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[YRP Students' Essays] Assimilation

How do you define the word "assimilation"? What do you think about it? Is it a good thing or bad thing? My English class has been discussing the question, but everyone had her/his own opinion and we can never reach a final conclusion. However, I have come to one on my own.

In my dictionary, assimilation is defined as "a way to become a part of a country or community rather than remaining in a separate group." When moving to a different country or a community, we must be assimilated to the new environment because it has its own ways and culture, and our original ways are of no use there. We assimilate ourselves little by little, especially in what we differ greatly from the new environment, in order to survive and function in that environment easily. Assimilation is a rational act.

When we are assimilated to a culture, there are advantages that contain multiple positive possibilities for the future. For example, assimilation would make people bilingual, and that would make communication among people of the world easier. Assimilation would reduce confusion between people of different cultures because through assimilation people would learn similar ways of thinking, talking, acting and so on. Also, it would likely decrease discrimination between races.

However, in reality assimilation is not a good policy. Assimilation can produce some serious problems through its disadvantages. Too much assimilation would create a dire problem. If assimilation was completely done around the world, our old traditions and customs would no longer be kept nor celebrated. Throwing away our culture means breaking with the past, and that would make us all homogeneous, having no individual identities.

Becoming homogeneous is not the "goal" that we (including our ancestors) have been aiming for. I do not assert that assimilation is futile because it does work properly in some ways, but the advantages do not work for long. Too much assimilation would be bad because it would spoil what we have established from the past. So, after all even I do not feel bad about assimilation, it is not completely good thing to me.

Child Research Net would like to thank the Doshisha International Junior/Senior High School and Kei Kitagawa, student and author, for permitting reproduction of this article on the CRN web site.
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