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Extent of Assimilation - distinctive culture and social...

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Extent of Assimilation • It is clear that there were cultural gaps between the Italian immigrants and other, more powerful groups in the United States. Pluralism existed in language, religion, education, family, and cultural values. Such differences either caused or were excuses for sometimes aggressive dominant group hostility. • In America, for example, where compulsory school attendance lengthened the period of functional childhood, the immigrants had difficulty in accepting the American concept of a longer childhood and often believed that their children should leave school to go to work. Many such conflicts in intergroup relations took place. • Assimilation may not have been what all the Italians wanted; many wanted to preserve their
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Unformatted text preview: distinctive culture and social group. However, the fact that Italian Americans chose to learn English to get a better job was assimilation, regardless of the intention. • Italian Americans have assimilated to a very large extent. This feat is remarkable considering: 1) the recent mass immigration, just over 100 years old 2) the significant cultural gaps between the dominant and subordinate groups 3) the impoverished state of most immigrants 4) the temporary status of many immigrants 5) the desire to maintain a separate community 6) the virulent prejudice and discrimination against them...
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