SUBORDINATION AND LIBERATION OF MINORITIES IN AMERICA
This research paper assesses the contribution of various factors to the subordination/subjugation of various minorities and to their relative success or failure in achieving greater status and power in American society.
1. Destruction of the Indian way of life
Noel identifies three factors behind the origins of ethnic stratification, the subordination of the American indian to the dominant social structure of the white settlers. Ethnocentrism, the tendency of the two groups to view reality through the prism of their own values and to consider outsiders as fair game, helped frustrate efforts to reach peaceful solutions. The indians at first underestimated the power of the whites. They had little interest in learning white ways. Efforts to forge tribal unity were impeded by disparate cultural identities. Because of their faith in their Manifest Destiny to conquer the continent and their attitudes of racial superiority, settlers would brook only temporary compromises.
Their competition was over the control of scarce resources, land and its mineral wealth. The alternative to violence was adaptation/assimilation. Noel points out that "efficient adaptation may require the members of a group to modify or disregard a great deal of their heritage" (1991, p. 120). Most indians were attached to their traditions and lacked the skills necessary to compete successfully in the white man's world.
The decisive factor in the outcome of the struggle was the unequal power of indian and settler forces. By 1860, 300,000 indians faced 3 million whites armed with superior technology and logistic support. The Navahos made many good faith attempts to yield land and to accommodate to the forces arrayed against them, but they never had a chance to preserve their way of life.
2. Intermediate Asian American Experience
Asian American immigrants had an intermediate experience. Although...