The Individual-Rights Approach
Soviet critics of the United States correctly note that, unlike the Soviet Union, the United States does not guarantee legal protection to the cultures of ethnic minorities. If ethnic art, language, religion, or literature endure, it. is through voluntary effort not government support. This approach, sometimes labeled “integration,” holds that the United States should protect the basic freedoms of all individuals but has no responsibility to maintain the identity of ethnic. groups. If individuals wish, they may band together to protect ethnic identity, language, customs, and religion. This activity includes radio broadcasting and journalism in foreign tongues, churches and fraternal orders catering to an ethnic clientele, neighborhoods so ethnically concentrated they become known as “Little Italy” or “Little Poland,” and even schools conducted for the sole purpose of socializing the young in an ethnic language and culture In the individual-rights approach, there is no official recognition of race or ethnicity, but groups are allowed and even encouraged to preserve ethnic culture on a private basis [Glazer, 1972, p. 165]. If individuals allow ethnic institutions to decline or change in character, as has usually happened with immigrant groups, this is no’ concern of the government. Government should seek provide individuals with equal opportunity for economic advancement, but whether all ethnic groups are equally successful is not a government concern. The United States has recently modified its individual-rights approach to include some protection based on ethnicity.
In summary, .the individual-rights approach includes (1) removal of formal barriers and discriminations, (2).evaluation and treatment of persons on a basis of individual merits, and (3) no official effort, to preserve ethnic cultures. The ultimate goal is an grated society in which members of all ethnic groups participate in social life according to their talents and Interests-