Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 10 Issue 5 (September/October 2000), Pages 343-431

Blacks as ‘Serviceable Other’ (pages 391-401)


The American experience teaches us that integration is not just mere proximity, but an active process based on joint participation and mutual acceptance. It is only in the creation of a common superordinate structure shared with the majority that minority groups can aspire to be associated with the dominant culture. Ironically, America has become most successful in allowing various immigrant groups to become part of its mainstream by abandoning the idea of blind assimilation. This paper analyzes the integration of voluntary immigrants who, while maintaining their cultural distinctiveness, have come to share the ‘American dream’. It is however in their social representations of Blacks, defined negatively as the “;other,” that they have reduced their social distance to the dominant Anglo‐culture and facilitated their inclusion. By reconstructing their own cultural distinctiveness, like other groups, in juxtapositin to America, some Blacks have transformed themselves into African Americans to achieve the same level of integration. Copyright © 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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