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Belgians immigrated to the United States starting in 1820. As most immigrants, they came to America “financial opportunity and a better life for their families”. (Cook 2006, p9) There are three regions, which make up Belgium. These three regions divide Belgians into two categories; Flanders or Wallons. Although Belgian is not an ethnic group, a Flander and a Wallon are considered ethnic groups. Walloons speak French and the Flanders speak Dutch language, by enlarge. Religious beliefs of 98% of Belgians follow the Roman Catholic Church, the remaining 2% are made up of a Protestant, Jewish, or Muslim faith.(Cook, 2006, p2) Walloons and Flanders emigrated from Belgium to the United States facing religious prejudice, institutional discrimination, and social prejudice during their search for new opportunities.
When first landing in the United States of America in 1820, Walloons and Flanders migrated to many areas of the country.. They did not colonize as others did, they spread out throughout the land wherever they could purchase land and find work. They immigrated to Wisconsin, Maine, Long Island, Staten Island, New Jersey and many places in between. The next, and largest, influx of Belgian heritage came between 1820-1910, when over 104,000 were reported. (everyculture.com, p9) During this American growth period, these immigrants were seeking ways to make a living. This is where Walloons and Flemish employment opportunity differs. They both felt the effects of a dual labor market, which means one sector of the labor market is high incomes, benefits, and advancements and the lower sector consisting of no benefits, lower wages, and little training.
The Walloons faced more prejudice because they were primarily blue-collar workers. Institutional discrimination affected the Walloons, so they had to find another means to make money. Institutional discrimination is when “institutions practice discrimination through their daily operations”. (Schafer, Richard...
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