Forced assimilation

Forced assimilation

Forced assimilation is a process of forced cultural assimilation of religious or ethnic minority groups, into an established and generally larger community. This presumes a loss of many characteristics which make the minority different.

Ethnic assimilation

If a state or a government puts extreme emphasis on a homogeneous national identity, it may resort, especially in the case of minorities originating from historical foes, to harsh, even extreme measures to 'exterminate' the minority culture, sometimes to the point of considering the only alternative its physical elimination (expulsion or even genocide).

In Europe during the time of Nationalism. Europeans states, mostly based on the idea of nation, perceived the presence of ethnic or linguistic minorities as a danger for their own territorial integrity. In fact minorities could claim their own independence, or to be rejoined with their own motherland. For this reason, in the 19th and 20th century, the most of European states conducted politics of forced assimilation against their ethnic and linguistic minorities. The consequence was the weakening or disappearing of several ethnic minorities and the forced migrations after the two world wars.

The latter half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century saw the rise of nationalism in Europe. Previously, a country consisted largely of whatever peoples lived on the land that was under the dominion of a particular ruler. Thus, as principalities and kingdoms grew through conquest and marriage, a ruler could wind up with peoples of many different ethnicities under his dominion.

The concept of nationalism was based on the idea of a "people" who shared a common bond through race, religion, language and culture. Furthermore, nationalism asserted that each "people" had a right to its own nation. Thus, much of European history in the latter half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century can be understood as efforts to realign national boundaries with this concept of "one people, one nation".

Much conflict would arise when one nation asserted territorial rights to land outside its borders on the basis of a common bond with the people living on that land. Another source of conflict arose when a group of people who constituted a minority in one nation would seek to secede from the nation either to form an independent nation or join another nation with whom they felt stronger ties. Yet another source of conflict was the desire of some nations to expel people from territory within its borders on the ground that those people did not share a common bond with the majority of people living in that nation.

It is useful to contrast the mass migrations and forced expulsion of ethnic Germans out of Eastern Europe with other massive transfers of populations, such as exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey and population exchange that occurred after the Partition of India. In all cases those expelled suffered greatly.See also Assimilation (linguistics).

Religious assimilation

Assimilation also includes to the (often forced) conversion or secularization of religious members of a minority group, such as Judaism.

Throughout the Middle Ages and until the mid-19th century, most Jews were forced to live in small towns and were restricted from entering universities or high-level professions. The only way to get ahead in the host culture was to abandon their identification with co-religionists and become "assimilated Jews." Well-known assimilated Jews of this period include Moses Mendelssohn, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud, who became dissociated with Orthodox Judaism. In the second half of the 20th century, assimilation in the form of Jewish-Christian intermarriage decimated the ranks of Orthodox Judaism even further. Jewish law (Halakha) does not recognize children of non-Jewish mothers as Jewish, and further, the children of intermarriage may not be raised with a strong Jewish identity and tend to intermarry themselves.

Massive immigration and colonization

When new immigrants enter a country, the surrounding people try to change the immigrants into what their culture or society expects. Sooner or later the immigrants will no longer seem to be immigrants, they will seem to be similar to every one else because of assimilation. Sometime the immigration process is too large and immigrants assimilate the old inhabitants.

This can occurs during a colonisation process.

ee also

* Acculturation
* Americanization (of Native Americans)
* Cultural imperialism
* Cultural appropriation
* Diaspora politics
* Ethnic interest group
* Ethnocide
* Forced assimilation
* Forced conversion
* Hanukkah, a Jewish holiday concerning a triumph over assimilation
* Hegemony
* Intercultural competence
* Language shift
* Linguicide
* Mexicans in Omaha, Nebraska
* "More Irish than the Irish themselves"
* Nationalism
* Patriotism
* Political correctness
* Integration
* segregation
* Stolen generation
* White American

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