Culture and the Assimilation of Ethnic Groups
[WLOs: 2, 5, 6] [CLOs: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]
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The New Orleans Convenience Store With Legendary Vietnamese Chicken Wings – No Passport Required (Links to an external site.)
Food Is Not Only Culture, It’s Diplomacy: Leah Selim at TEDxGowanus (Links to an external site.)
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:
In what ways are immigrant groups expected to assimilate to mainstream culture? Why is assimilation to mainstream culture encouraged? In other words, why are ethnic groups encouraged to adopt the culture of their new home rather than maintain their own cultural traditions?
Describe how the United States government forced the assimilation of Native American children. What purpose did this forced assimilation serve and whom did it benefit? What might today resemble if Native Americans had not been forced to assimilate?
Researchers often measure the degree to which an ethnic group has assimilated by looking at cultural practices: things like food, dress, and language. Explain, using the resources provided, the importance of food as a cultural symbol for ethnic groups. Why might an immigrant group resist adopting to the cultural food norms of the mainstream culture?
What strategies do immigrant groups use to overcome this? What do the traditions surrounding food (e.g., who cooks it, how it is prepared and served, when and where it is eaten, etc.) reveal about an ethnic group’s culture? How can food, and the customs surrounding it, facilitate greater peace and understanding between ethnic groups?
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
Must be eight to 10 double-spaced pages in length (not including title and references pages) and formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center’s APA Style (Links to an external site.) resource.
Must include a separate title page with the following:
Title of paper
Course name and number
For further assistance with the formatting and the title page, refer to APA Formatting for Word 2013 (Links to an external site.).
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