Structural Assimilation



Assimilationrefers to the process of adopting the behaviors, culture, languageand even social activities of another civilization. In most cases,immigrants adjust to the culture of the central group they meet. Theincorporated individuals either take a section of the entire norms ofthe dominant people. The integration may be voluntary asethnographers deliberately associate with the embers of the newcommunity so that they can learn about them comprehensively.Moreover, strategies such as understanding the politics, attire andcuisines of other people counts as methods of incorporation into thehost civilization. A key benefit of the socialization approach isthat it enhances the knowledge of the visitors. On the same note, itincreases the qualified individuals in the labor force for conductingspecific jobs, increase tourism and empowers both relationship andspiritual beliefs. A notable issue is that the process occurs indiverse perspectives such as cultural and structural levels.


Structuralassimilation happens after an ethnic group entirely integrates intoanother social order. As such, the minority members acquire an equalstatus with the dominant group such that they can access similarhousing quality, jobs, education and government administration. In anutshell, it makes people from diverse backgrounds a homogenouspopulation. For instance, the African Americans originally migratedto the United States to provide slave labor. Nonetheless, culturalevolution facilitated absorption of the blacks into the principalcustoms therefore, the blacks have equal rights to the whitesbecause of structural assimilation.

Theprinciples of structural assimilation

Theconcept of integration trivializes physical traits such as ethnicity,nationality, language and appearance. In every society, specificpeople consider their attributes superior to their colleagues. Insuch cases, the powerful group may manipulate the weaker people bygiving them the low-paying jobs, setting aside low quality jobs forthem and denying them an opportunity to serve in senior positionssuch as cabinet secretaries and presidents. Fortunately, once peopleare absorbed in the supposedly powerful civilization, they shed theirprimitive lifestyles so that they can identify with their hosts(Yetman, 1999, p. 232).

Significanceof assimilation to racial and ethnic minority groups

Acceptanceof people from diverse backgrounds into the dominant cultures is anew principle that began with the fierce civil rights that took placein the United States. Previously racial and minority ethnic groupscould not fit in numerous mainstream societies because the majoritypeople oppressed, as well as denied their rights. Occasionally, thepopulation suffered adverse elimination effects such as genocide andexpulsion from a given region (Yetman, 1999, p. 233).


Theideology of genocide is an ancient strategy repressive method ofeither eliminating or substantially decreasing big groups. After theWorld War II, The International Genocide Convention was establishedto prevent recurrence of similar atrocities such as the NAZIcommitted. An act of genocide refers to any action accomplished withthe objective to wipe out either the entire or a section a racial,ethnic, religious or national group. The mission is achievable withthe use of various approaches such as killing the target members,forceful transfer, causing grave mental or physical harm to thetargeted individuals, implementation of strategies that restrict thetargeted individuals from procreation and use of methods that willfinally lead to the destruction o the entire or part of the group(Yetman, 1999, p. 233) . Although measures to curb commission ofmassacres were officially made and executed after the Second WorldWar, various people across the globe have used it to achieve theirobjectives. For example, the Turks massacred over 1.5 Armenians in1915. On the same note, the Tutsi people have butchered over onemillion Hutu minorities in Rwanda and Burundi. Similarly, theAmericans destroyed 30% (one million) Cambodians during theirintensified aerial bombing and ground war. Assimilation takes awaythe differences that make minority races and ethnics vulnerable toharm from the superior factions (Yetman, 1999, p. 234).

Exclusionand Expulsion

Ifa section of a marginalized people lives among a dominant group, thepowerful people may opt to exclude the minorities. The strategydiffers from either extermination in that the superior group usesdirect or indirect means to make the targeted people leave. Theexpress expulsion method involves the use of the military to get ridof some people (Yetman, 1999, p. 234). For instance, Americanfrontiers used forced to displace the Native Americans from theirinitial settlement. The Intense resistance the settlers faced madethem develop a slogan that claimed that claimed, “The only good redIndian is the dead one” (Yetman, 1999, p. 235).


Thestrategy involves exemption of the minority from mutual participationin communal activities. For example, the leadership duties, highpaying jobs, high-end estates and some property are restricted to thedominant group. In some cases, the majority establish oppressive lawsthat hinder the minority from rising to higher positions. Forinstance, the apartheid policy in South Africa excluded the blacksfrom participation in the political system. Besides, it restrictedthem to the production of cheap labor in the mines, house chores,farms and manufacturing industries. The labor was essential tomaintain the high standards of living the whites enjoyed. In such acase, assimilation is essential because it closes the huge gapbetween the whites and the blacks. Assimilation evidence presentlyexists in South Africa because the black Africans are free toparticipate in politics, reside in the regions that were previouslyreserved for the white colonists (Yetman, 1999, p. 236).

Thepractice involves discrimination of people from certain regions, aswell as racial and ethnic backgrounds. In the United States, smallgroups that would prefer to retain their language and culture haveremained independent of the influence the majority group may asserton them. The policies that advocate retention of specific regions forcertain ethnicities such as African Americans, Indian Americans andAsian Americans allow each ethnicity to contract estates and socialfacilities that match their culture in a foreign land (Yetman, 1999,p. 237). Assimilated societies form a homogenous population sincepeople from diverse backgrounds can freely interact. As such, theAfrican Americans can fit in the German neighborhood because each hasshed their original cultural practices for the dominant people.


Inthe United States, structural assimilation is classifiable as eitherprimary or secondary. The secondary option involves sharingneighborhoods, schools, public recreations and politicalorganizations. Consequently, restaurants can accommodate individualsfrom diverse backgrounds while students can attend a school of theirchoice. Prior to the 1950s, the “equal but different” policyadvocated individuals of specific ethnicity to have separate schools,space in public transport and even recreation space (Yetman, 1999, p.239).

Onthe other hand, primary structural integration advocate mixing ofprimary relationships such as the ones found at social clubs,religious communities, close friendships and informal socialorganizations (Yetman, 1999, p. 239).

Finally,intermarriage is also a form of structural assimilation. Individualsfrom diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds establish long-termrelationships because they have overcome the distinct differencessuch as skin color and language (Yetman, 1999, p. 239).

InherentProblems with the Popular Notions of Assimilation

Althoughstructural assimilation has helped to eliminate substantialboundaries that obstruct the development of homogenous communities,it comes with significant drawbacks. First, it has resulted in theextinction of some tribes, cultures and races. For instance, peoplemake up the United States population from diverse backgrounds.Nevertheless, the second generations immigrants lose are entirelyintegrated into the dominant culture. Consequently, homogeneity killscultural tourism because everyone behaves the same way.

Assimilationalso leads to loss of personal identity. Circumstances force anindividual to adopt the cultural trends of another civilization.Sociologists consider the process detrimental because an individualmay lose good morals and take up undesirable behaviors. For instance,a moral person takes bad actions from other people, which in turncould make then unacceptable to their communities.

Inconclusion, structural assimilation refers to the integration of anindividual into a new civilization. Incorporated individuals enjoyequal rights just like the majority groups. For instance, they canshare education, sports and health care facilities. Furthermore, theycan also vie for political all political positions that local peoplehave a right to contest. However, its primary weakness is that itmakes some people lose their personal identity.


Yetman,N. R. (1999). Majorityand minority: The dynamics of race and ethnicity in American life(6thed).Boston, MA Allyn and Bacon.