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The Question of Assimilation


									The Question of Assimilation

The Alice Paul Liberty Fellowship
    Moorestown NJ 10-2-09
          What is Anthropology?
Physical Anthropology        Cultural
• Primatology              Anthropology
The study of primates.    A.K.A. Ethnology

• Paleoanthropology      • Ethnography

  The study of human       A.K.A.
  evolution              Participant
• Human Variation
Studies:    The study of • Linguistics
the physical differences • Archaeology
in humans.
             What is Culture?
 The Culture Concept: Culture is understood
 as the learned body of knowledge, beliefs,
  and customs that people use to organize
    their natural and social environments.

  Material Traits      Non-Material Traits
• Tools              • Attitudes
• Clothing           • Behaviors
• Housing            • Beliefs
• ETC.               • ETC.

    The Fossil
The Essential Question
    Who Are We?

                            Homo Habilis 2.2 - 1.6

Australopithecus 4-2 MYA

                            Homo Sapiens Sapiens
                            200,000 YA to Present

 Homo Erectus 2 - 0.4 MYA

Map of early human migrations according to mitochondrial population genetics
                  (numbers are millennia before present).
       What is Ethnicity?
• A group of humans who identify
with one another
• Share a common HERITAGE that
is real or presumed
• Other groups recognize them as
• Share common cultural traits:
behavioral, values, attitudes, etc.
Do they represent a racial

     …ethnic group?
American immigration history can be viewed in
four epochs:

• The colonial period (Northern Europe)
• The mid-nineteenth century (Northern
• The turn of the twentieth (Southern/Eastern
• Post-1965 (Latin America/Asia)

  From 1836 to 1914, over 30 million Europeans
        migrated to the United States
  American Indians
The First Immigrants
  to the Americas
   Attempts to Assimilate into American Culture
From 1809-21 Sequoyah single-handedly creates a Cherokee
syllabic alphabet so that his people's language can be written.
 Alphabet, Newspapers, Towns
 Planters and Farmers
 Some Owned Slaves

                  Ross, one of the
                  richest men in
                  North Georgia
                  before 1838 had
                  a number of
                  ventures including a 200 acre farm and owned a
                  number of slaves. He was forced to move in the
                  Trail of Tears. He lost everything.
   John Ross
                     The American View of
                       Native Americans

                    Grant’s Inaugural Address 12-4-1871

"the policy pursued toward the Indians has resulted
favorably...many tribes of Indians have been induced to
settle upon reservations, to cultivate the soil, to
perform productive labor of various kinds, and to
partially accept civilization. They are being cared for in
such a way, it is hoped, as to induce those still pursuing
their old habits of life to embrace the only opportunity
which is left them to avoid extermination.”
             The Dawes Act and Assimilation
   Indian children, seen as the key to assimilation,
   were forcibly taken from their homes and sent to

In 1887, the government instituted the Dawes Act to
accelerate assimilation by dissolving the reservations and
allotting land to individual Indians. Most tribes resisted,
refusing to give up their culture and unique ways of life.
"...the real aim of [the Dawes Act] is
to get at the Indians land and open it
up for resettlement." - Senator Henry
M. Teller, 1881
                               "A great general has
                               said that the only good
Congressman Henry Dawes        Indian is a dead one. In
                               a sense, I agree with
once expressed his faith       the sentiment, but only
in the civilizing power of     in this: that all the
                               Indian there is in the
private property with the      race should be dead.
claim that to be civilized     Kill the Indian in him
                               and save the man"
was to "wear civilized
clothes... cultivate the
ground, live in houses, ride
in Studebaker wagons,
send children to school,
drink whiskey [and] own

                                             Studebaker Wagon
        Carlisle School 1900
Making Apples: Red outside - White inside
Native children at the Carlisle Indian school in Carlisle,
Pennsylvania. This school forced native children removed
from their home to be acculturated to white culture. Many
of the children died because of bad food and conditions.
In the 1800s and early 1900s Indians were
forbidden to practice their religion or speak
their language
         Carlisle Indian Industrial
Horse (Oglala)

                 American Horse with children and
                  relatives during an 1882 visit to
                     the Carlisle Indian School
                  Apache children
                   arrive at the
                  Carlisle Indian

Apache children
  four months
What does it mean to be acculturated?
Why were Indians subjected to a forced
       process of assimilation?
  What is the difference between the
Indian experience and the newly arrived
  Is there a standard set of cultural
   values that should be held by all
Immigrant Enclave

            What are the
            differences in
            the attitudes
            and experience
            of these
            immigrants and
        Cultural Brokers

 Who are other
cultural brokers
Intolerance: The Closed
     Society Model

         The Closed Society
 Ethnic/Race/Class Exploitation
 The aim of a closed society is to
 ensure the supremacy of one class (or
 race or group) over another
 To bridge the gap, an elaborate set
 of explanations and ideas are needed
 which is, by definition, at variance
 with the facts
                  ETC.            26
        European Social Conditions
• Alienated young Muslims, who became radicalized in Europe
• Lack of alternative expression of social protest
   • No U-utopian vision for Justice & Fairness
   • Demise of old Left in Europe
• Failure of European integration policy for Muslim populations
             - Rapid immigration growth post WWII
             - Vulnerable to economic crises
• Rigid social structure in Europe
             - Lack of bottom up integration
             - Failure of top down policy Europe v. countries
          built on immigration
             - No “European Dream” but an alienation &
          radicalization of the younger generation

   Is this the future of US intercultural relations?
Assimilation: The Role of Language
  Class, Codes and Control, Basil
         Bernstein (1971)

  How do you get ACCESS in a

         In Group
  The Elaborated Language

The Restricted Language Code

 What impact do they have on
life’s chances and the process
        of assimilation?

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