The United States of America is based on the mixture of different nationalities, races, cultures, and traditions. This diversity was formed as a result of immigration that was the main mechanism of the ethnic composition of the American nation. At different time periods, it included people of different nations to the population of the United States. The cooperation of these national groups with the indigenous population and between themselves, the social and cultural assimilation, and the physical mixture of different cultural elements all form the basis of the ethnic history of the American nation.
The United States of America is one of the most non-homogenous national societies that has managed to establish a stable and democratic political system in the multinational society. It is a country with the unique structure of the population. The cultural diversity is both the main value and the biggest challenge for the country. There exists the indigenous component – the Indian tribes, and the Hawaiians, the main nucleus that unites the immigrants from Great Britain and the Western and Northern Europe, together with the new immigration that includes the migrants from the Southern and Eastern Europe and Asia, and a big number of African Americans.
The categories of population mentioned above compose the ethnical diversity of the American nation. These ethnic categories feature the cultural identity that is based on the division of all cultures into friendly ones and the ones that are enemies. Such division may either cause the cooperation or a conflict between the representatives of different ethnicities. Due to this fact, the cultural identity is one of the main instruments for the unification of the American society.
During the first contact with representatives of other cultures, a person gets assured that these people have a different reaction towards certain notions of the environment. The individuals have a personal system of values and the norms of behavior that may be different from the culture of the representatives of other ethnicities. In such a situation, due to these differences, there appears the notion of otherness.
In the process of communication, representatives of different ethnicities support the position of naïve realism in the perception of other cultures. Representatives of different ethnicities consider that their way of life is the only one that is existent and the only correct one. These people think that all other people also perceive their values. When dealing with the representatives of other cultures, an individual tends to feel his/her otherness.
The range of this feeling may be very different. It may be a simple astonishment or even an active protest, or the feeling of hatred. Arturo Madrid states that during the first half of his life, he tried not to notice the feeling of otherness. Then, he decided to figure out the reasons for this feeling. The author states that even though a person may be perfectly integrated into the society, there will always remain the features that distinguish the individual from the rest of the society. Among such features are names, accents, and appearance.
The feeling of otherness may form a person’s personality and outlook on life. The cultural identity is characterized by the subjective feeling of belonging to the cultural traditions. Just after the birth, a person deepens in certain cultural heritage that he/she perceives from the surrounding people. The cultural identity becomes the basis for the formation of the character of the individual, and his/her role in the society.
Nowadays, in the American society, there may be distinguished four categories of the population in relation of belonging to certain ethnic categories. The first group preserves the cultural autonomy and carries out the everyday activities in the personal ethnic groups. The second category keeps the ethnicity only partially. These individuals live in the ethnic groups but also communicate with the representatives of general lifestyle. In the third category, there are people who do not join any social groups. In the fourth category, there are individuals, who associate themselves with multiple ethnic groups, as they were born in the multinational families. For the successful integration of these categories, it is necessary both to promote the integration into the American society and to preserve the cultural peculiarities of the group.
The orientation of an individual towards belonging to the culture of the entire humanity is often equal to the loss of identity. Due to the globalization processes, the replacement of diversity with the unification and standardization may take place. Thus, the value of the diversity in the society will be lost.
At the same time, an important peculiarity of the American legislature is that it provides equal rights to all citizens of the United States. However, it does not provide the representatives of any social group with any particular rights that differ from the rights of other people. Moreover, the legislative guarantee of the group rights is considered the violation of the antidiscrimination norms. The most important element of the American ethnic model is the administrative and legal mechanism of the regulation of ethnic and racial relations that was formed as the result of the social struggles.
To protect the diversity of the American nation, it was necessary to create the legislature that would protect the rights of each ethnicity that is present on the territory of the country. One of the main features of the legislature is the laws that prohibit the discrimination determined by the place of birth of a person, the origin, culture, or language. People cannot be deprived of the equal opportunities because of their name or their accent that tells about belonging to a certain group. The first tendency of the legislature is the understanding of the need for the provision of support to the ethnic groups that are aimed at the preservation and development of the cultural heritage and the increase of the culture status in the American society. The second tendency is the satisfaction of the social and cultural requests of the ethnic groups, aiming at the international stress without the violation of the political structure of the country.
The creation of the legislature is an important step that allows the representatives of different ethnicities to understand the value of their otherness for the American society. This legislature does not only protect the rights of people, but also promotes the development of ethnic cultures as one of the gains of the American nation.
Nowadays, the open American society is the result of the growing ethnic diversity and the flexible policy of the country that preserves the unity of the American society. It is not the strategy of prohibitions or limitations, but the flexible steps on the unification of different ethnic societies into a single nation with the help of loyal legislature and the cultural and educational programs. It is the result of the implementation of the potential of ethnic organizations and their approaches towards the solution of the conflict situations.
The ethnical diversity of the United States is one of the main values of the American society. This diversity enriches the culture of the country with different elements and creates the unique society. At the same time, the diversity is a challenge for the American nation because of the need to avoid the interracial and interethnic conflicts in the country. Due to the constant process of immigration, it is necessary to integrate the new migrants into the American society and, at the same time, to promote their cultural uniqueness.