There are limits to cultural freedom. A Romanian immigrant to the United States could not expect to avoid learning English and still move up the occupational ladder. To survive, a society must have a consensus among its members on basic ideals, values, and beliefs. Nevertheless, there is still plenty of room for variety. Earlier, fusion was de- scribed as A + B + C -+ D and assimilation as A + B + C--> A. Using this same scheme, we can think of pluralism as A + B + C -+ A + B + C, where groups coexist in one society (Manning 1995; Newman 1973; Simpson 1995). In the United States, cultural pluralism is more an ideal than a reality. Although there are vestiges of cultural pluralism—in the various ethnic neighborhoods in major cities, for instance—the rule has been for subordinate groups to assimilate. Yet as the minority becomes the numerical majority, the ability to live out one's identity becomes a bit easi- er. African Americans, Hispanics, and Asian Americans already outnumber Whites in nine of the ten largest cities (Figure 1.7). The trend is toward even greater diversity. Nonetheless, the cost of cultural integrity throughout the nation's history has been high. The various Native American tribes have succeeded to a large extent in maintaining their heritage, but the price has been bare subsistence on federal reservations. In the United States, there is a reemergence of ethnic identification by groups that had previously expressed little interest in their heritage. Groups that make up the dominant majority are also reasserting their ethnic heritages. Various nationality groups are rekindling interest in almost forgotten languages, customs, festivals, and traditions. In some instances, this expression of the past has taken the form of a protest against exclusion from the dominant society. For example, Chinese youths FIGURE 1.7 Race and Ethnicity, 15 Largest Cities, 2005 Source: Author analysis based on American Community Survey 2006 and U.S. Bureau of the Census 2001c.
g i Chapter 1 Understanding Race and Ethnicity Let's play Scrabble! This is not your typical board game. In order to preserve their language among young people, residents of the Lake Traverse Reservation of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate hold Scrabble tournaments where only Dakotah language words are permitted. bilingualism The use of two or more lan- guages in places of work or education and the treatment of each language as legitimate. chastise their elders for forgetting the old ways and accepting White American influ- ence and control. The most visible controversy about pluralism is the debate surrounding bilingual- ism. Bilingualism is the use of two or more languages in places of work or education, with each language being treated as equally legitimate. As of 2000, about one of every six people (17 percent) speaks a native language other than English at home. Reflect- ing this diversity, the demand for interpreters is now unprecedented. One private company, NetworkOmni (2006), provides services to both government and private clients seeking translation services. To meet the need, the business offers interpreters
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