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According to sociologists, there are two main patterns of intergroup relations. These are assimilation and pluralism.
Assimilation occurs when a group comes to lose its distinctive identity in a society. This can happen through a “melting pot” process in which two or more groups’ identities are all melded together or it can occur through one group coming to conform to the other’s ways. Most white ethnic groups in the United States have almost completely assimilated into mainstream American society.
Pluralism occurs when a group maintains its cultural identity. This can occur on an equal basis (with the group being seen as different, but equal to others) or it can be unequal, with the group being discriminated against or otherwise abused. Pluralism can be seen to a large degree in relations between white Americans and African Americans.
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