Culture and the Assimilation of Ethnic Groups
Prior to beginning work on this Final Paper, ensure that you are caught up on the textbook reading and review the following resources:
Examining how different cultures are incorporated into a single society can offer insight into the ethnic group relations of that society. There are different ways in which ethnic groups experience assimilation, depending on the ethnic group’s origins in society. Many ethnic groups immigrate to a new country—often fleeing conflict in their home country—to make a better life for themselves and their families. Many ethnic groups perceive the United States as a country with greater economic, political, and social opportunities, and therefore, many immigrate to the country. Conversely, other ethnic groups are considered native or indigenous to a country and contact other ethnic groups through colonization: for example, Native American tribes in North America under British colonization. In both cases, ethnic minorities are expected to assimilate to the culture and behaviors of the majority, dominant group.
In the Final Paper, you will investigate the connection between culture, assimilation, and ethnic relations in society. A spectrum of possibilities exists when considering the degree to which ethnic groups assimilate to mainstream society, from completely adopting the new culture to maintaining their own cultural traditions and differences. Meaningful cultural symbols, such as traditions surrounding food, cooking, and eating, play a role in how ethnic groups both assimilate to new cultural norms and maintain their own unique traditions. They also assist in measuring the degree to which assimilation has occurred.
In your paper, include the following sections/components:
Introduction (two to three pages): Define the concept of assimilation and explain what happens to an ethnic group’s culture when they follow a model of full assimilation, evaluate how the degree to which an ethnic group assimilates contributes to and reinforces existing ethnic hierarchies, and explain if mainstream society is more welcoming to newcomers if they assimilate or if they retain some of their own cultural customs.
Body (about four to five pages): Explain how assimilation differs for ethnic groups that immigrate to a new country versus indigenous ethnic groups and analyze how cultural symbols—such as food—play a role in assimilation. The body of your paper should address the following:
Conclusion (two pages): Provide an example of your own ethnic or racial traditions surrounding food. Where did these traditions come from? How far removed are you from your ancestors who first immigrated to this country? If you were to move to a new country today, would you want to maintain these traditions or would you be willing to give them up to assimilate to the customs of your new home? What is another cultural symbol that an ethnic group may want to keep rather than assimilate into mainstream culture? To sum up the Final Paper, why are cultural symbols so important to ethnic groups?
The Culture and Assimilation of Ethnic Groups Final Paper
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