On the dangers of rosy lenses: Reply to Alba, Kasinitz and Waters

William Haller, Alejandro Portes, Scott M. Lynch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


We commend the measured tone and clearly stated arguments in Alba, Kasinitz and Waters' commentary on our article. It is particularly welcome because, in combination with our own conclusions, it lays out before the relevant audiences the substance of the debate in this field. Based on the commentary's opening statement, it would appear that there are many points of agreement and that the remaining differences are mostly a matter of emphasis, a case of the glass being half full or half empty. If this were the case, there would be little justification for our original article or for this reply. On the contrary, our results and those of other researchers cited in the article's conclusion indicate that the attempt to normalize the situation by celebrating the progress achieved by the second generation is an instance of misplaced optimism. Not all kids are doing "all right," and the substantial number at risk of social and economic stagnation or downward mobility looms as a significant social problem. It is true that right-wing commentators may pick on these findings for their own purposes, but this is certainly no reason to obscure the facts. Laying a rosy veil over them is a dangerous strategy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)775-781
Number of pages7
JournalSocial Forces
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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