guage, customs, religious beliefs, and cultural patterns of New England, the "deep South," the West or Middle West--depending on where the newcomer happens to be settled--then these agencies must be counted an obstacle to assimilation. But if the essence of assimilation is, first of all, emotional identification with America and second, participation in general American life, if assimilation is considered not a one-way process but a mutual adjustment, then these agencies must be regarded as instruments of individual and group adjustment to America.
Agencies organized by a nationality or any other group naturally place a certain emphasis on the things--in this case, common heritage and language--which are the basis of the group's existence. To some extent, consequently, they tend to increase group consciousness as contrasted with emotional identification with America. It must be remembered, however, that most of these same agencies have been founded to meet the immigrant's needs in a new country. In a deeper sense, therefore, they are instruments of his adjustment and have a profound influence in furthering his assimilation. They facilitate, rather than prevent, his participation in such general American activities as trade unions and political parties and in local community affairs. Even the emphasis on native language and culture is likely in the end to enrich and strengthen America and equip it better for its historic task of forging a united and peaceful world.
Peter A. Munch
[ Some of the Norwegians who settled in rural Wisconsin have maintained a strong ethnic identification. Professor Peter A. Munch presents a sociological description of how this group has made its social adjustment. ]
From the point of view that culture, in the broadest sense of the word, is the total adjustment of human society to its physical____________________
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Publication information: Book title: Race Prejudice and Discrimination: Readings in Intergroup Relations in the United States. Contributors: Arnold M. Rose - Editor. Publisher: Knopf. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1951. Page number: 376.
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