Assimilation can be defined as the process of steadfast integration of people from different ethno-cultural backgrounds such as minority groups and immigrants, and absorbing them into a generally larger and established community. On the other hand, the term multiculturalism refers to a de facto state of both ethnic and cultural diversity within the population of a particular social environment.
North America, particularly the United States, is more accommodative of the assimilation approach as opposed to multiculturalism. The United States has long tried to use this model in molding the new entrants of this country into thinking, acting and generally being more like the “typical American” (Schaub, 2008). This, however, has not worked as immigrants generally tend to settle into neighborhoods and communities filled with people who share the same traits. Even though assimilation makes immigrants more comparable to the native population in terms occupational status, social customs and earnings, this approach leads to the erosion of indigenous cultures. This subsequently leads to loss of people’s identity as most of the assimilated group’s characteristics are replaced.
Canada was one of the first countries to adopt an official multicultural act. This approach ensures the protection of indigenous cultures, enabling people to learn and appreciate different ways of life. However, multiculturalism creates division in society. Schaub, (2008) observes that someone always gets treated unfairly or feels discriminated against due to their cultural background. However, it is not a superior social model to assimilation as it creates division on the basis of common beliefs and values.
Being a working citizen and interacting with the different cultures the country has openly embraced, I have noticed a steady creation of division, hatred and resentment among different people, despite personally accepting these cultures. The western culture is gradually being eliminated with the influx of foreign cultures. Additionally, due to the incursion of immigrants, native citizens are undercut from earning a decent income.
America has a rich multicultural history, and the country’s attempts towards introducing assimilation have in most instances gone poorly for the dominant cultures being forcibly assimilated. On the other hand, multiculturalism has ensured retention of indigenous cultures, but has failed in eliminating the vice of discrimination against these cultures. Taking this information into consideration, coupled with America’s perseverance in conducting its assimilation practices, the society is clearly less xenophobic towards foreign integration. On the contrary, the country seems more eager to accommodate more foreign citizens in the country with programs such as the green card lottery used as one of its tools.