Culture And The Assimilation Of Ethnic Groups Research Paper

Length: 9 pages Sources: 3 Subject: Sociology Type: Research Paper Paper: #57808867 Related Topics: Cultural Assimilation, Ethnic Group, Assimilation, Immigrants
Excerpt from Research Paper :


Assimilation recounts the social, political, and cultural integration of the minority into a substantial, dominant society and culture. Assimilation is used in most cases to refer to the ethnic groups and immigrants coming to settle in new territories. These immigrants often acquire new attitudes and traditions through communication and contact with their host society. Either way, they also introduce some of their cultural practices to their host society(Penninx, 2005). The process of assimilation involves a step by step change of varying stages. When the new members of a community become utterly indistinguishable from the natives, it is apparent that complete assimilation has occurred (Spielberger, 2004). In this regard of assimilation, over a period, the new community cast off their original homeland's culture that touches on values, rituals, religion, language, and laws so that there is no distinguishable cultural disparity between them and the members of the native society that hosts them. This idea sheers a disagreeable contrast to the perception of multiculturalism whereby religious and ethnic groups maintain strong connections to their values and cultural heritage. There is a proven understanding that these differences if embraced, contribute to the rich cultural diversity that ensures a society's success.

Even though assimilation of the minority cultural groups to dominant ones has been so influential in most societies over a historical period, which might be quite long, much of the current literature has focused on the relation between the U.S. culture and race. This has been enabled by the detailed history of immigration in the United States. Most contemporary literature covers this aspect. Cultural absorption became prevalent in the U.S. during the first part of the 20th century when new immigrants were encouraged to blend into the American culture to achieve economic success, minimize the conceived self-segregation between communities, and achieve social stability. There was also a belief that the cultural homogeneity achieved through assimilation could improve social relations. This oneness would lessen the conflicts between different cultural groups as they could come together under one belief and social system. Economically, assimilation was believed to aid more diverse groups in engaging in dominant production and consumption models. This would create multiple chances for a stabilized economy. Therefore, looking at these connotations, assimilation is not attributed to negative results. It was always viewed to enhance new immigrants' economic opportunities in society and social mobility. Similarly, it positively contributes to the economic and social stability of the host nation.

Most of the U.S.'s immigrants had tendencies of settling in traditional gateway states of Texas, New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, Florida, and California. In these states, immigrants found many other foreigners who had moved to the United States. Immigrants had made a long history of adequately structured and established hierarchical, class, ethnic, and racial affiliations in these traditional gateways. However, there is no definite history of immigrants in the new settlement gateways, and so the racial, class and ethnic hierarchies of immigrants are less spelled out. This indefinite positioning grants the immigrants more powers to define their scope and influence their establishment (Waters & Jiménez, 2005).

Furthermore, the geographical sizes of these new settlements gateways might significantly influence the assimilation of immigrants. Having to cohabit in smaller gateways may impact the degree of racial disparity among the natives and immigrants. The third prospect is the difference in institutional arrangements, which can also influence immigrants' assimilation a great deal. Traditional gateways might be welcoming since they often have foundational institutions to help immigrants with social services such as bureaus, social organizations, and legal aids. The final projection of Waters and Jimenez(2005) speculates that those conceived differences may influence the concept of immigration assimilation and researchers' assessment of immigrants assimilation.

How Assimilation Differs for Ethnic Groups that Immigrate to a New Country Versus Indigenous Ethnic Groups

Initially, the idea of immigrant assimilation gained political stature in the United Kingdom and the United States between the periods of 1950s and 1960s. At this time, postwar immigration into these two countries increased, and many foreigners moved in. For instance, in the United Kingdom, the debate around assimilation and integration was spared shortly after World War II. Britain reconsidered increasing its working population for economic prosperity and encouraged migration from countries it formerly colonized. Politicians were at the forefront of supporting the immigration process, reasoning out that these foreign communities would just fit in the predefined sociocultural norms of the United Kingdoms without any discrepancies. The political class assumed that assimilation of a new group into an overriding culture would curb conflicts that arose from intergroup rivalry for jobs, opportunities among other resources.

Contrary to these postulations, the assimilation idea became baffling and troublesome for the present-day generation of scholars who attribute it to creating a citizenship hierarchy. The hierarchy is segregative since those who managed to integrate into the contemporary culture had higher social status privileges. The argument put forward by these scholars was that the ability of a group of foreigners to absorb in a dominant contemporary culture determined its success in the assimilation process, and this was rewarded with more remarkable benefits of social status (Holohan & Holohan, 2012). This was detrimental to the cultural group of…anthropologists argue that cuisines from international cultures make a different culture distinctively understand people and culture. According to Allen(2012), empathy- the process that begins by stirring our emotions is the secret ingredient.


The United States takes pride in hosting many immigrants as it has historical backgrounds of successfully absorbing people across the world. Economic dynamism is attributed to immigrants and their families' integration, which happened amidst a vibrant and lively culture. Latin and Hispanic Americans originate from different geographical, economic, and social backgrounds. This proves the difference in their national origin and family heritage. However, cultural alikeness tends to bring these backgrounds together. For instance, the Spanish language is a common cultural distinction among Hispanic Americans. The Latin and Hispanic American cuisines are celebrated across the U.S., and they have an influence on all other American cuisines and eating culture. Outstandingly, Mexican food-Tex-Mex has been Americanized into a culinary staple among Americans.

Typical Mexican cuisine items include dishes based on corn like tacos, tamales, and tortillas. They also have flavors and seasonings like pico de gallo, mole, and guacamole. Salsas and tortilla chips are now some of the best selling snacks in the U.S. since they gained popularity. Recently, other Latin American dishes have gained popularity and relevance in the U.S. The all-you-can-eat rodizio service provided in the Brazilian steak houses known as churrascaría has gained popularity in the U.S. urban areas. At street fairs, it easier to find the Colombian arepa. Many Americans consider ceviche, which originated from Peru, a great delicacy. There are plenty of these foods depending on the Latin American population pattern.

My generation is so much removed from original Mexican American immigrants' culture, even though they never grace typical Mexican dress. Despite moving to any country, I would still embrace the Mexican culture, for example valuing the family, the Spanish language, and the cuisine. Hispanic and Latin Americans tie a great value on family. Historically, these groups had large, close-knit families. It was common for multiple generations to live in the same neighborhood or in the same household where grandparents nurture and upbring the children. Even as these living arrangements disappear, families' well-being is a concern to these family-oriented Latin Americans. The family gathering is commonplace and is often held in high esteem. We have family meetings and eat together on weekends, and I would do this even in a new country. People learn the values, expectations, norms, and values of their society through socialization. Symbols help people deliberate on their shared understanding of cultures, and this breeds socialization. Symbols are significant in assisting people…

Sources Used in Documents:


Allen, J. S. (2012). The omnivorous mind: Our evolving relationship with food. Harvard University Press.

Avila-Saavedra, G. (2011). Ethnic otherness versus cultural assimilation: US Latino comedians and the politics of identity. Mass Communication and Society, 14(3), 271-291.

Carter, P. L. (2005). Keepin' it real: School success beyond Black and White. Oxford University Press.

Choi, D. D., Poertner, M., & Sambanis, N. (2020). Linguistic Assimilation Does Not Reduce Discrimination Against Immigrants: Evidence from Germany. Journal of Experimental Political Science, 1, 12.

Holohan, and Holohan, S. (2012). "Assimilation." Encyclopedia of Global Studies, edited by Anheier, Helmut K. and Mark Juergensmeyer, Sage Publications.

Montanari, M. (2006). Food is culture. Columbia University Press.

Pauls, E. P. (2019, August 21). Assimilation. Encyclopedia Britannica.

Penninx, R. (2005). Integration of migrants: Economic, social, cultural and political dimensions. The new demographic regime: Population challenges and policy responses, 5(2005), 137-152.

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