Discussion: High-ethnic Immersion
An assimilated individual demonstrates high-dominant and low-ethnic society immersion. This entails moving away from one’s ethnic society and immersing fully in the dominant society (Stephenson, 2000). As a result, the minority group disappears through the loss of particular identifying physical or sociocultural characteristics. This usually occurs when people immigrate to a new geographic region and in their desire to be part of the mainstream give up most of their culture traits of origin and take on a new cultural identity defined by the dominant culture. Many people do not fully assimilate, however, and tend to keep some of their original cultural beliefs.
2. An integrated person has high-dominant and high-ethnic immersion. Integration entails immersion in both ethnic and dominant societies (Stephenson, 2000). An example of an integrated person is a Russian American who socializes with the dominant group but chooses to speak Russian at home and marries a person who is Russian.
FIGURE 1.3 Acculturation framework.
3. Separated individuals have low-dominant and high-ethnic immersion. A separated individual withdraws from the dominant society and completely submerges into the ethnic society (Stephenson, 2000). An example is a person who lives in an ethnic community such as Little Italy or Chinatown.
4. A marginalized individual has low-dominant and low-ethnic immersion and does not identify with any particular culture or belief system.
Marginalized people tend to have the most psychological problems and the highest stress levels. These individuals often lack social support systems and are not accepted by the dominant society or their culture of origin. A person in the separated mode is accepted in his or her ethnic society but may not be accepted by the dominant culture, leaving the person feeling alienated. The integrated and assimilated modes are considered to be the most psychologically healthy adaptation styles, although some individuals benefit more from one than from the other. Western Europeans and individuals whose families have been in the United States for a number of generations (and are not discriminated against) are most likely to adopt an assimilated mode because they have many beliefs and attributes of the dominant society. Individuals who retain value structures from their country of origin and encounter discrimination benefit more from an integrated (bicultural) mode. To be bicultural one must be knowledgeable about both cultures and see the positive attributes of both of them.
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