Diverse American Cultures: Native Americans, Caucasian Americans, Pacific Islanders

Can you provide me with information about the history, population, attitudes, and customs of this group in the United States? Additionally, do you have any admiration for their people, lifestyle, or society?

1. Native Americans The Native American tribes possess a distinct history in North America, passed down through generations and sometimes only found in archeological remains. Lately, their history has gained popularity due to the accounts of their involvement in World War II. One notable instance is the Navajo Code Talkers who utilized their native language to transmit undecodable messages to the Germans.

This remarkable feat has even been depicted in the movie 'Wind Talkers'. Moreover, Native Americans have increasingly pursued political positions, gaining representation and power within the government. Additionally, some tribes have utilized reservations for entertainment purposes, such as casinos and outdoor resorts, resulting in significant advancements in financial and political influence.

The Native Americans, who were the original inhabitants of America before the arrival of the "white man," currently constitute only 1% of the population.

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Despite recent growth in their numbers, they remain significantly smaller in comparison to their population during the westward expansion of the United States. It is important to recognize that although there are shared tribal heritage and traditions, each Native American nation possesses its own distinct culture.

According to the Pluralism Project at Harvard University (2011), Native Americans living on reservations have a unique culture compared to those who do not reside on reservations. The lifestyle of Native Americans emphasizes tradition, and the tribal system offers various advantages such as fairness, communal support, and an equitable justice system that ensures equal implementation of punishment and mercy.

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2. Caucasian Americans

Caucasian Americans, consisting of Italians, Irish, English, and other distinct cultures, form a significant portion of the American population. The combination of these diverse groups played a crucial role in the establishment of the United States as they swiftly integrated to create the unique identity of the American colonies. This particular group bears the greatest responsibility for breaking away from English rule and ultimately forming the United States. While Caucasian Americans embrace various backgrounds and maintain separate identities, like Irish Americans, they have also assimilated into American culture to an extent where their heritage can become blurred or uncertain.

Caucasian Americans have made noteworthy advancements in multiple domains, such as inventions, literature, art, fashion across different eras, and country music. Additionally, they have played a vital role in molding the primary language and culture of the United States. By skillfully uniting their diverse communities, Caucasian Americans have established a unique and unprecedented culture within the nation.

3. Pacific Islanders

The Pacific Islanders consist of various cultural groups and nationalities situated in the Pacific Ocean, which include Micronesia, Polynesia, and Melanesia. Polynesia is made up of islands forming a triangular shape such as the Easter Islands, Hawaii, and New Zealand. Melanesia comprises Papau New Guinea, Fiji, Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, and Vanuatu. Micronesia consists of eight territories including Diribate, Guam, and the Marshal Islands. In the 17th and 18th centuries, European explorers encountered these small Polynesian islands during their voyages. Soon after this discovery, French and English ships started to claim ownership over them. Unfortunately,the native population of Pacific Islanders has been greatly affected by diseases introduced by European settlers,resulting in only a few purely Pacific Islanders remaining today.

The study of the Pacific Islanders population is challenging due to racial mixing. Despite being grouped with Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders alone constitute less than .1% of the total US population. They possess a strong sense of family unity and consistently offer support for one another. An intriguing fact about Pacific Islanders is that in Tahiti, both men and women wear flowers behind their ear to indicate their relationship status - a flower behind the left ear signifies they are taken, while a flower behind the right ear indicates they are single. The culture of Pacific Islanders promotes an honorable and noble way of life. Music and dance play significant roles in their lives as modes of communication. Despite experiencing a decrease in population size, Pacific Islanders have successfully preserved their roots, language, and culture while contributing unique dances, art, language, and lifestyles to American Culture. Hawaii distinguishes itself from other parts of the United States due to its distinctive culture and is often regarded as one of the best places to live because of its relaxed atmosphere.

4. African Americans

The African Americans were brought to the United States as slaves from Africa and other countries, unlike other groups in the country. Despite ongoing struggles for equality, which persist today, African Americans have produced remarkable leaders and intellectuals who greatly contributed to civil rights and equality. Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King, and others played a significant role in shaping American history by fighting against inequality. African Americans have made a profound impact on American society and reshaped laws through their determination to overcome adversity. Currently, approximately 14% of the total population of the United States is comprised of African Americans.

Since the 1990's, African Americans have maintained an unchanging statistic, indicating their possession of a unique culture stemming from their separation from their ancestral land. Consequently, they have cultivated an exclusive cultural identity that encompasses various genres of independent music (such as rap, blues, and soul), art forms, and storytelling. Despite enduring centuries of adversity, African Americans have exhibited resilience and inner fortitude. While prejudice and racism persist in the United States, they have persevered and progress is being achieved.

Hispanic Americans make up the fifth largest ethnic group in the United States.

The Hispanic American community was formed by the Spanish explores who settled in what is now California and Florida. They also claimed ownership over the territories currently known as Utah, Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico after they were previously claimed by Mexico before being claimed by the United States later on. The U.S. federal government coined the term "Hispanic" in the 1970s to include different Spanish-speaking American groups. Hispanics are currently the fastest growing demographic in the United States, and many have been living in the country since before its establishment.

Hispanics and Latinos, with a population exceeding 48.4 million, play a significant role in the overall population of the United States. These ethnic groups share a cultural value called the "family unit," which highlights the significance of cohabiting with grandparents, parents, and children under one roof. Assisting and supporting family members is commonly seen as an obligation within most Hispanic communities.

The American Culture has been greatly impacted and enriched by Hispanic culture in numerous ways, even though these contributions are occasionally disregarded. For example, Hispanic cuisine is present everywhere, while Spanish and Mexican architectural styles dominate the southern and western areas of the nation. Additionally, the Spanish language is quickly leading to the United States becoming bilingual. The varied cultures within the Hispanic community have further improved America's unique culture, with American citizens readily embracing their food, music, and language.

The Hispanic culture has become an integral part of American society, with notable figures like Jennifer Lopez, Christina Aguilera, Antony Bandaros, and celebrations such as Cinco de Mayo.

The paragraph discusses Asian Americans.

Immigration to the United States began in the 1840's when Chinese workers moved to the Western region. At the same time, Japanese, Koreans, and Filipinos arrived in Hawaii. However, these groups faced more discrimination in Hawaii than other states and were not allowed to become citizens. By the 1860’s, they were even banned from entering the United States. Luckily, conditions for Asian Americans improved after World War II. In the 70’s and 80’s, there was a significant increase in immigration from Southeast Asia because of the Vietnam War.

Approximately 15.5 million individuals in the United States identify as Asian or of Asian descent, taking great pride in their heritage and striving to preserve their traditions. However, second-generation immigrants face the challenge of integrating their cultural background with American society. It is crucial to acknowledge that Asian Americans have a rich and varied history dating back thousands of years, surpassing many other ethnic groups.

The three largest religions in the world, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism, are major Eastern philosophies. These philosophies have had a significant impact on family structures, leading to patriarchal systems that are highly organized and hierarchical. Asian Americans from various backgrounds contribute to the cultural diversity of the United States by establishing communities in specific regions where they preserve their cultural heritage. Throughout the US, one can find China Towns or similar neighborhoods dedicated to Asian cultures in nearly every major city.

Part II: Analysis

The United States is often referred to as a 'melting pot', but this description does not fully capture its true diversity. In reality, the US is better described as a pluralistic society, with different groups maintaining their unique heritage (Harvard Pluralism Project, 2011). However, all these groups contribute to the creation of American culture by adding their own characteristics. For example, Asian Americans have introduced their cuisine and art to America, which has been embraced and integrated into mainstream culture. Chinese restaurants can be found in every city in America, and many Americans decorate their homes with Asian-style furniture or artwork. Similarly, Hispanic Americans have also influenced American culture through their food and celebrations like Cinco De Mayo. Spanish architecture can be seen prominently in the Southern and Western regions of the US.

The process of assimilating foreign cultures into a society is often met with strong opposition. Specifically, Irish and Italian Americans, who are part of the Caucasian group, faced significant discrimination as immigrants (Fischer, 1989). Although these groups have successfully integrated over time, other groups still encounter resistance. African Americans have endured years of intolerance and racial violence. It is important to recognize that groups sharing racial characteristics, such as skin color, often face the most challenges when trying to assimilate into American culture. Both African Americans and Asians have encountered substantial resistance and stereotyping. Particularly for African Americans, harmful stereotypes depicting them as subhuman or malicious have persisted. Furthermore, there has been a shift from overt prejudice and discrimination in the earlier part of the century to a more subtle form known as silent or institutional racism. This hidden prejudice is deeply embedded in society and can only be exposed through statistical data.

The justice system in the United States disproportionately affects African Americans, especially in the juvenile justice system. African American juveniles are three times more likely than Caucasians to be sent to correctional facilities for the same offense that often results in probation for Caucasians. This illustrates how stereotypes and prejudice are deeply ingrained in legal and institutional systems, perpetuating oppression against specific groups. The root of this problem lies in systemic racism and racial categorization, despite scientific evidence disproving the validity of using race as a taxonomy. In America, Caucasian dominance establishes the standard for assimilation based on race. Generally, Caucasian groups have assimilated relatively easily after enduring one or two generations of prejudice primarily due to economic factors. For instance, when Irish Americans and Italian Americans entered the workforce, they faced opposition from mainstream American culture because it was seen as a threat to existing livelihoods. This racial divide can be traced back to the era of slavery.

The abolitionist movements sought to end slavery, but unfortunately, they also fostered prejudice. In the Southern states, the justification for slavery was based on a belief in racial superiority over African Americans. This hostility persisted even after the Civil War and manifested through Jim Crow laws and acts of violence. The brutal attacks on black individuals led President Grant to deploy the Army to suppress the initial uprising of the Ku Klux Klan. However, the Klan resurfaced multiple times over the next 70 years (Newman, 2002). As a result, racial discrimination continues in the United States, where groups resembling Caucasian culture encounter less resistance when assimilating compared to those with different racial characteristics like skin color.

African Americans have encountered the most resistance in assimilating compared to any other group. Unlike African Americans, Hispanic Americans are composed of racially diverse groups that may not always be easily identifiable. Despite American culture being enriched by diverse elements from different cultures, it still faces difficulties with race and cultural disparities. Nevertheless, the nation has made considerable advancements since the time of discriminatory legislation and segregation, and it seems to be consistently evolving towards greater tolerance and diversity.

Part III: Sources References: Fischer, D. H. (1989). Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

The book, "The Transformation of American Abolitionism: Fighting Slavery in the Early Republic" by Richard S. Newman, was acquired from The Pluralism Project at Harvard University in 2011 (http://pluralism.org/). It was originally published in 2002 by The University of North Carolina Press.

The U.S. Census Bureau's Current Population Reports from 2010 can be accessed through the website http://www.census.gov/prod/2010pubs/p20-540.pdf.

Updated: Feb 21, 2024
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Diverse American Cultures: Native Americans, Caucasian Americans, Pacific Islanders. (2016, Jun 02). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/multicultural-matrix-and-analysis-worksheet-essay

Diverse American Cultures: Native Americans, Caucasian Americans, Pacific Islanders essay
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