s i c w r i t e r s I l i k e t h e m u s i c s o m e o f t h a t I d o e n j o y a l o t o f t h e B o s n i a n f o l k m u s i c c a u s e I t h i n k i t s b e c a u s e m y d a d e v e n h e r e I g r e w u p w i t h t h a t h e a l w a y s l i s t e n e d t o B o s n i a n m u s i c i f w e r e i n t h e c a r i f w e r e i n t h e h o u s e a n y w h e r e A n y w a y I k n o w a l o t o f B o s n i a n s o n g s a n d I l o v e t h e m
92 Jasminas feelings about Bosnia center on family; other than music, she reports feeling very little connection to her homeland, especially in comparison to her p arents feelings about Bosnia. Jasminas responses reveal a complicated and fluid relationship with Bosnia, with many emotions pulling her toward Bosnia but several obstacles along the way. Indiras feelings about Bosnia and returning to the country we re clearly defined in her interview. As discussed earlier, Indiras parents often talk negatively about the past, however; w h e n e v e r t h e y t a l k a b o u t B o s n i a a l o t o f t h e t i m e s i t h a s t o d o w i t h w a r a n d g e n o c i d e s o a l o t o f i t i s j u s t v e r y n e g a t i v e t h a t h a s t o d o w i t h a n d e v e n w h a t s g o i n g o n t o d a y i s v e r y n e g a t i v e b e c a u s e t h e y d o n t t h i n k t h a t i t s f a i r t h e y d o n t t h i n k t h a t i t s t r u e y o u k n o w ? T h e y t h i n k t h a t i t s c o r r u p t a n d e v e r y t h i n g t h a t s g o i n g o n u m b u t i n a w a y t h e y s t i l l s e e i t a s t h e i r h o m e A n d t h e y i n o n e w a y t h e y w o u l d n e v e r g o b a c k b u t a t t h e s a m e t i m e t h e y a r e s o a t t a c h e d I t s r e a l l y a l m o s t l i k e a p a r a d o x y o u k n o w ? Indira continued, explaining that while her parents have good memories of Slovenia, at the same ti methey have very bad feelings toward them because theres a reason why we [left] from there. While Indira views her parents attitude toward Bosnia and Slovenia as paradoxical, her own feelings are more clearly delineated. When asked if she felt conn ected to Bosnia and Slovenia, Indira replied, Y e a h I f e e l c o n n e c t e d t o i t o n l y b e c a u s e I u s e d t o l i v e t h e r e I d o n t f e e l l i k e I s a i d I h a t e n a t i o n a l i s m y o u k n o w s o I m n o t a t a l l I d o n t c a l l m y s e l f B o s n i a n o r S l o v e n i a n o r A m e r i c a n o r a n y o f t h a t y o u k n o w I r e f u s e t o b e l o n g t o o n e r e g i o n I t d r i v e s m e c r a z y t o t r y t o d o t h a t U m I t h i n k t h a t S l o v e n i a s v e r y b e a u t i f u l w h e n i t c o m e s t o n a t u r e y o u k n o w I t h i n k B o s n i a s v e r y b e a u t i f u l w h e n i t c o m e s t o n a t u r e a s w e l l I m a n a t u r e g i r l A n d t h e y b o t h h a v e v e r y r i c h h i s t o r y y o u k n o w L i k e S l o v e n i a t h e r e s a c a s t l e y o u k n o w l i k e e v e r y 5 m i l e r a d i u s y o u k n o w S o i t k i n d o f m a k e s m e f e e l l i k e a p r i n c e s s o r s o m e t h i n g y o u k n o w ? Indira expresses a connection to the countries because of her ti me spent there, and also admires the natural beauty of the countries something all the participants mentioned in one form or another. Indira spoke of a love of travel, and stated,
93 I would love to go wherever is best for me. Bosnia is definitely out of t he question, or Slovenia, because of the tension there and the ideology. I I just cant deal with nationalism. Its just one thing that I really abhor. Indira describes her choice not to return to Bosnia or Slovenia as motivated by a distaste for nation alism, a point she mentioned multiple times throughout the interview. When I inquired if she felt her anti nationalism stance was a result of the war, she said no and attributed her stance to the problems she has seen in the US as well as her (previous) m ajor in International Relations; Indiras views on nationalism will be explored further when addressing the values and beliefs expressed by the participants. Social Relationships The social networks of immigrants and refugees are often studied in order to determine relationships between individuals and ethnic enclaves (Zhou 1997; Sanders 2002; Mosselson 2006a). St. Louis has the largest Bosnian population in the United States, and therefore provides a large ethnic enclave and social network; however, e ach participant came to St. Louis at a different stage in their acculturation to the US. Indira came directly to St. Louis at age 9, Basia came 2 years into her resettlement at age 14, and Jasmina came 8 $ years into her resettlement at age 18 after gradu ating high school in Oklahoma. In order to assess each womans relationship with the Bosnian ethnic enclave in St. Louis, I asked the participants about the composition of their social networks. During Indiras interview, she pointed out that conceptions of friendship vary. Indira was taught that friendship is something very sacred and friends should be treated like family. She believes when many people in the US say friend they are often
94 referring to what she would consider an acquaintance. In dira describes this as difficult during her early years in the US, saying people would call me their friend, but they really mean acquaintance, so they didnt really trust me. Indiras comments serve as a reminder that participants can interpret questio ns differently than the researcher intends, and sometimes without notice. Basias initial resettlement in California provided her with a network of other Bosnians to help her adjust to the US. She remembers, I think its cause we had family there alre ady that helped us out. Like, if we were there on our own, it would have been different. When she came to St. Louis two years later, she encountered a much larger Bosnian community, especially through attending a school that was 40% Bosnian. Upon arr ival in St. Louis, Basia asked around the community and heard of an international studies magnet school with a large Bosnian population. She chose to attend school there, saying every [Bosnian] that was in this town that was high school age was going to this school. While Basia estimates the Bosnian population of her high school to have been 40%, she also added there were people from all over the world like in the school. Basia reported socializing mainly with Bosnians during high school, while the o ther participants spoke of different social networks. Jasmina did not come to St. Louis until after she graduated high school. At her previous home in Oklahoma, the Bosnian community slowly expanded: A f t e r u s b e i n g t h e r e f o r a b o u t u h f i v e y e a r s t h e r e w e r e m o r e B o s n i a n f a m i l i e s b e c a u s e w e b r o u g h t a B o s n i a n f a m i l y w h o b r o u g h t a n o t h e r B o s n i a n f a m i l y w h o b r o u g h t a n o t h e r B o s n i a n f a m i l y s o t h e r e w a s l i k e s i x s e v e n o f u s i n t h e l i k e B o s n i a n c o m m u n i t y a n d w e d g e t t o g e t h e r a n d s t u f f a n d h a v e l i k e B o s n i a n t h i n g s y o u k n o w With very few Bosnians in her town, let alone her school, Jasmina was not provided very much opportunity to socialize with Bosnians her age. In high school, she was very
95 reluctant to reveal her background to anyone, stating in 9 t h grade I st arted talking more and I actually started making friends, like American friends, and it was because they didnt know I was Bosnian, thats the only reason I became friends with them. It is not entirely clear if Jasmina is implying her American friends wo uld not want to be friends with a Bosnian, or that Jasmina herself would not want to be friends with Americans who knew her identity. Later on in high school, Jasmina reported hanging out with outcasts, saying, there was the kids that were dorks, the k ids that were outcasts, the gay people, the black people, anyone who was different than like white Americans was okay with me. And they were always nicer, would come talk to me or be like O h come sit with us Jasminas family came to St. Louis after she finished high school in Oklahoma. Jasmina remembers her familys move to St. Louis positively, saying: T h e r e w e r e j u s t l i k e s o m a n y B o s n i a n s I r e m e m b e r i t w a s w e i r d c a u s e i t w a s l i k e t h e f i r s t t i m e I c a m e t o A m e r i c a c o m i n g t o S t L o u i s I f e l t l i k e I w a s c o m i n g t o a l i t t l e B o s n i a t o w n b e c a u s e l i k e I w e n t t o t h e s t o r e s a n d i t w a s l i k e o h m y g o d a l l B o s n i a n f o o d s a n d s t u f f t h a t I h a d n t t a s t e d i n l i k e 1 0 y e a r s t h e y h a d i t t h e r e Jasmina remembers her whole family liking St. Louis; she remarked going to Wal mart, hearing Bosnian people talking its just weird cause youre just so used to being alone and just you, nobody else. While Jasmina appreciated hearing the Bosnian language and eating Bosnian food, she did not forge friendships with many Bosnians. She occasionally goes to Bosnian restaurants, but says I stick to American clubs if I go anywhere, American restaurants. She explained that her weight was a primary reason for this, as in Bosnia, its looked down upon, like me being overweig ht, its really looked down upon and considered unhealthy and lazy and just a horrible thing.
96 Jasmina reports both she and her brother primarily socialize with Americans, but her sister is very involved in the St. Louis Bosnian community. Jasmina descr ibes her sister: S h e j u s t m a r r i e d a B o s n i a n u h s h e o n l y g o e s t o B o s n i a n c l u b s y o u k n o w B o s n i a n m u s i c Y o u k n o w B o s n i a n s t y l e o f c l o t h i n g w h a t t h e y r e w e a r i n g y o u k n o w w h a t s i n s t y l e w i t h t h e B o s n i a n g r o u p s h e r e i n S t L o u i s s h e s r e a l l y i n v o l v e d i n t h a t a n d I m n o t Jasminas sister may have engaged more with the Bosnian community than Jasmina because of her time going to school in St. Louis; however Jasminas brother is also younger and she reports him to have predominately American friends. Alt hough the reasons for Jasmina and her siblings choices in involvement with other Bosnians are not fully explained, Jasminas descriptions of her and her sisters differing attitudes towards the Bosnian enclave demonstrate the role personal choice plays in acculturation. Indira was the only participant who came directly to St. Louis for resettlement. Although she went to school with a significant Bosnian population, she could not initially communicate very well as she was raised speaking Slovenian and kne w only bits of Bosnian. As stated earlier, Indira did not feel that she belonged in the Bosnian crowd, instead describing herself as one of the few people who actually ventured out of thegroup and kind of made friends with everybody around me. She d id not speak of having any Bosnian friends except for when she first started school in the US. At the time of the interview, she described her close friends as pretty mixed in ethnicity and nationality, adding that she doesnt consider a lot of people American anyways. She emphasized that it was not necessarily a desire to meet people from other cultures that motivated her development of a mixed group of friends, but rather a desire to learn about an individuals ideologies and beliefs. Indiras re luctance to make general
97 statements about a culture and her emphasis on making judgments on an individual basis was a common theme throughout the interview. Indiras parents wanted her to associate with Bosnians; Indira stated if I ever made friends outsi de of our culture, [my parents] were always scared of that culture that they did not know about. She gave the example of hiding that she was going out with a Somali friend as she knew her parents would object. Indira describes her parents fear as frust rating, explaining that it felt like I had to make friends from my culture, but then what is my culture, right? This last statement sums up Indiras feelings about the Bosnian ethnic enclave Indira questioned the very idea of being able to define her c ulture, and although Indiras parents felt connected to the Bosnian community, Indiras connection to the St. Louis Bosnian community and Bosnian culture was much weaker. V alues and Beliefs An individuals values and beliefs play a large role in sha ping their personal identity. I only asked the participants if there were value differences between the individual and her family, however statements indicating personal values and beliefs arose throughout each session. Since the participants were not sp ecifically asked about their primary values except in relation to their parents, and the responses arose in various contexts, the quotes presented do not represent a holistic view of the young womens value system but rather provides a limited glimpse into some of the participants attitudes. The participants focused on varying topics, specifically education, gender, family and nationalism.
98 As discussed earlier, Basia reported holding the same values as her parents. While insight into the values of the other participants often came up when talking about family relationships, Basia was less direct in explicating her values and beliefs. Despite this, Basias focus on education during the interview and final comments indicate she values education highly. At the end of the interview, when asked if she wanted to add anything, Basia responded: U m w e l l I t h i n k r i g h t n o w h e r e i n t h e U S m o r e a n d m o r e p e o p l e r e a l l y v a l u e e d u c a t i o n s o e v e r y b o d y s g o i n g t o s c h o o l a n d t h e p a r e n t s a r e l i k e y o u n e e d t o f i n i s h s c h o o l f i r s t t h a t s a l w a y s o n t h e p r i o r i t y I d o n t k n o w l i k e h e r e y o u h a v e a c h o i c e y o u c a n g o t o l i k e 2 y e a r s c h o o l s a n d t h e s e t h i n g s I n o u r c u l t u r e i t s l i k e n o m a k e s u r e y o u g o t o c o l l e g e a n d g r a d u a t e c a u s e y o u l l g e t a b e t t e r j o b a n d t h i n g s l i k e t h a t S o I t h i n k w e v a l u e e d u c a t i o n Basias focus on education throughout the interview in conjunction with her final remarks imply she highly values education. As for the future, Basia said, I definitely want to get married but I also want to, you know, have a good career. Although Basias values line up with those of her parents, her heavy discussion of education implies this is a central value to her, as well as to the Bosnian community. Jasminas explication of her values focused primarily on her views on gender roles and family. She described her views as conflicting with her parents opinions. When asked if her parents were pressuring her to get married, she laughed and replied Um, no they stopped. They did when I was 20, 21, because my mom had all three of us before she was 21. And Im just like, no way, theres no way I could have three kids right now. Jasmina continued, questioning the importance of a two parent family; t h e y v a l u e t h e w h o l e f a m i l y t h i n g l i k e t h e y w a n t u s t o g e t m a r r i e d T h e y d o n t w a n t u s t o g o l i v e w i t h s o m e b o d y a n d n o t b e m a r r i e d w h i c h l i k e I m o k w i t h t h a t L i k e I w o u l d n t h a v e a p r o b l e m j u s t m o v i n g i n w i t h a m a n b u t m y p a r e n t s w o u l d b e t o t a l l y a g a i n s t t h a t O r l i k e t h e f a c t t h a t I m s i n g l e I m 2 4 I m n o t e v e n t h i n k i n g o f a b o y f r i e n d n o w w h i c h t o t h e m i s c r a z y E v e r y d a y t h e y r e l i k e o h y o u n e e d t o l o s e w e i g h t s o y o u c a n g e t a b o y f r i e n d a n d I m l i k e I d o n t w a n t a b o y f r i e n d e v e n w h e n I d o l o s e w e i g h t I m s t i l l g o n n a f e e l t h e s a m e w a y T h e y d o n t u n d e r s t a n d t h a t T h e y w a n t m e t o g e t m a r r i e d a n d h a v e b a b i e s a n d b e t h e w o m a n i n t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p n o t b e s o i n d e p e n d e n t l i k e h o w I a m T h e y d o n t s e e t h a t T h e y t h i n k a w o m a n
99 s h o u l d b e a w o m a n y o u k n o w t h e t y p i c a l t h i n g a m a n s h o u l d p r o v i d e a w o m a n s h o u l d s t a y h o m e a n d t a k e c a r e o f t h e k i d s Jasminas priorities clearly differ from those of her parents. She describes her parents as placing a strong emphasis on marriage and children, while it does not seem to be an immediate concern for her. Jasminas discussion of marriage and family have been influenced by recent events in her family her sister was married a week before the interview, perhaps making the topic more salient for her. Her comments demonstrate a clear rejection of traditional gender roles which define women as caregivers and men as providers. In relation to gender roles, Jasmina also holds alternative views relating to family structure: e v e n i f I h a v e k i d s e v e n i f I h a v e t o g o y o u k n o w g e t k n o c k e d u p b y s o m e b o d y t o h a v e m y o w n k i d y o u k n o w I l l d o t h a t C a u s e y o u k n o w I w a n t t o h a v e k i d s b u t I d o n t n e c e s s a r i l y w a n t t o h a v e a m a n I m n o t a l i k e t h e y r e r e a l l y y o u h a v e t o h a v e a m a n i n t h e f a m i l y y o u h a v e t o b e m a r r i e d a n d I m l i k e n o y o u d o n t T h a t s n o t y o u k n o w t h i s i s A m e r i c a l i k e t h i s i s A m e r i c a y o u c a n d o w h a t e v e r y o u w a n t Although Jasmina mocked herself for using the clichd this is America phrase, she frames her views on family through the social norms of American society, while her parents fram e their views through Bosnian culture and personal experiences. Jasminas ambivalent attitude toward finding a boyfriend and getting married may be related to the negative perception she has of Bosnian norms regarding divorce: A n d a n o t h e r t h i n g I d o n t u h s e e e y e t o e y e l i k e i f a m a r r i a g e i s h a v i n g p r o b l e m s l i k e y o u k n o w h o w p e o p l e g e t d i v o r c e d h e r e t h e y d o n t d o t h a t i n B o s n i a N o T h e y w o r k i t o u t L i k e i f a w o m a n g e t s d i v o r c e d s h e s p r e t t y m u c h c o n s i d e r e d a w h o r e a n d i t s h e r f a u l t t h a t t h e m a r r i a g e e n d e d e v e n i f t h e h u s b a n d b e a t h e r a n d t r e a t e d h e r l i k e c r a p While the attitudes Jasmina expressed are decidedly more American than those of her parents, she also responded that she felt her family was closer than the average American family, or at least those she knew. She describes herself as being very close to her brother, but less so to her sister. She attributes this to the fact that her sister is more Bosnian oriented while she and her brother socialize primarily with Americans.
100 Jasmi nas interview revealed many values and beliefs that conflict with her parents values and what she perceives as Bosnian norms; however Jasmina does express valuing certain Bosnian traditions, such as medicinal remedies and closeness of family. Indiras e xpressions of her values and beliefs covered topics of gender, nationalism and religion. Indira was very passionate about some of the topics, especially her distaste for nationalism and national identities. She takes a selective approach to navigating be tween cultures, using a take it or leave it strategy: I f o n e c u l t u r e h a s s o m e t h i n g g o o d I t a k e t h a t a n d l e a v e t h e b a d a n d i f t h e o t h e r c u l t u r e h a s s o m e t h i n g g o o d I l l t a k e t h a t a n d l e a v e t h e b a d L i k e i n B o s n i a n c u l t u r e a l o t o f t h e t i m e s w o m e n a r e e x p e c t e d t o c o o k a n d c l e a n a n d a l l o f t h a t T h a t s o n e p a r t I m l e t t i n g g o Y o u k n o w w h a t I m e a n ? Y o u k n o w A m e r i c a n c u l t u r e w o m e n a r e w e c a n g e t e d u c a t e d a n d y o u k n o w t h e r e s t h e w h o l e f e m i n i s t s t r e a k w h e r e y o u w a n t e q u a l r i g h t s a n d y o u w a n t t o s u c c e e d a n d y o u w a n t t o h a v e y o u r o w n c a r e e r a n d t h a t s w h a t I m g o i n g t o w a r d s Like Jasmina, Indira rejects traditional gender roles and values her independence. While Jasmina spoke extensively of her views on gender roles and family, Indiras comments were limited to the above quote. Instead, Indira spent a significant portion of the interview speaking of her views on nationalism. Her comments were initially elicited when asked if she planned to stay in the US: U m I a m a b s o l u t e l y a g a i n s t n a t i o n a l i s m a n d I l o v e t o t r a v e l i n t h a t s a m e s e n s e I w o u l d l o v e t o g o w h e r e v e r i s b e s t f o r m e B o s n i a i s d e f i n i t e l y o u t o f t h e q u e s t i o n o r S l o v e n i a b e c a u s e o f t h e t e n s i o n t h e r e a n d t h e i d e o l o g y I I j u s t c a n t d e a l w i t h n a t i o n a l i s m I t s j u s t o n e t h i n g t h a t I r e a l l y a b h o r When asked if she thought her attitude was a product of the war, she replied, I d o n t t h i n k i t s f r o m t h e w a r I t h i n k i t s o n c e I c a m e h e r e I v e s e e n s o m a n y p r o b l e m s a r i s e b e t w e e n m e a n d m y f r i e n d s a n d m y f a m i l y a n d a l o t o f t h o s e h a v e t o d o w i t h n a t i o n a l i s m Y o u k n o w b e f o r e I c h a n g e d m y m a j o r I u s e d t o s t u d y i n t e r n a t i o n a l r e l a t i o n s a n d e v e n t h o u g h i t s k i n d o f u s e [ l e s s ? ] n o w A n d i n t h a t s e n s e I m g l a d t h a t I d i d b e c a u s e i t h e l p e d m e w i t h a l l o f t h a t a n g e r I t r e a l l y e a s y t o b e r e i n e d i n t o t h e w h o l e n a t i o n a l i s t i c c i r c l e a n d t o v i e w y o u r c r o w d a s t h e g o o d p e o p l e a n d t h e v i c t i m a n d t h e r e s t o f t h e p e o p l e a s t h e p e r p e t r a t o r s a n d e v i l m o n s t e r s A n d y o u k n o w p e o p l e d o n t e v e n r e a l i z e b e i n g t h a t t h e y r e b e i n g u s e d b y p o l i t i c i a n s h e r e a n d e v e r y w h e r e e l s e a r o u n d t h e w o r l d A n d j u s t w h e n i t c o m e s t o s o m e t h i n g l i k e n a t i o n a l i s m a n d r e l i g i o n a n d a n y t h i n g e l s e t h a t b o n d s p e o p l e t o g e t h e r I t h i n k t h a t i t c a n b e a b e a u t i f u l t h i n g b u t m o s t o f t h e t i m e p e o p l e i n t e r p r e t i t a n d c o n s t r u e i t a s s o m e t h i n g c o m p l e t e l y b a d I d o n t c a r e a s l o n g a s I m h a p p y I d o n t c a r e w h e r e I a m
101 While Indiras stance against nationalism could be seen as a result of living through a period when nationalist politics incited genocide, she instead bases her attitude on her experiences w ith nationalism in the US. Her comments on nationalism correspond with her description of her social network; she described feeling that she never felt [she] belonged with to the Bosnian crowd while having a pretty mixed group of friends in terms of n ationality. Indira was the only participant to describe religion as major part of her life. She described her decision to begin practicing Islam, which created a large rift in her relationship with her parents. She describes her parents as communisti c Muslims and concerned with her newfound religiosity: Y e a h U m m i t s b e t t e r n o w b u t j u s t a y e a r a g o y o u k n o w I u s e d t o b e v e r y r e l i g i o u s I v e i l e d I y o u k n o w p r a c t i c e d I s l a m a n d e v e r y t h i n g v b u t t h e y d i d n t p r a c t i c e A n d t h e y g o t s c a r e d a n d t h e y w e r e c o m p l e t e l y o f f e n d e d b y i t a n d t h e y w o u l d n o t e v e n t a l k a b o u t i t t h e y w a n t e d t o p u t m e o u t o f t h e h o u s e b e c a u s e o f i t a n d s o She describes both her motivation to practice Islam and the source of the concern and fear her parents and others expre ssed when she became visibly religious: U m m y o u k n o w i t h a d n o t h i n g t o d o w i t h a n y t h i n g f r o m t h e o u t s i d e I m e a n i t h a d t o d o w i t h w h a t w a s o n t h e o u t s i d e b u t i t w a s m o r e t h a t I a l w a y s t h o u g h t o f r e l i g i o n a s s o m e t h i n g t h a t w a s v e r y b e a u t i f u l y o u k n o w ? A n d a n y r e l i g i o n w a s v e r y b e a u t i f u l a n d j u s t i t m a d e s e n s e y o u k n o w ? D o i n g t h i n g s a c t i v e l y f o r y o u r s o u l a n d f o r y o u r o w n w e l l b e i n g i t w a s a l m o s t l i k e y o u k n o w t h i n g s t h e n m o r e m e d i t a t i n g Y o u k n o w w h a t I m e a n ? A n d y o u k n o w t o m o s t o f t h e o t h e r p e o p l e i t w a s s o m e t h i n g e x t e r n a l b e c a u s e t h e y s a w m e d r e s s t h e o t h e r w a y y o u k n o w A d i f f e r e n t w a y T h e y s a w m e g o a n d p r a y f i v e t i m e s a d a y a l l o f a s u d d e n Y o u k n o w t h e y w e r e c o m p l e t e l y o f f e n d e d b y t h a t b e c a u s e t h e y t h o u g h t t h a t I w a s t r y i n g t o i n f l u e n c e e v e r y o n e a r o u n d m e a n d i t w a s n t a t a l l a b o u t e x t e r n a l t h i n g s i t w a s m o r e t h e i n t e r n a l Indira describes how her religiosity stemmed from an internal desire to take care of her soul and express spirituality. Her comments indicate that she received negative reactions from her parents and others because they perceived her religious practice to be a result of ideological and political influence, while others felt she was trying to influence those
102 around her. While Indiras parents w ere not interviewed, it is possible that their fear stemmed from not only their communistic Muslim background but also their experiences in former Yugoslavia, where ethnic identities were based on religious grounds. Additionally, there may have been con cern about discrimination and mistreatment due to the anti Muslim sentiments in America in the wake of September 11, 2001. In spite of the lack of information on the exact source of the fear and mistrust elicited by Indiras decision to practice Islam, sh e makes it very clear that her decision to become religious was for primarily personal reasons. At the time of the interview, Indira was not actively practicing Islam but described her self as very religious and spiritual. The negative reaction she received from her parents undoubtedly affected her decision to stop being visibly religious through refraining from veiling and praying five times a day. By stopping her active practice of Islam, Indira was able to at least partially repair the rift with her parents while maintaining her spirituality. The Complex ities of Identity In this section, I will present Basia, Jasmina and Indiras comments on their national and ethnic identities, as well as the nature of identity and ways in which it is articul ated. A personal identity can be comprised of many aspects, including their gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, occupation, capabilities and familial roles just to name a few. In this sense, it is inappropriate to claim that any one of these many identit ies can define a person, or that a persons identity can be defined by simply adding up a list of labels. For the purposes of this thesis, I explore each womans description of her identity
103 in relationship to Yugoslavia and the Bosnian enclave in St. Loui s. While this does not present a complete portrait of the womens identities, my goal is to demonstrate some of the complexities of identity formation in the 1.5 generation in respect to ethnicity and nationality. As ethnic identities are created and main tained to create boundaries between groups, entrance into a new country or society entails encountering new boundaries and thus taking on new identities. The Bosnian identity is a recent construction that arose in the 1990s. Basia and her family went f rom being identified as Muslim or Yugoslavian in Bosnia, to Bosnian, and refugee in the United States. These identities situate the individual in relation to dominant American society, but may not resonate for refugees of the Bosnian War. Basia s interview brought up the problematic action of articulating ones personal identity. Of the three participants, Basia was the most connected to Bosnia and Bosnian culture in St. Louis. Basia had indicated earlier in the interview that she felt connect ed to both Bosnia and America; when asked if she would call herself Bosnian American, she replied yes. When I inquired if she felt Bosnian and American on the inside she again replied yes. When I asked if she would say, Im Bosnian, she also replied yes, clarifying by stating W e l l I d o n t k n o w c a u s e i t d e p e n d s o n t h e c o n t e x t A n d p e o p l e a l w a y s l i k e w h e n I m h e r e a n d t h e y a s k m e f o r m y n a m e I t e l l t h e m m y n a m e a n d t h e y r e l i k e O h w h e r e i s t h a t f r o m ? y o u k n o w a n d I g o I t s f r o m B o s n i a a n d t h e y s a y o h y o u r B o s n i a n ? a n d I m l i k e y e a h I a m s o I g u e s s I d o While at first Basia replied that she would call herself Bosnian American as well as Bosnian, she later contradicted this statement when I asked if her parents would say Im Bosnian;
104 I t h i n k e v e n u h o u r g e n e r a t i o n t h e y s a y B o s n i a n t o o b e c a u s e I h a v e n t r e a l l y h e a r d t h e t e r m B o s n i a n A m e r i c a n r e a l l y e v e r s o b u t n o w e p r e t t y m u c h i f s o m e b o d y a s k s i t s I m B o s n i a n l i k e I h a v e U S c i t i z e n s h i p b u t I m B o s n i a n Basias comments displ ay the complex and contextual nature of describing ones national and ethnic identity. Although she said she would call herself Bosnian American initially, in practice the description is not as clear cut. While Basia reported sometimes using the Bosnian identity, she showed some hesitation in ascribing to this label. Basias comments indicate that the hyphenated identity is not commonly verbalized; instead, she describes a more nuanced reply to the question of what are you, speaking of her Bosnian ide ntity and qualifying it with her US citizenship status. Basias comments on her articulation of identity suggest that the labels of Bosnian, American and Bosnian American do not convey her self conception. Jasminas comments on her national/ethnic identity reveal the temporal nature of self identity. This discussion revealed a strong fear of being identified as Bosnian in school; however she also describes how time and age changed her feelings about Bosnia and being Bosnian in the US. She states, I was just scared, like from the beginning, how everybody was treating me differently, to even tell anybody Im Bosnian or that I came from the country. The fear she remembers of being identified as Bosnian served as a primary factor in Jasminas choic e of speech patterns. Jasminas negative experiences with peers in school directly affected her speech patterns, as well as her feelings about being Bosnian. She describes her motivation for losing her accent during high school in Oklahoma: G o i n g t o s c h o o l w a s b a d a g a i n b e c a u s e b a c k t h e n I h a d a h u g e a c c e n t I d i d n t t a l k r i g h t l i k e u h m y E n g l i s h w a s n t f i l l e d y o u k n o w l i k e y o u s e e p e o p l e h e r e w i t h b r o k e n E n g l i s h A n d I t h i n k t h a t s w h y I r e a l l y d o n t h a v e a n a c c e n t c a u s e i t w a s l i k e I h a d t o f i t i n B e c a u s e y o u k n o w i f I d i d n t i t w a s b a d t h e y m a d e f u n o f m e t h e y m a d e f u n o f m e a n y w a y s e v e n t h o u g h e v e n t h o u g h
105 I g o t g o o d a t E n g l i s h a n d u n d e r s t o o d e v e r y t h i n g I d i d n t t a l k f o r a l o n g t i m e L i k e o n l y i f I w a s s p o k e n t o I w o u l d a n s w e r y e s o r n o o r s o m e t h i n g v e r y s h o r t Jasmina describes the isolation caused by her accent, and directly attributes her lack of an accent to her negative experiences with school peers. While Jasmina was not necessarily teased for being Bosnian, she was harassed about he r accent and lack of English proficiency. Under these conditions, it is unsurprising that Jasmina sought to avoid speaking and lost her accent, as this prevented some, but not all, of the bullying she experienced in school. While Jasminas description ma kes it clear that her peers teased her because of her language and status as a foreigner, for Jasmina this taunting was directly related to her Bosnian identity. Jasminas feelings about her Bosnian identity did not remain static; instead, she describes f eeling more comfortable with being Bosnian as she aged, explaining, In high school a few more people knew I was Bosnian so I think the old er I got, the more I was like, Y eah I m Bosnian, get over it, so what and by the time I graduated I didnt really care. She continued, providing an example of how she handles questions about her ethnicity in social situations: W h e n p e o p l e w o u l d f i n d o u t t h a t I w a s y o u k n o w B o s n i a n i t s j u s t w e i r d I t s l i k e e v e n t o d a y I w a s t e l l i n g t h e g i r l d o w n s t a i r s u m I m i n c o l l e g e n o w a n d s o m e b o d y s a i d O h y o u r e M e x i c a n r i g h t ? t o m e b e c a u s e I m d a r k e r a n d s t u f f a n d I w a s l i k e N o n o I m B o s n i a n b e c a u s e n o w I d o n t c a r e b e c a u s e I m g r o w n a n d n o w I k n o w p e o p l e a r e g o i n g t o b e i g n o r a n t i t d o e s n t m a t t e r y o u k n o w y o u g e t o v e r i t A n d t h e s e t w o g i r l s b e h i n d m e w e r e l i k e O h y o u r e B o s n i a n ? l i k e I w a s l i k e t h e d e a t h c o m i n o r s o m e t h i n g a n d I w a s l i k e Y e a h I m B o s n i a n a n d t h e y w e r e l i k e O h o k a y k i n d a a l l n a s t y a n d s n o o t y a n d I w a s j u s t l i k e w h a t e v e r g r o w u p Whi le negative interactions with peers were undoubtedly more pronounced when Jasmina was in high school, she still encounters negative or ambiguous reactions to her Bosnian identity. She has accepted that these negative interactions will occur at times in he r life, but as an adult is able to brush off these encounters and dismiss negative comments. Jasminas description of her feelings about her Bosnian identity mirror her
106 reflections on visiting Bosnia; as a teenager she tried to hide her foreignness and vo wed never to return to Bosnia, but as she has moved into adulthood she has come to terms with aspects of her Bosnian heritage and expresses a desire to visit her country of birth. When asked if she felt more connected to the United States or Bosnia, Ja smina replied: T h e U S C a u s e y o u k n o w I g r e w u p l i k e I w a s 1 0 s o I g u e s s I a m t h e w a y I a m b e c a u s e I m h e r e I f I w a s a n y w h e r e e l s e I w o u l d s a y t h a t I w o u l d b e a w e a k e r p e r s o n I w o u l d n t b e a s s t r o n g a s I m n o t I d o n t w a n n a s a y I m a s t r o n g w o m e n o r s o m e t h i n g l i k e t h a t y o u k n o w n o b o d y s r e a l l y p e r f e c t b u t I w o u l d n t b e a s s t r o n g I w o u l d n t k n o w a s m u c h a s I k n o w I w o u l d n t b e a s c a u t i o u s a n d a s w i s e a b o u t t h i n g s Jasmina provided a quick and definite response, indicating a clear identification with the US over Bosnia. Her statement includes reference to the recurring themes of independence and rejection of traditional gender roles, which she attributes to her time in the US. In terms of her connection to Bosnian culture, Jasmina only referred to enjoying Bosnian food and music. Of the three participants, Jasmina was the most American oriented in terms of her description of social networks, values and self identification. Indiras discussion of national identity reveals strong sentiment s on the nature of identity in general. When asked if she felt connected to either Slovenia or Bosnia, Indira replied, Y e a h I f e e l c o n n e c t e d t o i t o n l y b e c a u s e I u s e d t o l i v e t h e r e I d o n t f e e l l i k e I s a i d I h a t e n a t i o n a l i s m y o u k n o w s o I m n o t a t a l l I d o n t c a l l m y s e l f B o s n i a n o r S l o v e n i a n o r A m e r i c a n o r a n y o f t h a t y o u k n o w I r e f u s e t o b e l o n g t o o n e r e g i o n I t d r i v e s m e c r a z y t o t r y t o d o t h a t After acknowledging her opposition to using a national identity, I inquired if she felt more connected to one culture or another, to which she replied, I w o u l d s a y t h a t I f e e l a l i t t l e b i t m o r e c o n n e c t e d t o A m e r i c a n c u l t u r e j u s t b e c a u s e u m y o u k n o w A m e r i c a n c u l t u r e d o e s n t n e c e s s a r i l y h a v e t o b e A m e r i c a n A m e r i c a n i t c a n a l s o b e a n y t h i n g s o t h a t s t h e o n l y r e a s o n w h y I m s a y i n g t h a t b u t o t h e r t h a n t h a t I I f e e l l i k e i t s c o m p l e t e l y m i x e d ; i t s s o j u m b l e d u p t h a t p r o b a b l y e v e n a p s y c h i a t r i s t c o u l d n t f i g u r e i t o u t
107 While Indira reported feeling a little more connected to American culture, she qualified this statement by stating American culture can be anything. She described the influence of American, Slovenian and Bosnian culture as inseparable, further explaining, It' s not something that you, like, think about every day. Yeah, I mean I do what I do. If one culture has something good, I take that and leave the bad, and if the other culture has something good, I' ll take that and leave the bad. Throughout the interview, Indira often emphasized that she did not want her experiences an d opinions generalized to a larger community. I m e a n j u s t y o u k n o w j u s t g e n e r a l i t s d i f f e r e n t f o r e v e r y p e r s o n y o u k n o w ? B e t w e e n m y s e l f a n d a l l m y f a m i l y m e m b e r s t h e d i f f e r e n c e t h a t w e h a v e h a s n o t h i n g t o d o w i t h a g e o r g e n d e r o r a n y t h i n g e l s e i t a l l h a s t o d o w i t h t h e w a y t h a t e a c h o n e o f u s t h i n k s a n d t h e d i f f e r e n t p e r c e p t i o n s t h a t e a c h o n e o f u s i s b r o u g h t i n t o t h i s c o u n t r y While speaking about my research, she exclaimed, It gets very tiring for people to expect you to act a certain way just because you came here when you were so and so old, you know? Indiras comments demonstrate her firm stance in keeping judgments and characterizations on the individual level, at one point stating, Culture, I see it as a stereotype, does that make sens e? conveying her emphasis on individual variation within an assortment of groups defined nationally, ethnically, or otherwise. On Being 1.5 As qualitative research on the 1.5 generation is scarce compared to empirical research, I asked the participants what they felt were commonly shared characteristics of the 1.5 generation. As none of the women were familiar with the phrase, I first defined the term; none of the participants indicated they were familiar with the definition or knew
108 of another term to describe the immigrant and refugee youth generation. The women drew from various personal experiences and observations to characterize, rather than define, features of the 1.5 generation experience. Basia first remarked upon the shared experience of fl ight, I g u e s s w e j u s t s h a r e t h a t e x p e r i e n c e o f h a v i n g t o m o v e a n d l e a v e e v e r y t h i n g b e h i n d A n d m o s t o f u s d i d n t c o m e s t r a i g h t t o t h e U S m o s t o f u s w e n t s o m e w h e r e e l s e f o r [ a w h i l e ] S o m o s t o f u s s p e a k a d i f f e r e n t l a n g u a g e i t m i g h t n o t b e G e r m a n y p e o p l e w e n t a l l o v e r t h e p l a c e I t a l y l i k e e v e r y w h e r e While not all immigrants have the experience of sudden and unexpected migration, as refugees do, there remains the collective occurrence of leaving behind the familiar physical, social and cultural worlds of their homes to travel to an new country. For refugees in particular, this frequently entails the leaving behind material possessions of personal significance, thus losing physical connections to the country of origin. Additionally, her comments promp t consideration of the fact that migration of immigrants and refugees most often entails moving through multiple countries or regions to reach their destination. Basia continued, discussing how members of the 1.5 generation are often forced to grow up too quickly: I t h i n k w e k i n d o f h a d t o g r o w u p b e f o r e o u r t i m e W e d i d n t r e a l l y h a v e m u c h o f a c h i l d h o o d I m e a n o u r p a r e n t s t r y t o m a k e i t a s m u c h a s t h e y c o u l d y o u k n o w f o r u s b u t w h e n y o u c o m e t o a n e w p l a c e y o u h a v e t o l e a r n a l l t h e s e n e w t h i n g s I m e a n y o u d o n t h a v e t i m e t o g o p l a y a r o u n d I d o n t k n o w s o I t h i n k t h a t s w h a t w e a l l s h a r e d Basias observations on the 1.5 generation describe how the pressures of learning a new language and adjusting to a new country, all while helping family m embers with the same tasks, forces children to take on responsibilities they may not be ready for.
109 During the interviews Basia was the only participant to discuss the 2 n d generation in comparison to her generation. She described the American born child ren of Bosnian refugees as having less connection to Bosnian culture: T h e p e o p l e w h o h a v e b e e n b o r n h e r e a r e o f c o u r s e y o u n g e r a n d t h e y d o n t r e a l l y k n o w u n l e s s t h e i r p a r e n t s t a k e t h e m b a c k t o o u r c o u n t r y t h e y d o n t k n o w a n y t h i n g a b o u t o u r c u l t u r e t h e y h a v e a r e a l l y h a r d t i m e s p e a k i n g o u r l a n g u a g e m o s t o f t h e m d o n t k n o w h o w t o r e a d o r w r i t e i n B o s n i a n I m e a n t h e y c a l l t h i s h o m e t h e y v e b e e n b o r n h e r e a n d t h e y h a v e m u c h m o r e t i m e l i k e I s a i d t h e y h a d m o r e t i m e f o r t h e i r c h i l d h o o d j u s t t o b e y o u k n o w k i d s A n d w i t h s o m e o f t h e [ o l d e r ] k i d s l i k e t h e y r e a l l y w e n t t h r o u g h s o m e t r a u m a t i c e x p e r i e n c e s w h e n t h e y w e r e y o u n g e r Basia views the 2 n d generation as less connected to Bosnian culture, but also fortunate for the experience of an uninterrupted childhood. Although Basias comments allude to her personal feelings about losing a part of her childhood, she discussed this in a practical rather than resentful manner, showing acceptance of her perhaps less than perfect adolescent years. Jasminas re sponse to my question about the characteristics of the 1.5 generation focused on parenting style, basing her remarks upon personal experiences: T h e w a y t h e y r a i s e u s i s t o t a l l y d i f f e r e n t W e l l i n B o s n i a i t w a s o k t o b e a t y o u r k i d s L i k e t h e y w o u l d w h o o p t h e s e r i o u s l y a n d h e r e t h a t s n o t a l l o w e d A n d s o m y p a r e n t s h a d a h a r d t i m e w i t h u s b e c a u s e t h e y d i d n t k n o w h o w t o d i s c i p l i n e u s c a u s e t h e y w e r e d i s c i p l i n e d t h e s a m e w a y S o t h a t s o n e o f t h e b i g g e s t t h i n g s I v e s e e n a n d I k n o w t h a t s i n e v e r y c u l t u r e t h a t c o m e s I t s n o t j u s t B o s n i a n s b e c a u s e I v e h a d f r i e n d s a n d t h e y w o u l d c o m e i n b r u i s e d u p a n d l i k e M y m o m w h o o p e d m y a s s N o w i t s a s h o c k b e c a u s e t h a t s n o t a l l o w e d i n A m e r i c a I v e s e e n p e o p l e l i k e c a l l t h e c o p s o n t h e i r p a r e n t s Jasminas comments speak not only to Bosnian refugees, but many immigrant groups in the United States. Parents must cope with a repertoire of parenting styles and disciplinary methods that become limited, sometimes even illegal, when entering a new culture and soc iety. This in turn affects not only parent child relationships, but can also play a large role in shaping the life of the child and the self conception of the parent. Indiras response was again on a personal level and based upon personal experiences wit h her parents and sister. Although not in response to my question on the
110 1.5 generation in general, she echoed Basias sentiments of children growing up too fast. She discusses a time during 6 t h grade when she struggled with a bout of depression, I g o t b a d g r a d e s a n d e v e r y t h i n g j u s t w e n t d o w n h i l l y o u k n o w A n d i t w a s m e b a s i c a l l y n o t c a r i n g a n y m o r e A t s o m e p o i n t y o u j u s t f e e l l i k e y o u r e b r o k e n y o u k n o w w h a t I m e a n ? Y o u j u s t f e e l l i k e n o t h i n g e v e n m a t t e r s a n y m o r e I m e a n y o u r p a r e n t s a r e d e p r e s s e d y o u r p a r e n t s a r e t e l l i n g y o u t h i n g s t h a t c o n t r a d i c t w h a t y o u v e b e e n t a u g h t b e f o r e b y t h e s e s a m e p e o p l e W h e n e v e r y o u g o h o m e t h e y a l w a y s t a l k t o y o u a b o u t b i l l s b i l l s b i l l s a n d t h e p a s t a n d p o l i t i c s a n d a l l t h e s t u f f t h a t n o e l e v e n o r t w e l v e y e a r o l d w a n t s t o k n o w a b o u t A n d t h a t e n d s u p b e i n g l i k e y o u h a v e t h i s k i n d o f s o c i a l g r o u p t h a t n o o n e p r o b a b l y s h o u l d a t t h a t p o i n t Indiras recollections present a personal example of Basias observation that 1.5 generation individuals are often forced to m ature very quickly, taking on responsibilities and coping with knowledge that is not age appropriate. While Indiras early years in the US were marked by depression, she thinks of her age of arrival as a positive factor: I t h i n k t h a t i t w a s b e n e f i c i a l f o r m e t o c o m e i n a n e a r l y a g e b e c a u s e I f e l t d e v e l o p e d e n o u g h b y t h e c u l t u r e h e r e w h e n I c a m e h e r e I d i d n t q u i t e a d a p t b u t I w a s a l s o a b l e t o v e r y e a s i l y a d a p t t o t h e c u l t u r e t h a t w a s o v e r h e r e a n d w h a t I w a s e x p e c t i n g t o b e o v e r h e r e O n c e y o u g r o w u p o n c e y o u r e k i n d o f l i k e m y s i s t e r s a g e i t b e c o m e s h a r d e r a n d h a r d e r t o s e e y o u r s e l f y o u k n o w b e c o m f o r t a b l e i n d e v e l o p i n g y o u r o w n c u l t u r e a n d n o t n e c e s s a r i l y g o i n g w i t h e i t h e r / o r Indiras insightful comments indicate she felt more flexible and c omfortable in her identity than her sister, who struggled more with reconciling seemingly opposed identities. Indira on the other hand was able to forge a conception of herself beyond the Bosnian/American dichotomy. Conclusion In this chapter I have exp lored Basia, Jasmina and Indiras attitudes toward Bosnia, the Bosnian ethnic enclave and their own ethnic identity. Although the women share the experiences of forced migration, resettlement and cultural adjustment, each woman held unique perceptions of and reactions to these conditions. Returning to Benedict Anderson (2006), many of the statements presented in this chapter relate to each womans decisions about membership in the Bosnian, American, Bosnian American and
111 Bosnian in America imagined communi ties. Incorporating Barth (1969), the womens decisions about these imagined communities are shaped by their perceptions of ethnic boundaries and the benefits and limitations offered within these boundaries. By presenting the womens comments, I hope to have imparted a multidimensional perspective of the role of individual autonomy in acculturation and identity formation without viewing this process in a vacuum by losing sight of objective, external conditions. I concur with Mosselson (2006a) that this m ultidimensional view of identity formation is most useful as it allows for the incorporation of a wide array of variables while maintaining focus on individual attitudes and actions. I will continue my discussion of the identities of the three participant s in the next chapter, which will integrate previous scholarship with my findings.
112 CHAPTER V I: SCHOLARSHIP REV ISITED In Chapter Two, I provided a brief review of scholarship relating to immigrant acculturation, refugees and the 1.5 generation. In Chap ters Four and Five, I presented comments from the participants in my study that pertain to their acculturation process, family dynamics and identity formation. I now revisit to the scholarship detailed in Chapter Two and apply it to my data. In this chap ter, I will examine the interview data presented in Chapters Four and Five and look for some conclusions regarding the issues of immigration, acculturation, refugees and the 1.5 generation discussed in Chapter Two. By integrating my data with established research, my goal in part is to identify any supporting or contradictory evidence. I will attempt to provide insight to the individual experiences of issues quantitative data addresses and identify trends in the 1.5 generation experience, while emphasizin g the importance of acknowledging the individual variation of experiences among immigrants. I will additionally discuss the implications of these findings for policies and programs utilized by immigrant and refugee service providers. Jacqueline Mosselson s (2006a) research with Bosnian refugee in youth guides much of my approach and analysis, however application of her typology is inappropriate for my study. The participants in Mosselsons study were between 16 and 24 at the time of the interview, had be en in the US for five years or less and had access to a sizeable Bosnian community in New York City. The participants in my study, however, were between the ages of 20 and 24 at the time of the interview, had been in the US for 11 years or more and had va rying access to Bosnian communities during their time in the
113 US. As the participants in Mosselsons study differ in demographic and situational context from my study, attempting to place the participants in my study in her framework is impractical and ina ppropriate. One of the primary problems in applying Mosselsons typologies to my study is that two of the three rooting categories reference the possibility to return to Bosnia. Some of her participants did not have permanent asylum in the US, so the p ossibility of returning to Bosnia or moving elsewhere was salient for her participants. In the three interviews I conducted, it was clear that the participants did not entertain the notion of moving to Bosnia, most likely due to their legal status, earlie r age of arrival and longer period of time spent in the US. Indira explicitly state she would not return, Jasmina expressed a desire to visit, but not live in, the country, and Basia the woman who appears most connected to the Bosnian community in St. Lou is stated that she could not really see herself living there. The differences in between Mosselsons study and this thesis are great enough to prevent application of her typology to my participants, however I do use aspects of her multidimensional theoret ical grounding to lead my analysis. Acculturation A multitude of competing theories regarding immigrant assimilation and acculturation have developed over the last century. My study cannot directly attest to the earlier processual models of scholars suc h as Park (1928) and Warner and Srole (1945), as these models involve multi generational processes and I only spoke to members of the 1.5 generation. Despite this, numerous scholars (see Rumbaut 1997; Zhou 1997; Sanders 2002) have detailed the weaknesses of the traditional models, especially in terms of the
114 tendency for said models to cast ethnic enclaves and social networks in a negative light. While the models developed in the 1960s proved successful in acknowledging the positive influence of ethnic enc laves and social networks on overall well being of immigrants, these theories continued to rely on one way processual models ending eventually in full assimilation. The interviews did not demonstrate evidence of Portes and Zhous (1993) theory of segmen ted assimilation; the three women showed no signs of a n d generation decline as they all pursued higher education and held jobs. The success of the young women in this study can be attributed to a variety of structural and demographic factors, includin g the presence of an ethnic enclave, being Caucasian, their 1.5 generation and refugee status as well as each womans personal motivations. My research, as well as that of others (Park 1999; Zhou 1997; Mosselson 2006a; Haines 2007) demonstrates that ethni c identity and relationships to ethnic social networks cannot be reduced to positive or negative designations, but instead greatly depend upon the particular circumstances and attitudes of the individual. Basias remarks indicate she was helped greatly b y the Bosnian community in her early years in the US and continues to socialize with Bosnians, while Indira did not feel comfortable with her Bosnian peers and elected to associate with individuals of other nationalities. Jasmina did not have access to th e St. Louis Bosnian community until age 18, and therefore was not able to make choices about her relationship to an enclave until living nearly half her life in the US. This example of constructing relationships to the ethnic enclave demonstrates how indi vidual decision making and attitudes interacts with objective, structural conditions.
115 I believe my interview findings most strongly support multidimensional models of acculturation. The comments elicited from Basia, Jasmina and Indira demonstrate the va rious structural, cultural and individual factors at play during adjustment, such as proximity to an ethnic enclave, family structures and dynamics, and cultural and personal values, attitudes and beliefs. In this case, the multidimensional approach is mo st appropriate as it can account for both external and internal factors in acculturation. The three women articulated many aspects of their identity, ethnic and otherwise, during the interviews; however, none of the participants presented the holistic, c ohesive and consistent sense of ethnic identity which processual models label as the goal of acculturation (Yeh and Hwang 2000). Instead, the women discussed ambiguities in their ethnic identities; even Basia, who appears to be the most connected to the Bosnian enclave and culture, expressed contradictions in the way she thought of herself (as both Bosnian and American) and the manner in which she communicates her identity to others (Im Bosnian). Jasminas description of her increasing desire to visi t Bosnia as she ages additionally demonstrates the fluidity of identity. According to traditional stage assimilation models, this would be a step backward, but Jasminas statements indicate her increased acknowledgement of her Bosnian identity has been a positive change in her life. While empirical studies focus on factors such as language proficiency, ethnic enclaves and educational achievement and attainment to depict the immigrant and refugee experience in the US, I advocate viewing the cause and effe ct of these factors as the result of individual choices and interaction with structural, cultural and social forces amid the backdrop of a pluralist American society. Furthermore, I argue against the use
116 of processual models, which assume that acculturati on and identity formation is a linear, unbroken and one way process. Instead, I believe multidimensional models such as those of Mosselson (2006a) and Yeh and Hwang (2000) are more flexible and appropriate, as they allow for backward steps as well as j umps over steps. A multidimensional approach best accounts for the contradictions and variations the participants in my study expressed in relation to their acculturation experience and identity. The use of multidimensional approaches in further resear ch is needed to guide immigrant and refugee policies and programs. Expanding the academic discourse on acculturation and identity formation to include multidimensional perspectives provides the data needed to develop, institute and evaluate best practices for immigrant and refugee service providers. This dialog between academics and service providers is essential for the creation of policies and programs that can help improve immigrant and refugee lives. Education Basia, Jasmina and Indiras descriptio ns of their academic experiences in the US fall in line with most empirical and qualitative data on immigrant and refugee educational attainment. In spite of early difficulties due to language barriers and culture shock, the three women all reported recei ving good grades in school, finding school in the US to be easier than in Yugoslavia. Their reports concur with research demonstrating high academic achievement among the 1.5 generation (Zhou 1997; Rumbaut 2004; Mosselson 2006) and refugee youth (Kaprieli an Churchill and Churchill 1994 and Jones and Rutter 1998 as cited in Mosselson 2006). Additionally, all three participants were either
117 attending or had graduated college at the time of the interview. Each of the women seemed to value education, with Bas ia as the strongest example. Although the participants did not go into detail on why they valued education, there attitude toward academics reinforces the findings of Mosselsons (2006a) study, in which teenage Bosnian refugees described education as impo rtant because knowledge can never be taken away, even in the event of unexpected transience. Although the participants described performing well academically in school, this did not necessarily translate into positive relationships with peers and overall mental health. As Jasmina had an especially difficult time in school while at the same time achieving high grades, it is relevant to discuss Mosselsons (2006a, 2007) extension of Gilligan et al.s (1990) concept of masks of achievement, which posits hi gh academic performance can serve as a disguise for depression, adjustment problems and PTSD in refugees. The interviews indicated no clear evidence of Mosselsons (2006a, 2007) and Gilligan et al.s (1990) theories, but also did not indicate any contradi ctory evidence. Although Jasmina performed academically well in middle and high school while reporting a generally negative social experience, she did not link the two experiences during the interview. Unless clearly stated by a participant, evidence of masks of achievement in refugees is difficult to attain due to the interaction factors of culture, individual aptitude and attitude, parental expectations and former schooling experiences, among others. Despite the lack of evidence for or against masks of achievement, my study contributes to other research (Gilligan et al. 1990; Mosselson 2006a) that has shown that academic success does not always correlate to overall well being. Based on the evidence discussed, I endorse concern and intervention in s ituations where youth
118 display academic problems in school, but advocate against viewing academic success as an indicator of successful cultural adjustment or overall well being in refugee and immigrant youth. Cultural Brokers Performing the role of a cul tural broker is a common feature of the 1.5 generation experience. Unlike the 2 n d generation, 1.5 generation children experience the initial culture shock with their family. Depending on the situation, parents of 2 n d generation children may also have m ore exposure to US culture and the English language because of time already spent in the US, thus perhaps requiring a lesser degree of assistance from their children. As children usually acquire new languages and their cultural contexts more quickly than adults, the 1.5 generation children theoretically engage in more cultural brokerage activities as they are directly involved in the difficult first years of cultural adjustment. It is relevant to note that language skills are only one facet of communicati on; for example, Jasminas father can speak and read English, but does not feel comfortable dealing with official forms alone. Despite his English skills, Jasmina stated he prefers her to handle important phone calls because his accent makes it difficult for others to understand him. All three participants described performing the role of cultural broker, but did so in varying manners and degrees. Basia reported interpreting for her family some, but did not express any negative feelings about the exper ience, while Jasmina and Indira both spoke at length of the stress of interpreting. As a youth, Jasmina expressed being frustrated and resentful about interpreting, but described how as an adult she has accepted
119 the role. Indira not only played the cultu ral broker in terms of interpretation, but also felt she had to serve as a psychiatrist to her parents, a practice Athey and Ahearn (1991 cited in Potocky Tripodi 2002) advocate for inclusion in the cultural brokerage concept. The interviews suggest bir th order plays a strong role in determining the extent and nature of cultural brokerage. Jasmina, as the eldest child, engaged in more brokerage activities, and continues to help her father today. Indiras older sister, who was around age 14 upon arrival in the US, initially took on the majority of the interpreting responsibilities, which became Indiras after her sister left the house. The act of cultural brokerage often includes role reversal in which the child takes on traditional parental roles suc h as interacting with the public, navigating school systems and providing emotional support. While Potocky Tripodi (2002) discusses the possibility of the loss of parental authority stemming from cultural brokerage and van der Veer (1998) describes paren tification of refugee children, none of the participants described either of these phenomena; in all the interviews only Indira described an act that could be construed as disrespectful, and this was only a lie by omission about spending time with a par ticular friend. Through the interview data and other conversations, I considered these women to be more respectful and obedient to their parents than the average American of their age. For example, before scheduling the interview Indira made it clear tha t she would not participate if her parents objected. Although none of the participants discussed symptoms of Secondary Trauma Stress (Figley 1983 as cited in Jenkins and Baird 2002), the trauma experienced by others during the war had strong effects on bot h Jasmina and Indira. Jasmina had a more direct experience with the effects of war as she described her father as displaying signs of
120 trauma. Although Jasmina did not express symptoms of secondary stress trauma, she reported being negatively affected by her fathers untreated mental health problems. No one in Indiras immediate family experienced trauma, but she described how the frequency of and ways in which her parents and their friends spoke of Bosnia and the war affected her. Indira explained that although she did not experience firsthand trauma in the war, the constant reminders of the tragedies that occurred in the former Yugoslavia weighed heavily on her, especially as a child. It is possible that Indiras introspection and sensitivity make her more prone to experiences emotional responses to family stress. Indira and Jasminas comments provide firsthand accounts of how seeing the effects of war and trauma can negatively affect children and family. Their experiences provide examples of how the lasting effects of hardships and trauma experienced by adults during the war can pass on to the next generation, albeit in different forms. An individual does not need to experience trauma, or have a loved one experience trauma, to be affected by the atroc ities of war. Returning to the concept of imagined communities, in which individuals feel a connection to others they have never met due to a sense of kinship, Bosnians and people who identify with Bosnia all share a connection to the horrors of genocide. While this is not Secondary Trauma Stress, carrying the knowledge of the atrocities that occurred in Yugoslavia and feeling a connection to the events can lead to psychological distress. As a civil war and genocide spurred the creation of the Bosnian re fugee imagined community, forming connections to Bosnian enclaves can sometimes prove therapeutic, but these interactions can also elicit painful memories of the war for some. The fact remains that for Bosnian refugees, the memories
121 and knowledge of the a trocities of the genocide in Yugoslavia are an inherent part of their membership in the imagined community. As scholarship on the 1.5 generation is relatively limited, especially research that uses the 1.25 and 1.75 age breakdowns, it is unclear how differ ent age groups experiences and reactions to secondary exposure to trauma vary. It could be more difficult for the 1.75 generation to deal with the effects of trauma because of the greater exposure to it during their cognitive and emotional development; h owever it is also possible that seeing ones parent change because of traumatic experiences, and having knowledge of those experiences, is more difficult at a later age when an individual is cognitively more aware of the manifestations of trauma. Still, i t may be that the 1.5 refugee generation is most vulnerable in this respect as 1.5 generation individuals carry the weight of the knowledge of events that occurred during a war as well as being exposed to the effects of trauma during psychological and emot ional developmental periods. The statements presented from the interviews with Jasmina and Indira suggests that it is possible that understanding the cause of the behavior of a parent helps a child or teen cope, as Jasmina indicated; on the other hand, exp osure to the knowledge of war and genocide that affected a parent or caregiver may be overwhelming, as Indira discussed. As I did not interview any 1.25 or 1.75 generation individuals, my data is insufficient to suggest any conclusions on the subject. Wh ile my research does not contribute to scholarship on the 1.25 or 1.75 generation, previous work by Rumbaut (1997; 2004) and Boyd (2002) have demonstrated the need for further qualitative research on the
122 relationship between age of arrival and the experien ces of refugee youth coping with the effects of trauma in a family member. Identity Nationality/ethnicity Cultural adjustment most often entails learning new systems of group categorizations and definitions in other words, immigrants and refugees have to figure out the racial, ethnic, class, religion, etc. based hierarchies and divisions in the new country that may have not been present or as salient in their country of origin. For example, the participants in my study would have been categorized as Muslim or Bosniak in the former Yugoslavia, where ethnic divisions had religious rooting, while in the US they encounter new classifications, such as white, foreigner, and Bosnian, among others. Before delving in to the participants comments o n national and ethnic identity, I will first provide some context for race relations in St. Louis. Oropsesa and Landales (1997) study of immigrant and refugee lives suggests visible racial and ethnic minorities fare worse than non Hispanic whites in outc omes such as education and economic status. Although Bosnians in St. Louis can be recognized by their name, accent or style of dress, they generally do not inhabit the marked bodies which can immediately identify them as a member of a racial or ethnic m inority. The relative lack of racial discrimination undoubtedly accounts for a portion of the relative success Bosnians have had in St. Louis
123 versus other refugee groups, such as Somalis, Ethiopians and other African refugee groups. However, this is only one facet of the experiences of Bosnians in St. Louis. Social Relationships and Ethnic Enclaves Basia, Jasmina and Indira each had social networks with distinct variations. Basia reported having many Bosnian friends, while Jasminas friends are prima rily American, and Indiras social network is comprised of an array of individuals with different nationalities. The interviews I conducted demonstrate the variety of circumstances and individual choices which shapes the relationship to ethnic enclaves am ong immigrants and refugees. Basias initial adjustment to life in the United States was aided by the presence of extended family, specifically a cousin of the same age, who had resettled in California sometime previously. After the move to St. Louis t wo years later, Basia actively sought out a high school with a large Bosnian population and described her group of friends as primarily Bosnian. Jasmina socializes primarily with native born Americans while Indira has friendships with individuals of vary ing nationalities but does not feel especially connected to the Bosnian community. Of the three participants, Jasmina was the only one to speak without an accent; while Basia and Indira have accents that are strong enough to identify them as non native En glish speakers. Jasmina could easily pass as an American born English speaker. Although Jasmina has spent the most time in the US out of the participants, the duration of her stay in the US is not significantly longer than Basias or Indiras (12 and 11 years, respectively) and her age of 10 years upon arrival in the US falls between Basia and
124 Indira, who came at ages 9 and 12. Age of arrival and time spent in the US do not explain Jasminas lack of an accent in comparison to Basia and Indira, however Ja sminas personal experiences during her early years in the US explain much of her ability to pass as American. While she has since become more comfortable with her Bosnian identity, Jasminas case demonstrates Mosselsons (2006a) observations of the sti gmas associated with being a refugee, which I discussed in Chapter Two. The differences among these women in their choices in friends and relationship to the St. Louis Bosnian community could be explained by their circumstances. For example, Basia had acc ess to a large Bosnian community, while Jasmina did not move to an area with a large Bosnian presence until after she graduated high school. Indira had the somewhat similar access to the Bosnian community in St. Louis in terms of proximity, but she spoke Slovenian at the time of her arrival and thus communication with Bosnians was only a little easier than with Americans. On the other hand, Indira reported that her older sister had more Bosnian friends and Jasmina said her younger sister was very Bosnian oriented. While I could dissect the interplay of various factors the accessibility of a Bosnian community, age of arrival in the US, age of arrival in St. Louis, birth order, language proficiency, etc. my methodology and sample size is better suited to co ntribute to the individual and subjective experiences of the Bosnian American 1.5 generation rather than making generalizations based on demographic data. Religion The participants description of their relationships with religion and spirituality fall i n line with the religious norms of former Yugoslavia, where religion was a marker of
125 ethnic identity but not necessarily practiced, (Donia and Fine 1994; Bringa 1995; Malcolm 1996). While Basias interview did not include discussion of religion, Jasmina a nd Indira described their families as non practicing Muslims. For example, Indira described her family participating in Eid celebrations and traditions with friends, even though they do not practice Islam, while at the same time having a Christmas tree in the house. Indiras description of her familys attitude toward religious events is reminiscent of the millions of non Christian or non religious Americans who decorate pine trees, open presents and have family gatherings on Christmas Day. Although Jas mina and Indiras families do not actively practice Islam, Indiras case was a departure from this trend, as she began practicing as an adult, to the dismay of her communistic Muslim parents. Indira did not frame her religiosity as tied to her identity as a Bosnian or American, but rather as a result of personal, spiritual motivations. Aside from Indiras personal commitment to spirituality, religion does not appear to play a defining role in the participants lives and conceptions of personal identity. The 1.5 ex perience The women I interviewed provided personal and observational accounts for what it means to them to be a member of the 1.5 generation. Basia identified the experience of leaving everything behind and having to grow up before their time, saying you dont have time to play around when coming to a new country, as learning the language and understanding culture and society are the primary concerns. Basia additionally brought attention to the fact that most Bosnian refugees lived in anothe r European country before resettling in the US, exposing the 1.5 generation of refugees to multiple languages,
126 societies and cultures. While shared experiences of migration undoubtedly facilitate friendships with other foreigners, exposure and later adapt ation to multiple cultures as a youth may also encourage the 1.5 generation tendency towards diverse social networks along with a desire to travel, demonstrated by Mosselsons (2006a) research, and exemplified by Indiras attitudes in my study. Jasminas response to my question about the characteristics of the 1.5 generation focused on parenting style. She gave the example of immigrant and refugee parents in general having to adjust to new social norms and legal codes which prohibit the use of traditional methods of discipline, such as corporal punishment. Jasmina noted that she also knew of children and teens who called the police to report their parents for these actions, an occurrence which indicates some loss of parental authority and shift in power t o the children. As Jasmina conveyed, the loss of familiar disciplinary methods can leave parents without the means to control and discipline their children. While role reversal or parentification in immigrant and refugee families is frequently discusse d in relation to cultural brokerage practices (van der Veer 1998; Potocky Tripodi 2002) Jasminas remarks indicate the loss of familiar disciplinary methods from a parents country of origin should be considered in conjunction with cultural brokerage as f actors contributing to role reversal and parent child conflict among immigrants and refugees. Indira kept her characteristics of the 1.5 generation on a personal level, as she strongly believes in the individuality of each persons experience. In compa rison to her older sister, Indira remarked coming at an early age was beneficial; while she stated she didnt quite adapt to American culture, she felt she was able to forge an identity
127 surpassing the confines of choosing between Bosnian and American cul ture, while this dichotomy was more salient and harder to reconcile for her older sister. Betw een Tw o Worlds? Many authors (Rumbaut 1997, 2004; Park 1999) have described a primary characteristic of the 1.5 generation as a sense of living in between cult ures, or as Rumbaut describes, between two worlds, but belonging to neither. Based on my research, I contend that the between two worlds concept is a feature of the 1.5 experience, but not specifically applicable to individual constructions of identit y. I argue against the between two worlds concept in terms of identity in general because this would reduce the fluid, multi faceted nature of personal identity to a question of what nationality or culture one belongs to. In terms of ethnic and nationa l identity, the between two worlds" is a fairly accurate (if broad) portrayal of some of the struggles 1.5 generation individuals undergo, but when applied to a persons full self ignores the multitude of traits and roles individuals take on. While my re search aim was to investigate the identity formation of 1.5 generation individuals, I cannot ignore the other defining characteristics of these women, be it their roles as students, daughters, professionals or feminists. In this chapter I applied the scho larship on acculturation and identity, presented in Chapter Two, to the interview data I collected from Basia, Jasmina and Indira. I believe multidimensional approach is best suited for my data, as it takes into account the many variables involved in the womens acculturation and identity formation process, such as proximity to ethnic enclaves, family dynamics and personality. The women described
128 similar 1.5 generation experiences of adjusting to a new country, navigating between cultures and playing the role of cultural brokers. However, the many differences in their attitudes toward the Bosnian community in St. Louis, ethnic and national identity, religion and family demonstrate that no refugee story is the same.
129 CHAPTER V II: CONCLUSIONS This thes is has outlined the importance of the 1.5 generation through qualitative interviews in conjunction with previous scholarly work. In Chapter One, I outlined the importance of immigration issues in the United States and introduced the focus of my study. In Chapter Two, I reviewed literature pertaining to immigrant assimilation and acculturation, the special case of refugees, the 1.5 generation of immigrants and finally, the 1.5 generation of Bosnian refugees in the US. I provided critiques of processual an d uni dimensional approaches to understanding acculturation, which motivated me to use a multidimensional theoretical background for my research. I offered a brief history of the Bosnian War in Chapter Three in order to contextualize my research with Bosn ian refugees. For Chapters Four and Five, I outlined my methodology and presented data acquired from interviews with three 1.5 generation female Bosnian refugees in St. Louis. Chapter Four introduced the participants discussions of their migration, scho ol and family experiences. Chapter Five delved into the values, attitudes and identities of the participants. In Chapter Six I revisited the literature presented in Chapter Two in the context of the interview data I collected, examining data and theory m y research both supported and contradicted. In this chapter, I will present my general conclusions regarding the 1.5 generation, implications for research and immigrant service providers, and suggestions for future research. In this thesis I have attempt ed to describe some characteristics of the 1.5 generation, which is largely overlooked by immigrant and refugee studies. Since
130 individuals who migrate as youths have a much different experience than the 2 n d generation and those who migrate as adults, I co ntend the 1.5 generation terminology should be integrated into further research regarding acculturation and identity formation in immigrants. I have additionally stressed that while there may be trends or common characteristics of the 1.5 generation, an i ndividuals life experiences, attitudes and beliefs cannot be reduced to a specific label, model or theory regarding acculturation or identity. Thus, I advocate for the consideration of the 1.5 generation in acculturation and identity studies, but caution against defining individuals by this label. I hope the 1.5 generation terminology will be incorporated into the lexis of acculturation and identity studies without lapsing into age determinism and losing sight of the unique experience of each immigrant. The experiences of 1.5 generation of immigrants and refugees are clearly different from both the 1 s t and 2 n d generations. Unlike members of the 1 s t generation, who usually must enter the labor market shortly after entry, the 1.5 generation in the US has the opportunity to enter into mediating institutions, such as schools, which serve as tools for socialization. These institutions may allow immigrant youths more time and space to adjust to US culture. On the other hand, the experience of school may intr oduce stressors that produce negative effects on the acculturation process, as in Jasminas case. I would also argue that the 1.5 generation, due to their age of entry, has a less complete (or simply different) understanding of their culture of origin tha n their parents generation; this difference is even more pronounced in the 2 n d generation. One of the primary experiences of the 1.5 generation is acting as a cultural broker for family members. While 2 n d generation immigrants and refugees often interp ret for
131 parents who do not have full command of the English language, this is more common in the 1.5 generation because they migrate with their parents. Performing the role of a cultural broker requires constant movement between two (or more) cultures as a youth, and may also alter parent child power relationships. It would be inappropriate to argue the 1.5 generation experiences more tension between cultures compared to other immigrant generations, as each experience is different, and my research is not comparative among generations, cultures or nationalities. While one could argue the 1.5 generation experiences more tension between cultures as they must actively make choices and forge their paths of identity development, it could also be that some 1.5 g eneration members experience less tension because they can choose desirable aspects of each culture and balance between them. In any case, this thesis has demonstrated some of the experiences and characteristics common to the 1.5 generation, while maintai ning focus on the individual expression of experiences, attitudes, values, beliefs and identities. The participants in this study were all Muslim women. Although the focus of this thesis is not gender or religion, these identities play a significant role in Basia, Jasmina and Indiras lives. Indira was the only participant who practiced Islam, but the Muslim ethnic identity shared by the participants warrants further investigation. Bosnian Muslims (Bosniaks) were targeted in the Bosnian War, so membersh ip in this community was one of the primary reasons for flight in the case of the three participants. In the post 9/11 era, Muslims religious or cultural face increased discrimination and harassment, which the participants may have experienced. Muslim id entity, as the impetus for fleeing Bosnia or a source prejudices in resettlement, is a salient feature of the three womens
132 identities and experiences that is not discussed in length in this thesis, but warrants future investigation. Gender is another to pic that was not discussed in detail in this thesis. The three women all expressed attitudes towards gender more consistent with American social norms than traditional Bosnian gender roles. As the participants comments on gender were only briefly discu ssed, the issue warrants a fuller discussion in future research. While space does not permit a detailed analysis of the Muslim female identity, it is undoubtedly part of the participants experiences and self concept and thus warrant further investigation Implications As discussed in Chapter Two, most scholarly work on immigrant and refugee issues assumes a 1 s t and 2 n d generation binary distinction. My findings, in conjunction with previous scholarship, suggests the 1.5 generation goes through differen t acculturation and identity development processes. This calls into question conclusions based on 1 s t and 2 n d generation groupings, as these studies identify the 1.5 generation as either 1 s t or 2 n d generation, thereby confounding any conclusions on the so called s t or n d generations. Such studies not only overlook the 1.5 generation, but also improperly define the 1 s t and 2 n d generations by resorting to the generational binary distinctions. The 1.5 generation terminology is especially relevant for social workers, teachers, school staff, and any other individual or organization offering services to immigrants and refugees. This thesis suggests the 1.5 generation differs from the 1 s t and 2 n d generations, which should be taken into consideration by se rvice providers. Since immigrant and
133 refugee youth have noticeably different experiences than their parents generation, it follows that immigrant and refugee service providers should tailor their methods to properly address the needs of individuals who m igrate as youths. Further generational break downs, which include the 1.25 and 1.75 generations, can offer even more specificity to guide service providers. Of critical importance is the 1.25 generation, which preliminary research suggests is the most v ulnerable section of immigrant and refugee youth in relation to outcome measurement, such as academic achievement and economic status. Research regarding the 1.5 generation is relatively limited, and studies specifically addressing the 1.25 generation are even scarcer. This large gap in immigrant studies literature needs to be filled to more fully understand the stark differences in outcomes between the 1.5 generation and those who migrate just a few years later in life. I believe this disparity between the 1.5 and 1.25 generation warrants the development of specific strategies, services and programs for individuals who migrate in their late teens. Suggestions for Further Research Future research on immigrant and refugee issues needs to take into accoun t the unique experiences and characteristics of the 1.5 generation. Not only must research incorporate this terminology, but previous scholarship relying on the generational binary distinction should be revisited to evaluate the applicability of findings to the 1.5 generation. I believe more research on the 1.5 generation, both qualitative and quantitative, can provide helpful insight into issues of acculturation and identity development in general. Although it will take time for shifts in scholarly appr oaches to
134 become widespread, hopefully an introduction of the 1.5 generation terminology will lead to more specific break downs that include the 1.25 and 1.75 generations. Ideally, age of arrival, rather than generational labels, will be used in further r esearch; for the time being, the introduction of the 1.5 category would be a step in the right direction. Concluding Remarks My goal for this thesis was to highlight the distinctive nature of the 1.5 generation through the social experiences of Basia, J asmina and Indira. If I was afforded more time and resources, I would conduct more detailed follow up interviews with the women to delve deeper into their conceptions of personal identity and what it means to be a member of the 1.5 generation. While inte rviewing other members of the 1.5 Bosnian refugee generation would also be useful, for my purposes I believe it is more worthwhile to provide a deeper understanding of these womens experiences and identities rather than broaden my research. This method p rovides more insight into the unique, multi faceted human experience of members of the 1.5 generation. This thesis was intended to draw attention to characteristics and experiences specific to the 1.5 generation with the hope that this knowledge will inf orm policies and practices of immigrant service providers. My hope is that the 1.5 generation category will become more commonplace terminology, resulting in a greater ability for service providers to assess and meet the needs of immigrant youth.
135 F i g u r e 1 : T h e B e v o M i l l ( P h o t o g r a p h e d b y a u t h o r ) F i g u r e 3 : A B o s n i a n c a f ( P h o t o g r a p h e d b y a u t h o r ) F i g u r e 2 : A B o s n i a n b a k e r y ( P h o t o g r a p h e d b y a u t h o r )
136 F i g u r e 6 : A B o s n i a n i n s u r a n c e a g e n c y ( P h o t o g r a p h e d b y a u t h o r ) F i g u r e 4 : H e a d q u a r t e r s o f S a b a h a S t L o u i s B o s n i a n A m e r i c a n n e w s p a p e r ( P h o t o g r a p h e d b y a u t h o r ) F i g u r e 5 : S a b a h N e w s p a p e r ( P h o t o g r a p h e d b y a u t h o r )
137 F i g u r e 7 : S h o p n S a v e a l o c a l g r o c e r y c h a i n ( P h o t o g r a p h e d b y a u t h o r ) F i g u r e 8 : I n s i d e S h o p n S a v e ( P h o t o g r a p h e d b y a u t h o r ) F i g u r e 9 : A n a i s l e i n S h o p n S a v e ( P h o t o g r a p h e d b y a u t h o r )
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