Assimilation Theory


Assimilation Theory (You can either discuss strengths and weaknesses, refine the theory, or suggest assimilation theory policies to reduce inequality; you

don’t have to answer all questions.)

Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of assimilation theory. From what you know from the readings and other sources, how accurate does the theory seem to

be in predicting who will “make it” in our society? What does the theory leave out? Do you agree with its basic assumption that assimilation is desirable?

Does cultural assimilation indeed lead to equal access to positions in the economic, educational, political, etc. structures? According to this theory, who

is seen as responsible for the continued existence of racial and ethnic inequality?

The theory presents assimilation as a more or less automatic process. Refine the theory by listing factors which might hinder or facilitate the speed and

degree of assimilation for different groups. To help you come up with a list of such factors, here are seven racial and ethnic groups in alphabetical

order: American Indians, Chinese, Germans, Irish, Italians, Mexicans, Swedes. Which three of these groups are the most likely to assimilate, which are the

least likely to assimilate to White Anglo-Saxon or Anglo American ways? Then discuss why you ordered the groups in this way. This should lead to a list of

factors which make assimilation easier or harder for different racial and ethnic groups.

Pretend to be an assimilation theorist. Which policies would you suggest to reduce racial and ethnic inequality in the U.S.?