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A group of black men and an old car standing outside a billiard hall.
In the “Jim Crow” South, it was legal to have “separate but equal” facilities for blacks and whites. (Photo courtesy of Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons)

De facto segregation, however, cannot be abolished by any court mandate. Segregation is still alive and well in the United States, with different racial or ethnic groups often segregated by neighborhood, borough, or parish. Sociologists use segregation indices to measure racial segregation of different races in different areas. The indices employ a scale from zero to 100, where zero is the most integrated and 100 is the least. In the New York metropolitan area, for instance, the black-white segregation index was seventy-nine for the years 2005–2009. This means that 79 percent of either blacks or whites would have to move in order for each neighborhood to have the same racial balance as the whole metro region (Population Studies Center 2010).

Pluralism

Pluralism is represented by the ideal of the United States as a “salad bowl”: a great mixture of different cultures where each culture retains its own identity and yet adds to the flavor of the whole. True pluralism is characterized by mutual respect on the part of all cultures, both dominant and subordinate, creating a multicultural environment of acceptance. In reality, true pluralism is a difficult goal to reach. In the United States, the mutual respect required by pluralism is often missing, and the nation’s past pluralist model of a melting pot posits a society where cultural differences aren’t embraced as much as erased.

Assimilation

Assimilation describes the process by which a minority individual or group gives up its own identity by taking on the characteristics of the dominant culture. In the United States, which has a history of welcoming and absorbing immigrants from different lands, assimilation has been a function of immigration.

A photo of the Statue of Liberty.
For many immigrants to the United States, the Statue of Liberty is a symbol of freedom and a new life. Unfortunately, they often encounter prejudice and discrimination. (Photo courtesy of Mark Heard/flickr)

Most people in the United States have immigrant ancestors. In relatively recent history, between 1890 and 1920, the United States became home to around 24 million immigrants. In the decades since then, further waves of immigrants have come to these shores and have eventually been absorbed into U.S. culture, sometimes after facing extended periods of prejudice and discrimination. Assimilation may lead to the loss of the minority group’s cultural identity as they become absorbed into the dominant culture, but assimilation has minimal to no impact on the majority group’s cultural identity.

Some groups may keep only symbolic gestures of their original ethnicity. For instance, many Irish Americans may celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day, many Hindu Americans enjoy a Diwali festival, and many Mexican Americans may celebrate Cinco de Mayo (a May 5 commemoration of Mexican independence and heritage). However, for the rest of the year, other aspects of their originating culture may be forgotten.

Assimilation is antithetical to the “salad bowl” created by pluralism; rather than maintaining their own cultural flavor, subordinate cultures give up their own traditions in order to conform to their new environment. Sociologists measure the degree to which immigrants have assimilated to a new culture with four benchmarks: socioeconomic status, spatial concentration, language assimilation, and intermarriage. When faced with racial and ethnic discrimination, it can be difficult for new immigrants to fully assimilate. Language assimilation, in particular, can be a formidable barrier, limiting employment and educational options and therefore constraining growth in socioeconomic status.

Amalgamation

Amalgamation is the process by which a minority group and a majority group combine to form a new group. Amalgamation creates the classic “melting pot” analogy; unlike the “salad bowl,” in which each culture retains its individuality, the “melting pot” ideal sees the combination of cultures that results in a new culture entirely.

Amalgamation, also known as miscegenation, is achieved through intermarriage between races. In the United States, antimiscegenation laws flourished in the South during the Jim Crow era. It wasn’t until 1967’s Loving v. Virginia that the last antimiscegenation law was struck from the books, making these laws unconstitutional.

Summary

Intergroup relations range from a tolerant approach of pluralism to intolerance as severe as genocide. In pluralism, groups retain their own identity. In assimilation, groups conform to the identity of the dominant group. In amalgamation, groups combine to form a new group identity.

Short answer

Do you believe immigration laws should foster an approach of pluralism, assimilation, or amalgamation? Which perspective do you think is most supported by current U.S. immigration policies?

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Which intergroup relation do you think is the most beneficial to the subordinate group? To society as a whole? Why?

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Further research

So you think you know your own assumptions? Check and find out with the Implicit Association Test: (External Link)

What do you know about the treatment of Australia’s aboriginal population? Find out more by viewing the feature-length documentary Our Generation : (External Link)

References

Asi, Maryam, and Daniel Beaulieu. 2013. “Arab Households in the United States: 2006–2010.” U.S. Census Bureau . Retrieved November 19, 2014 (http://www.census.gov/prod/2013pubs/acsbr10-20.pdf).

Lewy, Guenter. 2004. “Were American Indians the Victims of Genocide?” Retrieved December 6, 2011 ( (External Link) ).

Norris, Tina, Paula L. Vines, and Elizabeth M. Hoeffel. 2012. “The American Indian and Alaska Native Population: 2010.” U.S. Census Bureau . Retrieved November 19, 2014 (http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-10.pdf).

Population Studies Center. 2010. “New Racial Segregation Measures for States and Large Metropolitan Areas: Analysis of the 2005–2009 American Community Survey.” Population Studies Center: Institute for Social Research. Retrieved November 29, 2011 ( (External Link) ).

Tatz, Colin. 2006. "Confronting Australian Genocide." The Indigenous Experience: Global Perspectives . Edited by Roger Maaka and Chris Andersen. Toronto, Canada: Canadian Scholars Press.

U.S. Census Bureau. 2014. “State and County Quickfacts.” Retrieved November 19, 2014 (http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html).

Questions & Answers

what are the approaches in sociology of education
kevolution Reply
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SWS
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Evalife Reply
sociology means what?
sm Reply
means the science that use the empirical method and critical analysis to develop about human social stucture and activities
Musa
social scirnce is based on observable entites
Ilayda
the scientific study of human behaviors and society
asim
what is archiology
Benson
understanding human behaviour practicallly . sociology is ghe scientific nd emperical study of society e.g if we want to study of any individual wo can observe him r her through participatte obervation r nonobservation .wo can study individual's behaviour thriugh interview,questionere etc
musharaf
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Sarudzayi
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Tohid Reply
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musharaf
You are always welcome dude
Mubarak
🤗🤗
musharaf
plz. can any one explain me if I completed sociology which department I.will work for the government ?
Hasan
sociology is not all about to work for govt itz social work ...help the society to solve the problm
musharaf
i also in sociology dept
Munir
well my question is how can I get job if my country not like western countries and. I. finished this field
Hasan
plz unswer my question
Hasan
Are you studying just to get Job?
Mubarak
No I don't think so. But a the and all of us have to earn money to pay your living place etc.
Jannik
Exactly, but you have to understand one thing knowledge is power and whenever you have power you have money. Think as a Social Thinker
Mubarak
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musharaf
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musharaf
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Hasan
Thx Hasan Muuse and Mubarak Saidu. Do you study sociology? And in which country?
Jannik
jannik no
Hasan
But you are interested in this topic :D
Jannik
yes I like it
Hasan
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Hasan
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Jannik
ok thnks
Hasan
I love to study to very interesting facts im learning
Kayleigh
what is conflict
Shahzaib
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musharaf
what is class struggle theory?
shahnam Reply
class struggle is all about the conflict between two sections of society, one is having the hold on resources plus all the capital outcomes of it(called bourgeois) whereas the other section is bound and compelled to serve the industries as a labourers or workers(called proletariats).
Lokesh
its a theory given by karl marx about bourgeois nd proletraits or have's nd havenot's respectively
musharaf
thanks
shahnam
sure ! welcome.
Lokesh
hii
Lalita
hi
shahnam
hlo
Zahid
Class struggle is all about Materialism in human society. The scarcity of it let people struggle. The have and the have not, as Marx said the bourgeois and Proletariat
Mubarak
What is cultural Shock, and cultural relativism
Mubarak
ok
eddie
mubark sir plz tell me about cultural shock
musharaf
Cultural shock is conditions of disorientation affecting someone who is suddenly exposed to an unfamiliar culture or way of life or set of attitude.
Mubarak
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musharaf
An example of cultural shock is, here in Nigeria there is a different cultures between southerners and northerners. So when a northerners visit South and saw southerner urinate while standing he feel abruptly and shock, because he is not familiar with this.
Mubarak
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musharaf
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Mubarak
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jumpe
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musharaf
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musharaf
because there r many problms in day to day life about about rural society nd gender
musharaf
Wao! Very well. I'm Industrial Sociologist
Mubarak
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musharaf
I'm also a Functionalist and symbolic interaction
Mubarak
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musharaf
wt about ur studies
musharaf
Because you knw Nigeria is a developing country so it's lack social analysts regarding to industrial planners. So that's why
Mubarak
I'm nw undergo my Masters degree in industrial sociology @University of Nigerian
Mubarak
nice thanks
manisha
what is meant by pattern variable
Akak
Your studies?
Mubarak
I don't study. I'm in Highschool in Germany :D
Jannik
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Mubarak
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Tohid
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jumpe
sir i wish all ur dreams come true
musharaf
Hi Tohid
Mubarak
What have come today for
Mubarak
im doing master's degree in sociology from Jammu university
musharaf
Thank you so much Musharaf for ur prayer
Mubarak
Adi
Akak
👍
Tohid
Manisha u can
Akak
Is doing master in sociology a good opportunity to find later a good job where you like to go?
Jannik
akak sir pattern variable are 5 dichotomies dev. by tallcott parson to draw out the contrasting value to which individuals orient themselves in social interaction
musharaf
Pattern variable is a concept develop by Talcott person is trying to explain how social action
Mubarak
Good day guys
Mubarak
What is the main difference between census and survey?
Mustafa Reply
explain major contributions of Charles Wright Mills and Augusto Comte to the discipline of sociology
lugumba Reply
importance of sociology in logic if some one knows about plz help
Saqib
what are importance of studying sociology
Neema Reply
1 sociology detects and Solve Social Problems 2Sociology Helps in Planning and Development 3. Sociology makes a scientific study of Sociology 4 studies role of the institutions in the development of the individuals. 5 Helps in Preservation and Growth of Culture
manisha
6.sociology has made broaden the outlook of man. 7 Sociology is of great importance in the solution of international problems. 
manisha
what are feature of social institution
Muhid
eplayn philosopher of sociology
Mujahid Reply
explain philosopher of sociology
Mujahid
me
Ashebir
what is the difference between asocialist group on all definitions?
Koko Reply
what is the value of sociology
Banao Reply
What are the patterns of social interaction with regard to gender, religion and education
Norman Reply
define functionalist perspective
Jalil
what is cultural
nusrat Reply
culture is the way of life of a particular group of people
Philemon
culture is the backbone of society.
shahnam
culture consists of the beliefs' behaviour' objects' and other characteristics common to the members of particular group of society.
Zahid
culture is our way of life, customs ,traditions ,norms nd behavoiur
musharaf
can anyone explain what is socialogy as science in detail ?
Sydish Reply
sociology is a science because it adoptes and applies the scientific method . sociology does make a scientific method in the study of its subject matter.hence sociology is a science
Zahid
because its study the systematically about society
Akak
in secince we use tools such as thermometers telescopes microscope verniercliper etc similarly in sociology we tools interview questionare servey case study sampling etc so sociology is a science.
shahnam
scientific study of society is called sociology it involves scientific method, observation, hypothesis, experiments, and conclusions , this study produces theories and facts about society , that's why it is science
sohrab
explayn philosopher of socilogy
Mujahid
is caste system dangerous in politics? how
Zahid Reply
In present days the main caused for winning the election,after that they influence in any field
Akak
by those activities a father will become enemy to his son hence we should control it
Zahid

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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to sociology 2e. OpenStax CNX. Jan 20, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11762/1.6
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