Many psychological researchers have tried to explain the way acculturation occurs. They have tried to provide various theories, and several diverse definitions have emerged in order to explain the acculturation process. The theories have primarily been concerned with the way minority groups such as the refuges, aboriginal people and the immigrants have tried to adapt to the new environment. The modern research tries to explain different strategies employed in the process of acculturation and the way they affects people in the society. According to Berry (2005), acculturation takes place when one culture tends to induce more change in another culture. It is the process through which individuals adopt another culture of a particular society; thus creating change. Assimilation is the process through which individuals elicit resistance to change in different groups. Assimilation is process of absorbing, adapting or incorporating the culture of another society. It happens through assimilation strategy that individuals like immigrants adopt or learn new language and cultural values of a different society.
Acculturation process focuses specifically on immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers. Among the South East Asians, who migrated to the U.S, Bangladeshi and Indians immigrants have become acculturated. Many approaches have been taken to explain the way acculturation and similar constructs, such as assimilation and enculturation, are received. Enculturation is the process through which one culture acquires or retains the elements of another cultural heritage (Abouguendia & Noels, 2001). Through enculturation process, Indians and Bengalis acquired new language of the area where they settled in. Moreover, through the same process they were able to retain their cultural values and cultural heritage. According to Berry (1998), immigrants are able to make decision regarding which cultural elements they wish to retain and acquire. Therefore, Berry examines the migrants in isolation, and employs the enculturation process as means through which they try to adapt to the new environment.
When the Indians immigrated to the U.S, they settled in different parts of the countries. Therefore, ethnicity and culture became the integral aspect for the Indian’s acculturation process. The ethnicity is defined as the group membership, which holds the same cultural beliefs, customs and values. Since acculturation is the way of changing culture, culture is referred to the way of sharing meanings, understandings and different values or norms held by people. Hence, the Indians became acculturated through holdings the beliefs, values and norms of the American people, especially in the places where they settled. However, acculturation process for the Indians differed depending on the places. This is because acculturation depends on the common or shared language spoken in a particular area. Even though the Indians acquired different language and cultural beliefs, some of them still preserved their cultural heritage of their national identity.
Most of the immigrants from the Southern Asia, especially the Bangladeshis, who moved to the U.S, have their own language and cultures.. The Bengalis comprises of larger community, the first type is the Muslims who migrated for Bangladeshi because of the religious conflicts, and thus, the Bengalis parents are conscious and strict about their religious beliefs and practices. They work hard to help their children in maintaining the same practices and beliefs. The second type of Bangladeshi immigrants who migrated to the U.S were influenced by the environment, culture of the economy of the host states. This created cultural lag, particularly to the daughters of the immigrants, who became influenced by the cultural beliefs of the foreign states. This created cultural conflicts because the Bengalis parents wanted to make decisions for their children especially on the marital affairs. Even though the Bengalis migrated to the U.S, most of them cherish their religious practices, national identity, language and eating habits.
Moreover, Bengalis who settled in the western and the eastern part were in a state of dilemma. This is because of the need to maintain their cultural norms and host cultural values as well. The Bangladeshis belonged to two various groups that made them more confused. However, due to cultural dilemmas and national identity, the Bengalis women strived to assimilate themselves between the two cultures (Berry, Kim, Powers, Young & Bujaki, 1989). Moreover, the Bengalis considered the roles of their identity to be crucial. The first role is the relation through the way individuals are directed by cultural values. Another one is the way they perceive social entities, and value their own place in a given society. The last one is identification sense, and this was taken into consideration by the Bengalis immigrants in the U.S. Thus, identity was seen as a way of strategic competence of the desire for affirming identities and transcending them, a step towards building a civil identity (Liu, 2002).