In discussions of adaptations of African Americans to United States society, what do scholars mean by the term "assimilation"?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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In discussions concerning adaptations of minority or immigrant groups to United States society, scholars identify two major strategies, that of multiculturalism, in which the minority groups retain their own distinctive cultures, and assimilation, in which theĀ  minority groups adopt the culture of the majority.

In the case of African Americans, assimilation refers to adopting the majority (white) culture in all areas of life. In language this means using standard forms of white English rather than distinctively African American dialects. In outward appearance, this might involve wearing standard western rather than African themed clothing, hair straightening, and even use of skin lightning products. In terms of social life, this would include association with a social circle including many white people, including white rather than black churches, intermarriage, living in a mixed racial neighborhood, etc.


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