Define pluralism, assimilation, and suppression.

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These are valuable distinctions regarding how a society responds to diversity.

Pluralism is often conflated with multiculturalism or cosmopolitanism, though each is its own reality. Pluralism occurs when different groups coexist on essentially equal footing. In this instance, the goal is to avoid hierarchies of power and to disperse power...

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These are valuable distinctions regarding how a society responds to diversity.

Pluralism is often conflated with multiculturalism or cosmopolitanism, though each is its own reality. Pluralism occurs when different groups coexist on essentially equal footing. In this instance, the goal is to avoid hierarchies of power and to disperse power across multiple stakeholders. Decentralized power theoretically invests more people in the governing entity. Many people suggest that Canada offers an example of what pluralism might look like, though they cannot claim a purely decentralized government.

Assimilation assumes the presence of diversity as well. In this case, however, the non-dominant group takes on the qualities and values of the dominant group, such as to be largely indistinguishable in any practical way. In the United States, for instance, immigrants from many nations were not initially well-received and clustered in tight-knit areas that replicated their homeland. Over time and generations, the distinguishing qualities they possessed and the discriminatory attitudes toward those qualities waned. In Chicago, the old neighborhoods were strongly defined by the ethnicity of the largely European immigrants who settled them. Over time, these ethnic groups have assimilated, moving to suburbs where Lithuanians feel comfortable living among Irish, German, and Ukrainian descendants. Each of these groups may celebrate certain holidays or foods differently, but in matters of great importance now, their ethnic background does not play a major deciding factor.

Suppression also assumes the presence of diversity, and in this case diversity is viewed as a problem to be solved. The minority group's culture, language, and value differences are seen as a threat or a burden to the dominant group, which seeks to minimize or eliminate these differences, on the way to the minority group's assimilation. We can see suppression in certain movements that insist that the dominant culture's language, religion, and values must be incorporated into governing policies so that all others will be assimilated or will at least keep their own customs out of the public sphere.

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