Due The American Melting Pot: Reality or Myth? Introduction When we look back on old documentary footage or watch period style movies we are often reminded of what the ports of the United States looked like at the turn of 20th century. People from all over the world came to this country with few belongings and a lot of big dreams of the better lives that they would build in this new land. They came to be free of the oppressions of their past and embrace the ideals and the freedoms of America.
Ideally, these immigrants would bring the best of themselves, blend those talents, gifts and skills, and become Americans, sharing the unified hopes and greater goals of this country. The idea of the United States as an immense cultural “melting pot, ” at one time, seemed realistic, however today many opinions of whether that metaphor is appropriate have changed. Is America a cultural melting pot or is it now a modern myth that is no longer applicable? Discussion It was a Jewish immigrant from England that originally coined the term the “melting pot. ” It was the title of play he had written that focused on the belief, ”…that all immigrants can be transformed into Americans, a new alloy forged in a crucible of democracy, freedom and civic responsibility. ”(Booth 1) There is no doubt that in the early 1900s that this was the general mentality of many of the immigrants that came to this country.
Many wanted nothing more than to be Americans, and were willing to do whatever was necessary to legitimately earn that title. At this point in history, being an American was a title that mattered and was desired and respected. However, the mindset of, many immigrants and multi-ethnic Americans, today is not quite as endearing or geared to American ideals as a whole, as they once were.
Many scholars have pointed out that there is lessening of common “dreams. ” What Americans want is no longer a unified ideal. Some researchers have said that the attitude of native-born Americans has, also, changed. Once very tolerate and encouraging of immigration are now much more, territorial and, often, suspicious of immigrants that come to this country.
The world has changed and it is, often, said that the United States is no longer a “melting pot, ” but is more like a “salad bowl. ”(Millet) Meaning that instead of becoming the culmination of many things into one thing, they are all independent parts that remain so, but contribute to the greater whole. However, there is a danger that this consistent insistence on segregating, embracing differences over similarities, could lead to a salad with unpleasantly divergent ingredients.
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