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Diversity and Society: The Assimilation of Immigrants

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In the history of the United States, only the African American group is as old as the country itself. Other minority groups that we see today immigrated at different stages over the course of the last two centuries. Gordon’ s model lists various conditions under which assimilation between majority and minority cultures is delayed. Some key conditions that lead to poor assimilation are due to large differences in the population of the minority and majority groups, the minority group arrives in a short period of time, the minority-group residents are concentrated not dispersed (enclaves), etc.

Applying this model to the current status of various minority groups, we can see the validity of the model. For example, among the three groups in question, Native Americans were the oldest, having inhabited the continent for thousands of years before Columbus’ discovery. Consistent with Gordon’ s model this group had met more success in assimilating with European Americans. Between Latinos and Asian Americans, the latter’ s arrival can be termed more recent, which explains the community’ s exclusivity from the American mainstream. The Asian American community, by virtue of forming their own ethnic conclaves and retaining their traditional culture, has made the process of assimilation difficult.

The first contact between Native Americans and European immigrants was established at a time when American colonialism was not well entrenched. After the Declaration of Independence from the British Crown, America became a colonial power in its own right, which reached its peak after the Second World War. To this extent, the experiences of different waves of immigrants vary from one another. For example, Asian American immigration to the United States is largely confined to the last sixty years.

Again, the uniqueness of their experience in the country is consistent with Noel Hypothesis and Blauner Hypothesis. The latter is particularly accurate in its predictions of power equations in the colonial world. Although the United States is known as the land of immigrants and referred to as the ‘ melting pot’ of different cultures, each ethnic community has its own unique politico-economic circumstances that impelled its migration. Today, the Mexican-American immigrant population in the United States easily outnumbers that of other minority groups.

The basic motivating factor behind this migration is an economic opportunity. In the last few decades the trade relations between the North American neighbors USA, Canada and Mexico had increased.

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