Cultural Assimilation According to the Mosby Medical Term Paper

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Cultural Assimilation

According to The Mosby Medical Encyclopedia, cultural assimilation is a process by which members of an ethnic minority group lose cultural characteristics that separate them from the main cultural group (Cultural pp).

In the September 22, 2000 issue of Daedalus, Dorothy Steele writes that the assimilation of millions of immigrants into one society is what defines America, however in the shadows, millions of nonimmigrant minorities, such as African-Americans, Native American Indians, and Latinos, struggle within the mainstream of society (Steele pp). The diversity of immigrants reveals America as a haven for religious, cultural, and political difference, yet at the same time there is an ongoing struggle with difference that is not related to religion or cultural values but a difference in social, racial and ethnic status (Steele pp). The societal settings that are central to a group's movement into American mainstream life, such as schools and workplaces, are experienced differently by America's nonimmigrant minorities than by majority group members (Steele pp).

Steele argues that the failure to include millions of nonimmigrant minorities into the mainstream society stems in large part from a pervasive "downward social constitution' of these groups by the majority culture, not from individual racism (Steele pp). This results in many African-Americans, Native Americans, and Latinos being persistently devalued and their prospects and opportunities limited or neglected (Steele pp). This devaluation and continuing identity threat occurs at the collective level and the individual level (Steele pp). The ideological-legal stance of colorblindness actually functions as a barrier to assimilation and integration because it "argues for ignoring differences in race and ethnicity, working against the recognition of the powerful societal dynamics and the real differences in psycho logical experience such dynamics afford" (Steele pp).
According to Steele, a democratic society must involve active efforts to promote the identity safety of other people, efforts to ensure that group-linked representations, expectations, and reactions are not limiting, devaluing and alienating (Steele pp). She believes that Americans must practice valuing and respecting each other in order to achieve the level of inclusion and interdependence that is essential to maintain a stable society in a changing world (Steele pp).

In the January 01, 1998 issue of the Journal of Leisure Research, James Gramann applied ethnic-assimilation theory to the analysis of differences between and within ethnic groups in the perceived benefits received from outdoor recreation, and examined the possible function of outdoor recreation in maintaining core cultural values among Hispanic-Americans facing pressures in America toward cultural assimilation (Gramann pp). According to Gramann, leisure activity occurs mainly in the context of family and friendship groups, thus for Hispanic populations within the U.S.,….....

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