Cultural Assimilation

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Ethnic Identity and Cultural Assimilation

Many people consider The United States of America as a land of opportunity. Immigrants flock to this country in search of a new beginning for themselves and their families. Leaving their homeland and much of their culture behind, the majority of immigrants come to America in hopes of a better life. However, migration and the need to feel welcome in a new nation leave no choice for immigrants except to assimilate. It’s difficult to conserve your heritage when facing the pressures of acceptance in a new land. Some argue that as a second-generation immigrant, preserving your ethnic identity through the course of cultural assimilation is nearly impossible. It’s perplexing, however, considering that nativism within contemporary immigration is believed to be currently mild by historical standards. Personally, I believe that the loss of ethnic integrity is a result of the sensationalized glorification of western culture.

Amy Lee, my co-worker and close friend, immigrated to the United States at the age of 4. Born in Shanghai, Amy has little to no memory of living in China. Her father moved to the United States when she was first born in order to further his post-secondary education. Upon her father acquiring his degree in engineering, Amy and her mother joined him in Ohio. Amy, who is now 25 years old, has lived in the United States for what she considers her entire life. Despite her heritage being ethnically, racially, and religiously different than mainstream America, it’s hardly recognizable in Amy. As a second-generation immigrant, Amy has sustained very little of her native culture. Despite having visited China several times in her youth, Amy has no plan of returning to her homeland permanently as an adult.

Growing up in the United States, Amy was enrolled in school just like everyone else. It wasn’t very long before Amy was speaking English better than her parents. On top of American schooling, Amy’s parents...
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