Drawn by low-skilled work and the safety and security of rural life, increasing numbers of families from Latin America and Southeast Asia have migrated to the American heartland. In the path-breaking book A Midwestern Mosaic, J. Celeste Lay examines the effects of political socialization on native white youth growing up in small towns.
Lay studies five Iowa towns to investigate how the political attitudes and inclinations of native adolescents change as a result of rapid ethnic diversification. Using surveys and interviews, she discovers that native adolescents adapt very well to foreign-born citizens, and that over time, gaps diminish between diverse populations and youth in all-white/Anglo towns in regard to tolerance, political knowledge, efficacy, and school participation.
A Midwestern Mosaic looks at the next generation to show how exposure to ethnic and cultural diversity during formative years can shape political behavior and will influence politics in the future.