AMALGAMATION AND ASSIMILATION
Ethnic groups are not necessarily permanent I and sometimes disappear through assimilation or amalgamation. Assimilation refers to a cultural fusion ill which two groups blend their cultures so that they become one. There is usually an exchange of cultural traits, although this may be primarily-a case of one group absorbing the other’s culture. An example is “Americanization,in which immigrant groups have contributed some of their traits but mainly have adopted an English-based “core-culture.The “Americanization” of non-Anglo Saxon names is one sign of assimilation, as shown in Table 16-1. While assimilation-refers to a blending of two cultures, amalgamation means a biological interbreeding of two peoples of destine physical appearance until they become one stock. Although distinct physical types have seldom entirely disappeared, enough inter breeding has taken place so that it is difficult to find any large group of individuals who form a “pure” racial type, if, indeed, there ever have been any. England has practiced amalgamation on a grand scale. The Norman invaders of the eleventh century were soon blended with the English. Hawaii includes the descendants of the original inhabitants of the islands plus a large number of Caucasian settlers, Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos, and Koreans.
All these have intermarried quite freely, the highest rates being in groups which have more males than females. There was considerable amalgamation between whites and blacks in the United States. During the past century, it has declined for a variety of reasons: the end of slavery, the decline of the plantation, the diminishing number of white households with black servants, the rising status of blacks, a growing mutual disapproval of interracial sex contacts, andpossibly the spread of contraception. But while extramarital amalgamation has declined, has ethnic intermarriage increased? Recent data indicate that there has been an increase in intermarriage. The intermarriage rate between Jews and gentiles has showed a spectacular increase in the last two decades, showing that the tradition of Jewish endogamy, once very strong, is now greatly weakened. In the period 1900 to 1919, only 2.7 percent of Jews intermarried, but by 1971, this had grown to 41 percent. Between 1900 and 1960, fewer than 10 percent of American . Jews intermarried but by 1972 almost third (31.7 percent) were marrying gentiles [Rosenman, 1979, p. 2]. Intermarriage between Asian-Americans and others is quite high. The 1980 census showed that nearly a quarter of Asian-Americans were married to white spouses, with the highest rate of intermarriage among those aged 16 to 24 at the time of the census count. Among . the third generation Japanese-Americans, outmarriage has reached 40 percent [Montero, 1981, p. 836 . Among American married men of Hispanic origin, one-fourth had non-HisCensus, 1981d, P 62J Black-white intermarriage has also :in creased (see Table 16-2), but stilt includes less than 2 percent of all marriages of blacks’. It is difficult- to know whether the increase is a minor fluctuation or a definite trend toward more black-white intermarriage [Ebony, 37:81- 82August 1982].
The greater popularity of racial intermarriage for black men than for black women is a consequence of men’s and women’s different interpretations of black liberation. In the days of slavery and even more in the discriminatory period which followed, black women were a common illicit sexual outlet for white men, while black men . were threatened with death if they consorted with white women [Myrdal, 1944,. p. 57]. Thus, for black women, association with white men had the stigma of oppression. Today black men see association with white women as an evidence of their liberation. Similarly, white men fear charges of exploitation if they date black women, while white women see interracial dating as an evidence of liberalism. The result is not only a lesser interracial marriage rate for black women, but an antagonism between black women and white women [Napper, 1973; Porter field, 1978, p. 148] . In spite of a growing social acceptance, interracial marriage is still uncommon. Some of the difficulty is indicated by the divorce rates for interracial couples married in 1960, which were higher than for either all-black or all-white marriages [Heer, .1974, p’. 250]. Whether there will eventually be a complete’ blending through intermarriage is I:>:~no means . certain, Some years ago; it was estimated that . 21 percent of Americans classified as white . have some black ancestry, while’ nearly 75 percent of blacks have some white ancestry, [Burma, 1946; Stuckert, 1958]. Legal equality, along with increased-contact between members of different race~i~~y ‘bring a Mlh rate of intermarriage. However, the rate of black-white intermarriage is still low, and participant~ in such marriages are likely to’ meet rejection.from both races.
The is high enough to doubts of the group, though.this recent-trend and could be re Theism be said of American In although out marriage rates are lower Jiving on a·’reservation. The out rates. pothook· Hispanic-Americans .and Asian-Americans are also high, but their effect had by large-scale milligram which continuously enlarges the original ethnic group Prediction is difficult; however, it ~ms likely that American ethnic groups will survive but that intermarriage may continue increase.