America’s Ethnic Relations

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America’s Ethnic Relations In his essay, Models of American Ethnic Relations: A Historical Perspective, George M. Fredrickson discusses the the ethnic relations between races and religions throughout American history. Ethnic hierarchy is the first model of social interactions between different ethnic groups. The oldest model in American history is based on a dominant group claiming rights not offered to other members of society. This elite group deems themselves superior to those whom the rights are not offered. This system of racial interaction greatly affected the Indians and Black because the starkest contrast was whites over non-whites. Before World War II, this hierarchy was also based on immigrants, mainly Irish, and Protestant over Catholics, but after, it was solely based on color. The next, more harsh, model Fredrickson discusses is One-Way assimilation. One-Way assimilation is the assumption that as a payment for equality and participation in American society, minorities must conform to the American culture. This was most evident in early settlement America during the western movement. Pioneers would send Indian children off to boarding schools to teach them how to dress, talk, and behave in American society. Slaves were also expected to conform totally into American culture after being freed. Blacks and Indians didn’t approve of having to drop all their own culture and formed movements like Black Power. Frederickson then breaks down the model Cultural Pluralism. This model is opposite of One-Way Assimilation in that the dominant culture accepts and celebrates the cultural differences of others. This model was constructed by intellectuals who rejected the negative consequences of Americanizing immigrants. Instead, this model was used to legitimize differences in culture and keep these differences. Finally Frederickson describes the model of group
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