Assimilation is Not Enough
It is beyond doubt that United States is a religious diversity and pluralism country. While the issue of how the various religious coexist in the society has always been a questions to all people, Kenji Yoshino’s essay Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights, she mentions that how people with“disfavored” identities tried to tone down to the mainstream. Kenji Yoshino provided many examples of covering, such as lesbian, female and son on, and she pointed out that not everyone covered their identity willingly (Yoshino 294). In the article of introduction to a new America by Diana.L.Eck, she introduces how a new era of America began in regard to religious coexistence with each other. This paper wants to illustrate whether minorities could preserve and keep their own religious value and still abiding to the mainstream of America or not.
Kenji Yoshino talks about assimilation. The assimilation refers to a part of the adaptation process which was initially put forward by Jean Piaget . Through the process of assimilation, we will take in new information, methods, styles and experiences and then incorporate these into our already existed thoughts. Mainstream is more powerful than it seems to be, and to be with mainstream and to cover our own traits which may drive us apart from the mainstream is so harmful to our citizen rights. But the law only protect features we cannot change but it will not protect us against covering demands (Yoshino 295). During the process, we will try to modify our behaviors to be acceptable by the society. And for minorities, this process often include giving up some part of one’s identity to adapt to to environment. The giving up part often means covering. Some examples are given to illustrate the covering, Roman Estevez coverd his ethnicity, Margaret covered her status as a woman, Rosie O’D onnell and Mary Cheney covered their relationship as lesbian lovers and so on, and the author pointed out that not everyone covered their identity willingly (Yoshino 294). And there is a social contract that if racial minorities assimilate to white norms they will be rewarded(Yoshino 308). Here we are talking about social norm, one may change behaviors easily, but religious and the culture background is not something that can be easily changed. In the end of the article, Yoshino mentioned that the names of his father and her own name given by her father can tell that her parents want her to live as an American without surrendering her ethnicity. Does the melting pot of American really ask for melting all cultures and belief into a new one, or the melting pot should just be a plate of Salad?
According to 1994 statistic, an average of 3,000 immigrants entered into the United States on every day. Among these immigrants, white people from Europe are in minority. By 2050, non-Hispanic whites in the United States are expected to decline from about 75 percent of total population in 1994 to 50 percent. With the change in demographic structure, the number of people participating in Muslim religious activities has risen sharply. There are currently no specific statistics on the number of Muslims in the United States, but according to rough statistics, the United States currently has about 6 million to 10 million Muslims. As the United States census is subject by the law and can not check the religious background, so the exact number of Muslims living in the United States has been controversial. However, Islamic organizations and religious figures, according to various documents and information, deems that there are about 10 million Muslim who is faithful to Islam in the United States. The United States is the country with world’s largest Jewish population, the Jews have great influence to American society. How many Jews are there ? The data may vary, but it can be estimated at between 7 million to 8 million, roughly the same as the Muslim population in the United States. While one third of the Muslims are black in the United States. Many blacks believe in Islam as a conscious action that expresses itself and distinguish themselves from mainstream Americans who practice Judaism and Christianity. This is a worrying trend facing by the United States, the stability of American society is therefore more and more threatened. It turns out that more and more blacks see color and religion as what they distinguish themselves from mainstream Americans. In the article of introduction to a new America by Diana.L.Eck, she illustrated how the September 11 is the widening realization that all three religious communities and many more are now a permanent part of American religious life.( Eck, 74).
Awakening, as we have, to a new religious America, we face a world of understanidng and relationships from there is no retreat.( Eck, 74) It is noteworthy that the US population is changing. This nation is the most complex nation in the world. According to official data released by the United States before: Indigenous people accounted for only about 0.8% of the total population, European descent of Americans are a lot, accounting for about 70.5%, African-Americans accounts for 12.1%. According to official statistics, the actual number is greater than this number because of illegal immigration. 3% are from the Asia-Pacific region, but their number is growing rapidly. In this case,In addition to the black population in the proportion of population grow faster than that of white people, the fastest growing population is Latin Americans (the highest growth rate of all ethnic groups in the United States ), whom the Americans called Hispanics, if coupled with Asian people, for another 50 years the total number could surpass the population of all European Caucasians. In addition to the black who was slavery to the United States and thus lost their own inherent language, other lineage, especially Hispanic who speak Spanish (mostly local Indians and Spanish and black mixed race) also strongly request that English can be the only legal language. In many places, Spanish has gained legal status with English, not only signs and notices on the street have been bilingual, but in some communities, one saying English could be ignored.
Assimilation is far from enough. A melting pot should unite all the culture and religious together and respect each one at the same time. We must embrace the religious diversity that comes with out commitment to religious freedom, and as we move into the new millennium we must find ways to make the difference that have divided peple the world over the very source of our strength here in the U.S.
Yoshino,Kenji.Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights. NewYork:Random House Inc,2007.i