How George Fredrickson explain Sherman Alexie’s essay

 

Fredrickson examines the ethnic relations and racial categories that have been in existence in the American history. These ethnic relations have been changing depending on time and the political background of America. America has had different ethnic groups interacting within its land. For instance, the white Indians, black Americans and Asians inhabit some areas in America. Throughout its history, America has been in constant efforts to expand its territorial boundaries to the west and to other geographical locations. The idea of expansion brings in the concept of manifest destiny. Manifest destiny is an idea held by most Americans that America would expand its boundaries throughout the continent. However, slavery and the existence of many tribes hindered the realization of the idea of manifest destiny. Fredrickson uses four models to explain how different ethnic and racial groups that people view as different should relate with one another. However, this essay focuses on one of the models, which is assimilation. The essay will examine Sherman Alexie’s essay and how Sherman applies Fredrickson’s model of assimilation. Assimilation is one of the best models of explaining the racial and ethnic differences between different tribes living in America. Assimilation is an exemplary model of explaining gender identity and the best approach to unite different social groups in the world.

The main aim of assimilation is to establish a stable American culture where all ethnic groups are equal. Good understanding of the model requires one to know some terms that the model uses. Some of these terms include dominant cultures, inferior cultures and out-groups among other terms. The model does not call for a racist approach to ethnic and racial integration but rather considers the plight of all cultures involved, including the inferior cultures. However, the dominant culture has some characteristics of superiority and purity. Assimilation involves invitation of minority cultures to join the American culture through ethnic integration. In most cases, few aspects of the minority culture are preserved or passed on to the new integrated American culture. American has applied this model throughout its history. For instance, in the twentieth century, the model applied to large numbers of European immigrants who had migrated to America (Fredrickson 102). Other social theories can apply this model. For instance, equality of men and women can apply the model of assimilation in trying to understand the basic facts surrounding it (Colombo, Robert and Bonnie 45).

In his essay, Sherman notes talks about assimilation in the modern context. He notes that Americans practice assimilation in their daily life, some without knowing. Assimilation helps in establishing strong relationships among different parties from the individual level to the country level. Sherman’s article notes the importance of assimilation and how it has influenced the life of many American citizens. The article argues that companies need assimilation to implement relevant strategies that will raise their performance in the competitive world. Families need assimilation especially where a marriage involves individuals from different ethnic and racial backgrounds. Sherman notes that the present day United States is the result of efforts of integration of nationality and ethnicity (Alexie 22).

Fredrickson’s model of assimilation applies in Sherman’s article about assimilation. Sherman notes that for the United States to realize the benefits of assimilation, it must take into consideration the individual traits that define an American. There is a need to respect and preserve individuality after assimilation even though the whole process involves conforming to the cultures and the social life of other individuals. Sherman borrows Frederickson’s ideas of the dominant culture or group in writing his article. Fredrickson’s model of assimilation stresses on the need for America to maintain its cultural identity in the wake of integrating other cultures into its system (Fredrickson 56). The term dominant group refers to the traits and behaviors that characterize the majority. America in this case is the dominant group that aims at absorbing other minority groups that are within its boundaries.

In America, assimilation has received resistance from minority groups who feel that their culture will be swallowed by the American culture. The white Indians, Asians, black Americans and native whites have rejected the ideas of integration proposed by the assimilation model. The concept of cultural identity manifests itself in the assimilation model. The model stresses on the importance of maintaining the traits that identify one as an American. Sherman stresses on the importance of respecting individuality in the process of assimilation. The characteristic that Frederickson suggests and Sherman’s maintenance of individuality are aspects of cultural identity.

The assimilation model can apply to modern social theories. For instance, due to evolution there has been a development of the social theory of modernity. Modernity brings in issues of marriages between individuals from different ethnic backgrounds and cultures. It is obvious in many societies and cultures that the wife adjusts herself to the culture of her husband. However, the wife does not lose the aspects of her culture that define the roles and behaviors of a female. This implies that the concept of gender identity applies the assimilation model. Gender identity requires that men and women display the characteristics and behaviors that define their differences. Gender identity depends on the origin culture of the individual concerned. An individual must maintain the traits and behaviors of his or her gender even after mixing or interacting with other individuals through marriage. This is an application of assimilation model that requires the dominant group or culture to take precedence in the process of integration (Colombo, Robert and Bonnie 65).

Assimilation brings the ideas of different groups of people together, but it recognizes the dominant traits of the individuals concerned. Fredrickson offers the best approach of harmonizing different social groups into one united group. He stresses on the importance of each social group maintaining its identity even after mixing or undergoing the process of assimilation. His ideas reflect themselves in Sherman’s article, which is about how Americans undergo the process of assimilation in their daily life. Sherman stresses on the need for maintenance of individuality even after assimilation takes place. The essay has discussed how the model of assimilation can apply in gender identity. The example of a marriage between two individuals from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds has helped in explaining assimilation and gender equality. Marriage often involves the wife conforming to the cultures and the way of life of the husband. However, the wife must preserve aspects of her culture that define her responsibility of being female, which is gender identity. Maintenance of gender identity in marriage is, therefore, an application of assimilation model.

Works Cited

Alexie, Sherman. Assimilation in the United States. Available at http://www.123helpme.com/assimilation-in-the-united-states-preview.asp?id=168372. 2009. Web. Retrieved on 12 November 2012.

Colombo, Gary, Robert Cullen, and Bonnie Lisle. Rereading America: Cultural Contexts for Critical Thinking and Writing. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martins, 2010. Print.

Fredrickson, George M. Models of American Ethnic Relations: a Historical Perspective. New York, 2009. Print.

 

 


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