The United States is a melting pot of cultures and identities, harmoniously coexisting within society. However, the dominance of White Americans in race and culture often leads to the natural assimilation of minority communities into this prevalent culture. This well-documented phenomenon, known as Cultural Assimilation, involves minority groups adopting traits from the dominant culture to the point of becoming indistinguishable from it.

Impact on Cultural Identities

Cultural assimilation affects minority groups across various factors such as race, gender, and religion. Pew Research Center’s findings indicate that 56% of Muslim Americans from Muslim-majority countries are interested in adopting American customs, raising concerns about the potential erosion of unique cultural identities and the need to preserve diversity.

Balancing Identity and Adaptation

The allure of the “American Dream” has made the United States a sought-after destination for immigrants. However, embracing new cultural norms can sometimes come at the cost of losing one’s original identity and heritage. To create a more inclusive society, it is crucial to promote diversity, celebrate heritage, and embrace the dominant culture without compromising one’s unique identity.

The Clash of Cultural Beliefs

The concept of pursuing the American Dream, often associated with a capitalist and monopolistic mindset, may not resonate with all cultures. For instance, Ali Islam’s interpretation of Islam emphasizes treating all individuals with equal respect and dignity, regardless of discriminatory factors. This highlights the need for a more inclusive and compassionate approach to success and prosperity.

Assimilation as a Means of Navigating Society

Despite legal protections and freedoms, individuals from minority groups may still encounter negative opinions and stereotypes. Assimilation into the dominant culture can be a strategy to gain acceptance, overcome cultural shock, and challenge preconceived notions. While it may involve sacrificing certain cultural aspects, assimilation is sometimes seen as necessary to pursue equality and inclusion.

Preserving Diversity

The beauty of America’s diversity lies in the vibrant mix of cultures and identities within our society. However, cultural assimilation poses challenges for minority groups striving to maintain their distinct heritages. The American Dream, viewed as a sign of advancement by some, may contradict the cultural values of others. To appreciate the magnificence of diversity in America, it is essential to safeguard and celebrate the unique characteristics of each culture.

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Giana Aguilar-Valencia is a junior at DePaul University, where she is studying Computer Science and Journalism with a minor in Public Law/Public Thought. She was born in Hackensack, NJ and raised in Orlando, FL. She transferred to DePaul University in the Fall 2022 quarter. After graduating she plans on obtaining a master's degree in data science and attending law school to become a lawyer. Giana discovered CAIR-Chicago in an interview she did with Sufyan Sohel in a story she wrote for The DePaulia. She joined CAIR to learn more about the systems of oppression affecting underserved and underrepresented communities, and to make a difference. Her future profession surrounds technology, communications, government, and plans on running for public office. Giana was born to Colombian immigrants. She is also a Grace Hopper Scholar. For fun, she reads, writes, codes, travels, dances, and works on her podcast called Not To Your Standards on Spotify.