ABITURPRÜFUNG 1999                         Arbeitszeit: 180 Minuten
      als Grundkursfach

                                Textaufgabe I

                               LOST IN AMERICA

         Elsa Flores fled El Salvadorīs  civil war in 1980,  moved to Los 
     Angeles and cleaned offices until she had saved enough money to open 
     a small clothing store.  But her American dream  fell apart  in 1992 
     when racial tensions,  videotape and a  controversial  court verdict 
 5   erupted into the  Rodney King riots1.  Flores huddled  with her four 
     children in a  back bedroom.  They could hear  gunfire and  shouting 
     outside.  Watching the  news on TV,  they saw flames  dance from the 
     window of her  clothing store.  Flores assumed  the rioters who des- 
     troyed her  business  were black.  But then she caught a  glimpse of 
10   them on camera. They were like her: Latinos. Now she says: "They are 
     not bad people, but they become frustrated here."
         The ambiguous  role that  Latinos played  in those events under- 
     scores a  much-ignored phenomenon:  the vast new wave of low-skilled 
     immigrants  has yet  to find its  place in the  United States.  Like 
15   Flores,  who scrimped  and borrowed  and rebuilt,  most Latino immi- 
     grants bring enough ambition with them  to compensate for  a lack of 
     education. About two thirds achieve at least a working-class income. 
     But many others, though equally determined, fail.  And more signifi- 
     cantly, their children often fail. Latinos are in danger of becoming 
20   locked into the  same distinctly American form of  poverty  that has 
     been perpetuated through generations of inner-city blacks.  In fact, 
     if current trends persist,  in another decade,  Latinos will replace 
     blacks as  the United Statesī biggest underclass.  More than 30 per- 
     cent  of Latinos  who arrived  in the 1980s  live below  the poverty 
25   line.
         For many immigrants, the journey north is an attempt to overcome 
     centuries-old  barriers  of race  and class.  What they find  is new 
     barriers of class  and race.  The immigrants  who have the strongest 
     memories of home do best in the States;  however bad, it is still an 
30   improvement.  But for  their children,  who often have  no memory of 
     home,  America seems like a raw deal.  They watch  their parents and 
     see only  toil and  poverty.  They watch  American TV  and  see only 
     affluence.  Public-school systems  on the brink of collapse  fail to 

                                                         PLEASE TURN OVER 

                                    - 2 -    

     give them the tools they need.  "I can tell by looking in their eyes 
35   how long theyīve been here,  " says the Rev. Vergil Elizondo, of San 
     Antonio ,Texas. "They come sparkling with hope, and the first gener- 
     ation  finds that  hope rewarded.  Their childrenīs  eyes  no longer 
     sparkle.  They have learned only  to want jobs and money  they canīt 
40       Take  the case of  Mexican  newcomers.  Last  year  the National 
     Research Council,  Americaīs most distinguished society of scholars, 
     found that Mexican immigrants start out with the lowest wages of any 
     nationality  -  and that the wage gap  grows the longer they live in 
     the United States.
45       The statistics  for  their  children  are  even more  troubling. 
     Nationally,  teenage births are declining.  But not so for  girls of 
     Mexican descent,  for whom the rate  has risen by a third during the 
     1990s.  Last year nearly  11 percent  of Latino teenage  girls  gave 
     birth - double the rate for whites, and for the first time surpasse- 
50   ing the rate for blacks.  School-dropout rates are also gloomy.  The 
     U.S. Department of Education  estimates that  44 percent of foreign- 
     born Latino youths between the ages of 16 and 24 are dropouts.  That 
     number for  American-born children of immigrants is  17 percent; for 
     blacks  it is  13 percent, for whites,  17 percent.  Because second- 
55   generation Latinos  are the  fastest-growing source  of new American 
     workers,their lack of basic skills could put a brake on the national 
         In the  search for solutions  to Americaīs growing Latino under- 
     class,  the simplest proposal  has been to reduce  the flow of  low- 
60   skilled immigrants.  That may be politically expedient, but it wonīt 
     work.  The truth is that the United States needs these people.  In a 
     decade,  when the bulk of the baby-boom generation2 hits  retirement 
     age, there will be a tremendous shortage of young workers. More than 
     a third of the  Latino population  is under the age of 18.  The vast 
65   majority are native-born U.S. citizens,  and they are not going any- 
     where.  They are the nationīs future. Unless new avenues of opportu- 
     nity open up for Latino immigrants and their children, the nation as 
     a whole will suffer.  Remedies are still possible.  A generation  of 
     young  people  is  still  in  school  waiting  to  be  taught,   and 
70   expectations  are still alive.  But the  opportunities  are  rapidly 
                                             From: Newsweek, 15 Jule 1998 

     1 Rodney King riots: reference to the riots that broke out in ethic
     neighbourhoods,  especially black areas,  of Los Angeles in 1992, 
     when a court acquitted several white policemen accused of beating 
     up a black driver, Rodney King;  the incident  had been filmed on 
     2 baby-boom generation: the generation born between the late 1940s 
     an the early 1960s, when the birth rate after the war was high


WORKSHEET: Lost in America 

                                                     maximum number of
                                                     points attainable
  I. Questions on the text

     Read all the questions first, then answer them
     in the given order.
     Use your own words as far as is appropriate.

     1. Describe Elsa Floresī "American dream" (1. 3). What happened
        to it and what were her reactions to this experience?       20
     2. How successfull are Latinos in the USA
        (Refer to lines 12-25.)                                     10

     3. Explain the difference in attitude towards life in America
        between the first and the second generation of Latino 
        immigrants.                                                 20

     4. What do statistics reveal about the problems of Latino
        youths in comparison with their black and white peers?      10

     5. What ist the writerīs position in the political debate
        about a growing Latino underclass?                          10

     6. Show three different ways in which the writer tries to
        arouse the readerīs interest in his topic.                  10

 II. Composition                                                    40

     Choose  o n e  of the following topics.
     Write about 120 to 150 words.

     1. Everybody should be allowed to settle freely in the
        country of their choice.

     2. "Variety is the spice of life."  Discuss this proverb
        in terms of cultural diversity.

III. Translation                                                    40

     Translate the following text into German:     


                                                      PLEASE TURN OVER

          Europe is  no  longer  the  United Statesī  chief  supplier of 
     immigrants. The lead passed to Asia and Latin America in the 1960s, 
     and by the next decade their arrivals were  outnumbering those from 
     the  Old World  by four to one.  Nationwide they  still  comprise a 
     small  minority,  yet they  also  have  changed the  ethic mix of a 
     half-dozen  and more  major metropolitan  centers.  Although an ex- 
     treme case,  Greater Los Angeles  exemplifies  the  forces at work. 
     Ist Hispanic presence has  increased threefold  and ist  Asian ten- 
     fold over the last twenty-five years.
          More immigrants,  and more different kinds of immigrants, have 
     entered the United States than any other country in modern history. 
     The conditions  that  led  them  to leave  their  homelands varied: 
     overpopulation,  contracting economic  opportunities,  famine, war, 
     religious  persecution,  political  oppression.  Whatever  the push 
     that set them in motion,  the pull that  lured them  to America was 
     the promise of  a fresh start.  Much the  same reasons  explain why 
     newcomers  are still  coming,  close to  four million  in  the last 
     decade,  not counting  an unknown  but doubtlessly  large number of 
     illegal entrants1

           From:  Arthur Mann,  "From Immigration to Acculturation",  in 
                  Luther S. Luedtke (ed), Making America, 1992

     1 entrants: here: people entering a country