Free Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

Free Compare and Contrast Essay Examples
Free Compare and Contrast Essay Examples
Pluralism characterizes all four societies, through neither to the same degree nor in the same way. Cultural pluralism (as indexed both by the amount of cultural difference between ethnic groups living within the same society and by the relative size and power of these groups) ranges from minimal in the United States to maximal in South Africa, with Mexico and Brazil in an intermediate position.

In the United States the overwhelming majority of the population (i.e., all except recent immigrants and a scattering of Indian and Eskimo groups) has become acculturated to the dominant New World version of European culture. African cultures have been virtually obliterated, among slaves; whatever small cultural differences exist between Negroes and whites (after controlling for social class) are the products more of cultural "drift" as a result of segregation than of surviving African traits. American Indians have either become encapsulated in numerically and socially insignificant enclaves or culturally assimilated to surrounding white, Negro, or Mexican-American communities. Most immigrant groups have become assimilated within two or three generations of their arrival, with, however, differential rates of acculturation for Northern Europeans, Southern and Eastern Europeans, Spanish Americans, and Asians. Secondary cultural pluralism in the form of age, class, religious and regional subcultures and of residual ethnic traits (such as cooking), does, of course, exist in the United States, but major cultural cleavages are absent.

At the other extreme, cultural pluralism in South Africa is a prominent aspect of the society. Each of the five major languages (Afrikaans, Xhosa, Zulu, Sotho, and English) are spoken by two to three million people; four major cultural traditions are represented (southeastern Bantu, Hindu, Islamic, and the Western European Judeo-Christian), with each subdivided into several language groups. Although there has been a general tendency for Western culture to gain ground at the expense of the others, the process is still far from complete. Furthermore, countervailing forces may even reverse the process, unlikely though this prospect seems at present.

Mexico and Brazil occupy intermediate positions on the scale of cultural pluralism. Iberian culture clearly dominates in both of these countries. The New World versions of Spanish and Portuguese cultures, however, have been more influenced by indigenous elements, and in Brazil by African elements than their English counterpart in the United States. Furthermore, in Mexico and, to a more limited extent, in Brazil the culturally non-western minorities remain proportionately more important than in the United States.
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