Relationship of Race and Ethnicity in American Culture
Former President Jimmy Carter once said, “We have become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams” ("iCelebrateDiversity.com"). The United States has grown to be a country of immigrants filled with different beliefs, cultures, faiths, and heritages. Therefore, there is a diverse ethnic population among the people of America. Theories seek to explain why ethnic distinctions are made in the first place, why some ethnic groups discriminate against others…, why prejudice exists, why some ethnic groups remain identifiable, and why others melt into the dominant culture. Many different theories exist concerning ethnic relations (Aguirre and Turner 32). My racial and ethnic identity comes from what these theories or theoretical perspectives have to say.
There are two theories that relate to my racial and ethnic identity. The first is called the assimilation theory. Milton Gordon (1964) emphasizes, it is to “the middle class cultural patterns of … white, Anglo-Saxon” culture that immigrants to the United States have had to adapt (Aguirre and Turner 33). What he is saying was that every ethnic group that has immigrated to the United States has had to change their customs and ways to adapt to the white, Anglo-Saxon culture. There are different degrees in which the different ethnic subpopulations had to make progress in adjusting to the Anglo-Saxon culture. Cultural assimilation occurs when the values, beliefs, dogmas, ideologies, language, and other systems of symbols of the dominant culture are adopted (Aguirre and Turner 33). All the ethnic groups have been culturally assimilated to the Anglo-Saxon culture. Along with cultural assimilation comes structural assimilation. Structural assimilation occurs when migrant ethnic groups become members of the primary groups within dominant ethnic subpopulations like their families,...
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