Separation or Assimilation

Separation or Assimilation :

Our country, The United States of America, was essentially founded on the principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness through solidarity of human kind. In Bernard R. Boxill's article SEPARATION OR ASSIMILATION, he fundamentally poses the Hamletesque question to assimilate or not to assimilate. Subsequent to the dilemma of some black cultural nationalists whom not only argue for assimilation of the black American populace, but also believe that this assimilation into white culture is inevitable, against cultural pluralism. Cultural pluralism which was initialized by W. E.B. Dubois in the late 19th century is founded upon the peculiarities of races, living harmoniously in one nation-state, and lacking superiority or inferiority. Consequently to posing this question one dictates that there exist certain boundaries between cultures in our American society. Where do these boundaries come from and are they indeed necessary? Is integration of these cultures indeed inevitable?

The goals of cultural pluralism as stated by Boxill are to establish pride in one's own race, to maintain the authenticity of one's own culture, and finally to benefit the world populace. Through pride, the disdain of inferiorities along with self-respect, one adopts an attitude of self-segregation. Boxill argues for pride as a means of preserving one's race, overemphasizing differences between individuals because of the color of their skin or cultural differences, is a great defense to assimilation.

Understanding Dubois's concept of cultural authenticity is to delve into the mysteries of self-actualization that is to realize one's own potential. He asks himself, as an African American, whether his true identity lies in the jungles of Africa or in this land of America. He is of the opinion that these are his only two options. He concludes that his true identity goes beyond his American birth, citizenship, political ideals, language, laws and religion…deep into the heart of Africa where a timeless culture was born and should be preserved for its beauty and used to benefit the world populace. "...the Negro people, as a race, have a contribution to make..." The Negro people as a race have certainly had a peculiar world condition throughout time and have had the ability to lend privileged insights into the human condition.

The whole of humanity consists of many parts. From the cultural pluralist perspective, this whole can be benefitted most by the contribution of gifts from each race of humanity. But does not true diversity exist in individual persons rather than in large groups of unique individuals. It would seem obvious that the greatest degree of solidarity of humanity can be achieved through contributions from the uniqueness every person possesses. Rather than focusing on and overemphasizing cultural distinctions, mankind should seek to better relations between races and cultures. This does not mean that every man should disregard his cultural background. Rather, I am suggesting that every person acknowledges the facts. First, every man should realize that we are all individuals and second that we are all human before we are white, black, Hispanic, Italian or Chinese. In this way, perhaps man can put an end to the very problems which stem from racial separation, namely race wars, famine and unequal distribution of resources.

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