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In sociology and anthropology, assimilation refers to the mechanism by which people or groups with a certain heritage are integrated into the dominant traditions of the societies in which they reside. The method is complicated, but it involves accepting the dominant culture's universal characteristics to the point that assimilated people are indistinguishable from native people. In the past, most instances of assimilation are coerced. Today's assimilations, on the other hand, are voluntary and for the benefit of ethnic minority communities. Despite absorption's success, very few people are always able to give up their aesthetics, religion, proxemics, and food habits. Assimilation is a common term in the subject of world history. Forced assimilations were common in most of the colonial territories or empires of the European nations. The mixed concentration of persons in the United States and their cultural commonality indicates that the indigenous and immigrant communities were assimilated by the Europeans who colonized different regions of the nation.
Features of Assimilation
The subject of assimilation can be analyzed based on the current United States immigrant population. According to Zong and Batalova, the number of immigrants in the country rose to 43.3 million persons. Most of the immigrants originated from nations such as the Mexico and China. The commonest characteristic of assimilation witnessed in the United States currently is the change of lifestyle to suit the American culture. Simon and Said-Moorhouse, provide a heartwarming story regarding the Arya Patole, a 26-year-old who strives to act American despite her country of origin being Indian. Arya is a social worker who became a naturalized citizen more than seventeen years ago and currently resides in Brooklyn, New York with her family. The lady states that although she does have an immigrant tag attached to her identity, she feels that she has assimilated so much into America and considered herself as a native. Most present-day immigrants develop coping mechanisms that allow them to assimilate themselves into the American culture fully.
Another key feature of assimilation present in the country is the ability of both documented and undocumented immigrants to speak fluent English. The commonest form of cultural assimilation is the adoption of the language spoken by the dominant heritage. Most immigrants in the united states express great command for the language and act based on the guidelines of the English.
Third, the current United States immigrants demonstrate assimilation through law abidance. The U.S. is among the few nations whereby most citizens abide by the law and act per the country’s legal frameworks. Most immigrants come from nations with high crime rates and low levels of abidance by the law. However, to fit socially in the united states, these persons are forced to act under the legal frameworks and requirements.
According to Yee, Davis and Patel, immigrants have strong American ties. Immigrant advocates and liberals state that these persons pay taxes similarly to other American citizens thereby contributing to the growth of the country’s gross domestic products. The ability of both documented and undocumented immigrants to pay taxes without being forced indicates that they have been assimilated to the American community and are aware of their tax obligations.
The final feature illustrating that assimilation is an ongoing process in the United States is the hard work demonstrated by the immigrant population. The U.S. is unique as it is founded by hard work and the government constantly urges its citizens to pursue the American dreams. According to Yee, Davis and Patel, the immigrants are some of the most hard-working persons in the nation and take up jobs that most other persons despise. Camarota and Zeigler state that the working rates of the natives and immigrants are similar as 70% of both groups were reported to be holding jobs. The authors also note that the rates of work of immigrant men are slightly higher than that of the natives indicating the commitment of both populations to achieve the American dream. Therefore, both the legal and illegal immigrants have been assimilated to the ways of the United States.
Assimilation is a process requiring time, devotion, and a serene environment that would allow the minority cultural group to learn and cope with the heritage of the dominant community. However, some political, economic, and cultural atmospheres frustrate the assimilation efforts of the minority groups. Immigrants in the United States face numerous challenges that hinder them from fully being assimilated and taking part in the country’s social and economic activities.
The commonest hindrance is cultural shock and the differences in beliefs. Although most minority group like being associated with the major cultural heritages, some norms and values constantly contradict their cultural beliefs. “The Museum of Extraordinary Things” paints an ideal picture of cultural disparities. Both Coralie Sardie and Eddie Cohen are from diverse cultural groups. However, Eddie finds it difficult to adopt Lower Eastern Side Orthodoxy and runs away from both his community and his job. Eddie is not also in agreement with Professor Sardie’s demands and the merciless ways that he treats his employees including his daughter (Hoffman 45).
An uncertain political environment is the second factor challenging assimilation. According to Simon and Said-Moorhouse, Trump’s executive orders of curbing illegal immigration and deporting immigrants has made most immigrants worried. The persons who had been assimilated into the various cultures and lifestyles of the United States such as Arya Patole have begun feeling “othered.” Therefore, the uncertainty in political circles frustrate the assimilation efforts of most immigrant communities.
Lastly, stereotyping is another key issue that hinders assimilation. Following 9/11, most Americans began developing stereotypes regarding some cultures, religions, and immigrants from particular regions of the globe. For instance, individuals from Islamic nations have been perceived to be terrorists by other cultural groups; a perception that is deceptive. Patole states that since 9/11, her family has struggled to maneuver through stereotyping, suspicion or hostility (Simon and Said-Moorhouse). Therefore, the negative perceptions that most native Americans have regarding some communities or individuals from some religious backgrounds frustrate their efforts of assimilation.
In summary, cultural assimilation is crucial as it enhances togetherness among culturally diverse persons. Assimilation is a term in sociology and anthropology referring to the process in which individuals or a group of a particular heritage are absorbed into the cultures that are dominant in the communities that they live. The current concentration of multiple cultures sharing common beliefs and living in harmony in the United States is a key illustration of assimilation. The primary factors frustrating assimilation efforts that are common in the United States include stereotyping, uncertain political environment and the different disparities between the cultures of the minority and that of the dominant group.
Camarota, Steven A., and Karen Zeigler. "Immigrants in The United States." CIS.Org, 2017, https://cis.org/Report/Immigrants-United-States. Web.
Hoffman, Alice. The Museum of Extraordinary Things: A Novel. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2014. Print.
Simon, Darran, and Lauren Said-Moorhouse. "Being an Immigrant in The United States Today Means ...." CNN, 2017, http://edition.cnn.com/2017/02/14/us/trump-us-immigration-reaction/index.html. Web.
Yee, Vivian, Kenan Davis and Jugal K. Patel. "Here’s the Reality About Illegal Immigrants in The United States." Nytimes.Com, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/03/06/us/politics/undocumented-illegal-immigrants.html. Web.
Zong, Jie, and Jeanne Batalova. "Frequently Requested Statistics On Immigrants And Immigration In The United States." Migrationpolicy.Org, 2017, https://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/frequently-requested-statistics-immigrants-and-immigration-united-states. Web.
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