Social Justice Research

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 277–306 | Cite as

Considering the Tower of Babel: Correlates of Assimilation and Multiculturalism among Ethnic Minority and Majority Groups in the United States

  • Christopher WolskoEmail author
  • Bernadette Park
  • Charles M. Judd

Survey data collected from multiethnic samples of geographically dispersed college students and a national probability sample of US adults were utilized to examine the correlates of support for multiculturalism and assimilation—two competing interethnic ideologies, or ideals for how an ethnically diverse society should optimally function. Endorsement of multiculturalism and assimilation was related to perceived ethnic group differences, intergroup bias, and voting behavior on a number of public policies, but in opposite directions. Relative to white participants, ethnic minority participants endorsed multiculturalism to a greater extent, reported higher levels of group identification, and were more likely to support pro-diversity public policies. Discussion focuses on explanations for the variety of observed differences between ethnic minority and majority respondents, on the meaning of assimilation and multiculturalism, and on the argument that harmony between ethnic groups and dissimilarity between ethnic groups need not be thought of as mutually exclusive.


multiculturalism assimilation racial and ethnic differences racial and ethnic attitudes public policy 



This research was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health MH45049 to Bernadette Park and Charles Judd. Study 1 was conducted as part of Christopher Wolsko’s dissertation thesis. We thank the University of Colorado Stereotyping and Prejudice Laboratory group for numerous helpful conversations regarding the research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher Wolsko
    • 1
    Email author
  • Bernadette Park
    • 2
  • Charles M. Judd
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Oregon, Central Oregon ProgramsBendUSA
  2. 2.University of ColoradoBoulderUSA

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