In the year 2013 there are slightly over 7 billion people throughout the world. This means that we have a wide variety of cultures, heritages, ethnic backgrounds, views and opinions. Thousands of people are immigrating to the United States for a number of reasons such as bettering their education and careers, as well as, getting a fresh start. Primarily, immigrants are moving here to take advantage of the many opportunities our country can make available.
People are bringing their cultures and differences to the United States thus resulting in what is called a melting pot; however, I would argue that America should no longer be called a melting pot.
The term melting pot suggests that immigrants should assimilate into American culture. Instead, America should be looked upon as a salad bowl society or a mosaic work of art allowing our newcomers to bring their racial and ethnic differences to the country. This allows our newcomers to “retain their own national characteristics while integrating into a new society” (“Melting Pot America”).
We, as a country, should not be encouraging newcomers to leave who they are and what they value in order to become an American. In all reality, everyone is an immigrant. Someone’s grandparents came from another country to better their lives and had children who had children which end with our generation. Yes without a doubt we are natural born citizens, but our roots come from all over the world as do many other people. Although I am a native born citizen, my background is very broad and varied; however, I do not know much about it and that is where we find many American’s naïve to what makes them who they are.
Language is becoming a prominent factor in how we will communicate with the immigrants that are coming into our country. I know from my own experience that my Spanish is not what it used to be, even though I took two years of Spanish in high school. I have not retained much more than a few words and phrases. Typically while I am at work if I have a Spanish speaking customer I have to call for someone to come and translate for me so I am still able to assist the customer. English is slowly fading into the background and researchers believe that Spanish will shortly become the spoken language of America; “nearly one-fifth of U.
S. residents speak a language other than English at home” (“Reinventing the Melting Pot”). For that main reason, students should be allowed to take language classes from elementary school and forward; increasing their vocabulary and conversation every year. Schools should be preparing our students to interact with the immigrants that are coming into our country by offering classes that teach about different cultures, ethnicities, and languages. Not all Americans are going to be too pleased with all of the immigrants that are coming over, but it is what it is.
The number of immigrants is outstanding and it is not something that it going to stop any time soon. Everything takes time to adapt and this too will take time; “bagels… and spaghetti were new things at one time… immigrants come and change America and are changed by America” (“Melting Pot America”). By preparing ourselves for the immigrants that are coming into the country we are only bettering ourselves to help them make the transition into our country easier and more comfortable. I feel like society should be embracing the new cultures and heritages that are entering into the United States.
It is very important that we do not make immigrants feel as though they need to abandon what they have known their entire life. America is so full of opportunity and it continues to flourish with each person that becomes a citizen. We must recognize that each ethnic or racial group has its own sense of value and its own process of knowledge formation. This idea led to the realization that a community can prosper if it recognizes and embraces the culture of each of its cultural groups. This notion is likened to the ‘salad bowl’ metaphor, where each vegetable has its own unique taste and the combination forms a meal of delicacies (Youngdal).
Many people do not have the chance to travel and experience new parts of the world, so the immigrants that are coming into the United States are able to expose what they know to the native born Americans. America is unlike any other country and for that prime reason we have such a high level of immigration which happens to be “the second highest in our nation’s history” (Chavez). Up until 1882, “the US government practiced an open door policy;” (“Melting Pot America”) however, soon after that the policy began to try to control immigration by excluding Chinese, alcoholics, and criminals from coming into the country.
This salad bowl society is very important to the American culture and continually needs to be reevaluated. With the diverse amounts of people, it is almost required that we venture outside of our own boundaries in order to understand and appreciate one another. Whether it be in the work place, school or simply everyday life we are going to be with people that are unlike ourselves and need to be prepared to deal with those situations. As immigrants are coming into the country they are faced with a new world.
Assimilation into America is no longer what is used to be fifty or sixty years ago because many different things have changed. Immigrants are essentially leaving behind everything that they have known and are exposing themselves to different language, culture, behavior, etc. This whole experience can be very scary and intimidating for our newcomers so it is important to make sure they understand that they do not have to leave behind who they are or what they are comfortable with. Immigrants have to familiarize themselves with what Americans view as norms and values in order for them to feel as if they belong in our society.
Some newcomers feel as though they need to assimilate in order to fit into the American culture which should not always be the case. For Americans to ask immigrants to assimilate to our behaviors and needs is not right and is selfish. Instead, we should be encouraging new behaviors, cultures, and experiences because we are a country of diversity which, metaphorically, opens its welcoming arms to new and different people. The theory of the “melting pot” has begun to disappear and instead researchers are focusing on multiculturalism or viewing America as a salad bowl society.
America is beginning to adopt trends and characteristics we never once would, “American society [is] truly [turning into] a multicultural mosaic” (Millet). Immigrants were once assimilating to the American culture, but now they are now integrating and bringing their individual differences to the playing field resulting in an enhancement throughout our diversity. Instead of asking our newcomers to ditch their identity and conform, we are now encouraging their differences to add to our “salad bowl” and even teach us what they know so that we can relate and understand them better.
Each difference represents a so called “ingredient” retaining its integrity and flavor, while contributing to a successful product. This salad bowl society is the theory that we should be adopting in order to encourage the immigrants to bring their cultures and heritages with them and embrace their differences. By allowing our immigrants to retain their differences, we are expanding the great diversity that America holds. With newcomers entering our country we are being exposed to different ideas, values and talent that we may not have come across before.
The different talents that are brought here can broaden our businesses and begin to make them more marketable and profitable. This talent also offers businesses to work with “a competitive edge” (Kapoor) not only within their business among the employees but also with the other businesses that exist. Not only does this allow for a diversity to exist, but celebrates and recognizes the people of different backgrounds that are in our country. Identifying and making a point to rejoice the many immigrants that have come here to enhance are differences is very important and needs to be done often.
Some Americans have feared that these immigrants are coming to our country to take away the jobs that are offered to us; however, immigrants that are coming here looking for work are applying for the positions that Americans do not consider desirable and do not want to fulfill. This enrichment that immigrants are bringing into our country is leaving a win-win situation for everyone. Immigrants are able to have a job and provide support and security for themselves and their families while the native born citizens are able to experience and develop a better well rounded character and work ethic.
The topic of immigration is and always will be a controversial subject for many. The truth is, as I mentioned earlier, immigration is not going anywhere anytime soon. Americans need to educate themselves on the facts and statistics rather than forming their own opinion based on their feelings against other races and ethnicities. Stripped down from all physical features every human being is the same. We all go through triumphs throughout life; we experience high and low points which better our character and overall understanding of the life we live.
Americans need to stop being so self indulged and actually open themselves up to someone that is different. Truth is many people are too scared to step outside of their norm and experience anything that is new or unknown to them. Americans are satisfied with the same old daily routines that never change or bring anything new into their lives. Allowing ourselves to really get to know all these different types of people that are coming into our country can only better who we are.
We would receive a different perspective on life and see how life is viewed through someone else’s eyes. Not only that, but many people in other countries are not as fortunate as we are and that strives to be a primary reason why they are coming here. Taking twenty minutes out of your day to listen to the experiences and daily life of someone in another country will blow your mind. So many people take for granted the little things that we have which many people in other countries are not able to have or experience.
There are so many reasons that America should be a salad bowl society instead of a melting pot. Embracing our immigrant’s differences will better our culture, businesses, country and most importantly each citizen on an individual level. America needs to stand by its word when we say that we are a country of diversity and openness; we need to stop asking our newcomers to assimilate into what we feel safe and secure with and instead welcome what they are bringing into our country. We are all people, and we are all trying to get through life to be successful and happy.
Cite this America, Melting Pot or Salad Bowl Society?
America, Melting Pot or Salad Bowl Society?. (2016, Oct 04). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/america-melting-pot-or-salad-bowl-society/