131 Outcome: Race and Ethnicity in the United States

Compare and contrast the experiences of ethnic groups in the United States

When colonists came to the New World, they found a land that did not need “discovering” since it was already occupied. While the first wave of immigrants came from Western Europe, eventually the bulk of people entering North America were from Northern Europe, then Eastern Europe, then Latin America and Asia. And let us not forget the forced immigration of African slaves. Most of these groups underwent a period of disenfranchisement in which they were relegated to the bottom of the social hierarchy before they managed (for those who could) to achieve social mobility. Today, our society is multicultural, although the extent to which this multiculturality is embraced varies, and the many manifestations of multiculturalism carry significant political repercussions. The sections below will describe how several groups became part of U.S. society, discuss the history of intergroup relations for each faction, and assess each group’s status today.

You can review up-to-the minute statistics about the racial composition of the U.S. at the United States Census Bureau here.

What you’ll learn to do:

  • Explain different intergroup relations in terms of their relative levels of tolerance
  • Define and give examples of genocide and expulsion
  • Define and give examples of segregation, pluralism, assimilation, and amalgamation
  • Describe the historical context and current experience of Native Americans
  • Describe the historical context and current experience of African Americans
  • Describe the historical context and current experience Asian Americans
  • Describe the historical context and current experience Hispanic Americans
  • Describe the historical context and current experience Arab Americans
  • Describe the historical context and current experience White Ethnic Americans

LEARNING ACTIVITIES

The learning activities for this section include:

  • Reading: Intergroup Relationships
  • Reading: Native Americans
  • Reading: African Americans
  • Reading: Asian Americans
  • Reading: Hispanic Americans
  • Reading: Arab Americans
  • Reading: White Ethnic Americans
  • Self-Check: Race and Ethnicity in the United States

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Introduction to Sociology by Lumen Learning is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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