chapter  5
14 Pages

White Children’s Talk About Race and Culture: Family Communication and Intercultural Socialization

The cornfields and gently rolling hills of Iowa seem too tranquil a setting for issues of race and culture to exist, let alone generate debate. From appearances and perceived stereotypes, diversity does not exist in this agricultural state. The Scandinavian, German, and Irish immigrants of the region created a EuropeanAmerican environment where a seeming absence of race and a secure, unquestioning culture were certain to thrive. Yet, from its very beginnings, Iowa has grappled with racial and cultural diversity. The indigenous Native American presence, the bringing in of African Americans to the manufacturing centers, and the Hispanic appearance along the railroad and seasonal migrant farming communities have long existed here. The uneasy marriage of race and culture as community issues, although sometimes quietly ignored, overlooked, or entirely dismissed, has been a part of the fabric of this otherwise “removed” Midwestern state.