Why does Bernetha not want to be an assimilationist?

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e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Dignity is Beneatha's ultimate aim. She strives to find a way to achieve dignity, through education and through the adoption of pan-African values.

Living in poverty and being a woman in the mid-twentieth century, Beneatha's challenge to achieve dignity is a significant one. For her, true dignity is at odds with the idea of cultural assimilation. 

To be an assimilationist, for Beneatha, is to concede to the notion that African Americans have no other recourse in the pursuit of dignity except to adopt the cultural values of the dominant ethnic group (Caucasian Americans).

There is an implication in assimilationism that one culture is superior to the other. Beneatha sides with Asagai, who believes that there is a great deal of value in African culture and a pan-African identity. 

Joseph Asagai encourages Beneatha to feel proud of her racial identity...


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