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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?

Got questions? Get instant answers now!

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 is d importance of d study sociology? Can someone help me please
onoja Reply
ok m telling u just in general. for answering in papers u can get details from online. By studying sociology we come to know why such society is today. What the hell is going on in society from down the ages. :) Why people are differ from place to place. Though we know in general without studying.
manisha
but it just showing a bigger picture to us. These concepts dont help much in life. But we can know why people r this coz they r attached to some concept.
manisha
to get marks u write this.. 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
if we study to learn from the subject we can surelyget something from it and we may want to do something for society.
manisha
Sociology help in giving us the insight about what and how human society works. It increases our horizon about the social world and improves interaction our with one another. Sociology also provide us with the view of cultural relativism.
Simon
it helps us to know the importance of socializing and how to understand others people's beliefs.
Cecilia
nice
manisha
what is social stratification
Ibrahim
Wow Manisha thanks to u guys I appreciate
onoja
Can someone help me with the agents of social stratification
Martin Reply
power pristag wealth caste
Ismail
How is sociology different from other discipline?
onoja Reply
How is sociology different from other discipline?
onoja Reply
If Emmanuel Joseph sieyes was 1st to coin the term sociology in 1780 why den August comte is regarded as d founding father of sociology?
onoja Reply
coz he was the first who associate the study with humans. formal launch was by Comte only in 1838
manisha
credit goes to comte for invention of sociology. comte was bot satusfied with sys. of social events so he wanted to introduce new science which is away from spirituality philosophical thoughts n which study social events in scientific manner.
manisha
he wanted to name this new branch into physics but name was already taken by adolf for diff. subj then he changed it into sociology 1838 by joining two words greek n latin lang. socius n logos
manisha
herbert spencer also liked to choose sociology name. in this way sociology emerged. today we r studying.
manisha
Accepted d fact Dat he was 1st to associate d discipline with human.. Am convinced now.... Thanks Manisha
onoja
If I may ask,, how did comte relate sociology to human?
onoja
sociology is not study of humans but group of humans i.e society. comte only started the analytical study of patterns of human n social grps. diff organs of society. psychology is study if human.
manisha
Thanks
onoja
interesting manisha
yakubu
Social TheoryDelete Auguste ComteEarly Forefather (1798-1857) • Three Stages of Social Evolution • Social Physics • Positivism QUOTATION “Now, the existing disorder is abundantly accounted for by the existence, all at once, of three incompatible philosophies, -- the theological, the metaphysical
Hassan
Thumbs
onoja
How is d application of d science methodology possible in sociology?
onoja
why do we study sociology law as as a course
Babagana Reply
how does population affect the social and economy policy of a country
Emmanuel Reply
The socioeconomic policy of a country can be affected when there is high rate of fertility which give rise to population explosion which lead to poverty and then crime in such society.
Simon
I need more understanding about sociology.
Olausi Reply
The first social scientist to use the term sociology was a Frenchman by the name of Auguste Comte who lived from 1798-1857. As coined by Comte, the term sociology is a combination of two words. The first part of the term is a Latin, socius- that may variously mean society, association, togetherness
sekou
what is social contracts
Yusuf
more explain
Olausi
what make sociology a science?
Nanzing
sociology is a science because it uses science methodology in arriving at it's finding
ANIH
How does sociology apply this methodology in its findings? Need help
onoja
what is the medical sociology
Krish Reply
correct cronology of study method suggested by August comte?
Aida Reply
sociology is a scientific discipline, what make it a science?
Nanzing
we use scientific mathods with facts and real observations to study the society
Batch
what is the medical sociology
Krish
I think it the study of Medical organisation or institution, how they work, their Mathods etc
Batch
what is sociological imagination?
Hamanta
it's a kind of imagination by which we can divert our mind or take us away from daily life routine surrounding society
Batch
in sociological imag. we think outside the box. we relate our problem with other or society as a whole. in this way we come to know that its not us who facing this problm infact others too facing it.
manisha
we also think in terms of others also. we view others pt. of view too.
manisha
Manisha 👍👍
Batch
thanks for the explanation
Batch
what is sociological alienation
Batch
alienation is we feel isolated from society. we gets aloof from society.
manisha
and what are reason behind it ?
Batch
according to august comte wats sociology
Deme
can some one clearly defined Sociology for me
Justin Reply
study of groups n group intetactions, societies n social interactions from small n personal groups to very large groups.
manisha
study of society and interaction among peoples...
Neelma
can any1 help me ..how to calculate percentile in individual series ..?
Madiha Reply
but I suppose ,I think you have olredy completed ua exams in June session final yr.
rameez
mam,madiha, checking out various videos availble on youTube may easily help you to solve ua problem.regards.
rameez
thnkx rameez sir for ur suggestions
Madiha
what was main reason behind Emile Durkheim’s book division of labour?
Neelma Reply
he wanted to say that division of labour i.e differences of jobs dont create problem in society or it doesnt affect moral beliefs infact it creates dependency on each other n set as binding glue.
manisha
many theorist were blaming including comte that division of labour creates problem in society like it destroy moral beliefs but emile Durkheim neglected this fact. he said it makes society together rather than affecting moral beliefs or any destruction.
manisha
even i feel division of labor dont create problem. every person have diff. potential so work of each other will be diff. and it doesnt create any difficulty.
manisha
how difference of job dont creat problem manisha can u give me an example as i cam understand properly ?
Neelma
division of labor happens in production process. like in industry. production has many steps. so work is alloted by dividing the work. one into manufacturing n other into packaging. its also happens acc. to specialisation.
manisha
so it helps in fast n proper production. so its good to divide work rather than all work done by one person.
manisha
ohh now i got it means divide one task or project in group of people .. who work on that project .. ie one building make by group of Labour's..? im i right? manisha
Neelma
yes right neelma. division of work in group.
manisha
thnks manisha for clear my concept
Neelma
hi everyone.
Khalid
so simple, diff people have different specializations - abilities, skill's, taste's, capabilities, talents thus work accordingly. thus this specialization of task's /jobs create interpendece btwn them. Had been all these people having diff talent's or skills giving same task thus have created simply
rameez
right rameez.
Khalid
Hey all! I'm a sociologist from Cyprus. This is the first time I'm writhing here! I'm glad of being part of the conversation! 😀
Marios
hi Marios Orphandies
Khalid
hi. I'm very happy to be here I like sociology but idont have any concept about jobs if I . have finished my sociology which job i. will do and how is availability of job this field thanks
Hasan
mess / problems within the system. For eg. if cobbler or blacksmith is asked to treat a patient n prescribe sm medicine, or if doctor is asked to make shoe or play circket. will they do their work properly
rameez
The answer is no. Thus specialization of task's solves problems .
rameez
can any1 tell me how 2 calculate percentile in individual series ? what is formula for that ?
Madiha
um not sure Madiha, I think total sum of series in percentile divided by total no. of series.
rameez
you are so intelligent why don't you consult you book. Anyway thank. .......
rameez
s
rameez
not mentioned in my book...thats y
Madiha
oh sad na..but bt your book was typing error..I simply meant book....And yes if had been mentioned in ua book,you wouldn't have asked... so simple.. commonsense.
rameez
welcome always n Allah bless
rameez
cyprus is so beautiful i just checked out on google.
manisha
Google nice. Baramulla is also beautiful you know.
rameez
ok nature is always beautiful
manisha
beauty lies in the eye's of beholder. what i mean beauty of the nature doesn't mean anything if people are not.
rameez
am I right Manisha
rameez
and thank you so much, Manisha for being here ,for a while I thought buddy, it was Madiha talking abt Cyprus.
rameez
what cyprus ? rameez sir
Madiha
I meant it was you talking about Cyprus is so beautiful.
rameez
no.. manisha mam was talking abt that..
Madiha
i thought....// n nothing bye
rameez
yeah.
rameez
yes beauty lies in eyes. :)
manisha
philosophy talks also exist here with sociology in this app.
manisha
:)
manisha
barmulla is so beautiful.
manisha
yes Manushi Heart of paradise Kashmir.
rameez
it means according durkhim people should work according to their abilty ? but manisha is saying that people should work combiney on one project ?
Neelma
she doesn't mean nor she is saying and infact it's you brother who is talking or have included word project in ua statement.
rameez
and even if people are working on one project doesn't mean they are having diff abilities.Its also specialization of work. as per abilities
rameez
for eg many laborers working in construction of building also need few carpenters , few masions, few electrictions, and few other person's viz skilled in bathroom/water fittings , cutting of mirror's, few painters and so on. Hope you will get ua answer now.
rameez
yess thanku .. i got it :)
Neelma
itz ok brother. God bless
rameez
sister :) not brother ..
Neelma
sister.. proof get ua Xerox ready of ID, Adhaar card,ration card, Fcbk Id, wtsap,insta.telegram n so on.till provisionally accepted.
rameez
:)
Neelma
nothing to say brother ..
Neelma
Hello
Ahsan
Can anyone help me with the the answer, what are concepts given by Merton and explain them briefly....?
Dyuti
In own opinion what do sociologist say about working abroad?
Jerald Reply
i dont know abt sociologist. if someone is rich and can afford to move to other country then its his wish. moving to another country will surely be adventures. many Indians r there in abroad working n living there.
manisha
by the way where r u from?
manisha
Zambia
Julia
hi julia. m from india.
manisha
ok
Julia
Those it also mean that in the animal kingdom, their society is structured so as to suit the male lions of having the first share. and how do you explain the difference in behavior between the male and female dogs
Ofei Reply

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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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