Sunday, January 12, 2020
Relationship of Race and Ethnicity Essay
Former President Jimmy Carter once said, Ã¢â¬Å"We have become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreamsÃ¢â¬ (Ã¢â¬Å"iCelebrateDiversity. comÃ¢â¬ ). 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 othersÃ¢â¬ ¦, 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 Ã¢â¬Å"the middle class cultural patterns of Ã¢â¬ ¦ white, Anglo-SaxonÃ¢â¬ 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, close friends, cliques within clubs, and groups within organizations (Aguirre and Turner 33). It is harder to accomplish structural assimilation than cultural assimilation because it involves access into interacting and associating with the dominant ethnic groups. Members of ethnic groups may lack more primary and personal connections with members of dominant ethnic groups even when they enter more secondary and formal structures like schools, workplaces, and political arenas. The social identity theory, also known as the psychological theory, is the most prominent psychological approach to ethnic relations. One level of the psychological theory, called the role identity, is the identity that each human being has of themselves in certain roles like being a father, mother, worker, student, and so forth. The second level of identity is self-conception and involves emotions, cognitions, and evaluations that people make of their Ã¢â¬Å"whole self. Ã¢â¬ A third level, and the one most relevant to ethnic relation, is social identity and it emerges when people see themselves as members of a social category vis-a-vis other social categories (Aguirre and Turner 37). For example, one kind of social identity is being male or female or being African American or Latino. Once social identities are formed, they take on a life of their own. Individuals are born into families whose members carry these identities, with the result that the young are socialized in to the prototype of beliefs, norms, and behaviors appropriate to this identity (Aguirre and Turner 38). Socialization moves past the family to friends and organizations if they have a high rate of involvement with non-family members who hold this same identity. The race of my family is Asian and the ethnicity is Vietnamese. Since I am the first generation of my family in the United States, I would be Asian-American. These theories I have talked about explain a lot about what my racial and ethnic identity is. The assimilation theory talks about being absorbed into the middle-class Anglo-Saxon culture. I think that my family has done well into adopting and mixing the Anglo-Saxon culture with our own Vietnamese culture. I was born and raised in a middle-class rural area where the population is heavily filled with white Anglo-Saxon people. I went to grade, middle, and high school where everyone around me was white and I was the only or among a few Asian students. To get along with the society around us, my family and I had to change up some customs and beliefs in order to associate properly with the white Anglo-Saxon people. Some changes my parents have made was learning to speak and write English, learning how to cook and eat American food, and learning how to live and communicate freely since Vietnam has many restrictions. I have been very fortunate to have a wide range of diverse friends and been able to join sports teams and clubs during school. The psychological theory has created identities that make me unique from the people around me. Some role identities that make me who I am are being a student, son, brother, cousin, friend, and worker. Some self-conception roles I have attained are being grateful for what I have in front of me, being generous and considerate to others, having good manners, and standing up for myself when IÃ¢â¬â¢m disrespected. My social identities include being male, Asian-American, Vietnamese, Pennsylvanian, and Catholic. The psychological theory has helped me determine who I am and where I belong. It also has informed me that being Asian has made me look at both the differences and similarities between the Asian and Anglo-Saxon cultures. In conclusion, these theories have really helped me understand my racial and ethnic background spectrum. They have allowed me to recognize how my family and I transitioned to the American way of life. Since IÃ¢â¬â¢m Asian-American, I can have the best of both worlds: the Asian music and food and the American way of living and freedom. I am very fortunate to be living in a country with so many different people with different backgrounds, beliefs, and custom. Works Cited Aguirre, Jr. , Adalberto, and Jonathan H. Turner. American Ethnicity: The Dynamics and Consequences of Discrimination. Sixth. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. , 2009. Print. Ã¢â¬Å"Diversity Quotes. Ã¢â¬ iCelebrateDiversity. com. Web. 2 Oct 2009. .