And their coming to the United States was entirely non-volitional. They were brought to America in chains as slaves and forced to experience cultural disruption with no dreams of the disruption being a temporary transition that would afford them the good life (Gold 9).
The two experiences associated with coming to the United States have provided these two ethnic groups with qualitatively different orientations and feelings about America itself. In Italian-Americans, the historical feelings are fairly positive in which their hopes were fulfilled. However, for African-Americans the feelings are fairly negative, leaving lingering questions about what their circumstances might have been like if they had remained in their country of origin, e.g., a life free of discrimination, a life in which they had a strong sense of their cultural heritage, etc.
A second socio-historical difference between Italian-Americans and African-Americans involves assimilation. Italian-Americans had few doubts that after a period of time, perhaps a difficulty period, they would be assimilated into American culture. They would learn the language, the mores, the value systems and, in time, they would become just like most Americans (Monti 26).
However, a major factor in Italian-Americans feeling this way was the fact that the dominant American culture was the same race a