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Melting Pot Concept in the U.S

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In the 1800's and the early 1900's, some people gave the America the name, the melting pot. People imagined this because thousands and thousands of immigrants coming from around the world were coming into the United States in hope of a better life. So most people imagined that all these different cultures were being poured into a giant pot called America, heated to a low boil and molded into one kind of person. If one steps back and thinks about this theory, it isn't entirely true

In fact, it's not really true at all. If one takes a closer look at America today, one sees millions of people labeled Americans but not by how they act, what religions they practice and what kind of foods they eat but where they are born. total opposites. Now all Americans must be able to speak English, or at least bad English, and they must also follow the laws set fourth by out four fathers, but no two Americans are alike. Take San Francisco for example. Twenty years ago, it was the center for the hippie movement, but just down the street from Haight and Ashbury there is a place called China Town. A place placed filled with Chinese Americans, shops and temples that could be easily mistaken for buildings only found in China.

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The metaphor of melting pot or crucible appeared in 18-19th centuries or even a little bit earlier when the mass colonization of the United States began. This concept describes the ideals of immigrants from different countries and nations

For them is was an image of perfect society when people from parts of the world, representatives of different heterogeneous cultures create a homogeneous society exactly the same as different substance melt inside the pot to form a new one. The metaphor was used in the framework of vision where the United States are considered an ideal republic, a new promised land. Millions of immigrants sailed to America to start a new life. They brought their own language and culture to another land. However, they were made to adapt to the rules of the severe country and everything melted in one culture, which was accepted by representatives of different nations. The notion of “melting pot” came into general usage after the play The Melting Pot written by Israel Zangwill at the beginning of the 20th century. As for the United States it denotes the process of Americanization or cultural assimilation including intermarriages and other forms of acculturation. Nowadays, the United States still remains the country where different nations live. Nevertheless, the notion of melting pot cannot be applied to its development and policy. The 20th century’s history showed that every nation should be treated respectfully and the culture of every ethnicity should be appreciated. Therefore, the United States can be called a multicultural country. The policy of bilingual education as well as creation of cultural centers is implemented. Everyone tries to save its own individuality and focuses of cultural differences.

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Speaking about American diversity as about a melting pot, Jacoby (2004) means that arriving to the USA people loose their cultural characteristic and at the same time they share those of the American diversity. It is like ice melting in juice. Those who live in the USA carry some specifics of the cultural traditions of the newcomers, and those who come to live in the USA do not posses their cultural peculiarities after several years of living there. Cultural traditions of the newcomers as if melt in the diversity of the country and at the same time they acquire some specific features from the US population. Therefore, speaking about melting pot as about multiculturalism and its peculiarities in the USA, it should be stated that it is impossible to omit the change and avoid melting like millions of other immigrants. Some scholars consider US diversity as a salad bowl which states that immigrants retain their cultural identity in the new country they live into

Flora Davis (1999) was one of the first scholars who called American diversity a salad bowl. Moreover, she intended to presuppose that melting pot is not what the USA meant and the changes created a new structure of American society. Conducting a research devoted to society and diversity, Flora Davis (1999) noticed that some people who came to the USA managed to retain their national peculiarities and conserve their traditions and culture. This tendency was used by different people, therefore, she came to the conclusion that the time of melting pot passed by. People began to remember their cultural belonging and tried to retain them on the new territory. Calling American society a kaleidoscope, Lawrence H. Fuchs (1990) wanted to stress the tendency when both the immigrants and society adapt and change. Being similar to melting pot, this vision of the issue is something different as in comparison with melting pot where the American mixed culture is predominant, kaleidoscope means that all the participants of interchange of cultural peculiarities get similar issues. It is essential to stress on such peculiarities of kaleidoscope as sharing and interchange. In this case, both the representatives of the US cultural diversity and those who brought their personal vision of culture to a new place share their vision of culture and get new features. Therefore, the Chinese ethnicity has something different traditions living in the US than their family in China even in case both representatives of the same culture wanted to retain their traditions. Kaleidoscope presupposes change and it is impossible to omit it. The supporters of this vision are sure that it is impossible to live in another country without cultural assimilation.

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Briefly, forcing an individual to fit in within a society is not uncommon; The US does on the daily basic. All to create something that many like to call a “Melting pot or a mosaic”, let's take the story of an Native American child who thought his life wasn't worth much because the government was in favorite of creating a melting pot and make an “ideal” country

The Melting pot is the part that every person things they are willingly giving, but in reality they are forced to give away for the sake of the nation.

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Davis, F. (1999). Moving the Mountain: The Women’s Movement in America since 1960. Champaign: University of Illinois Press.

Fuchs, L. H. (1990). The American Kaleidoscope: Race, Ethnicity, and the Civic Culture. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press.

Jacoby, T. (2004). Reinventing the Melting Pot: The New Immigrants And What It Means To Be American. London: Basic Books.

Vincent, D., & Parrillo, N. (2010). Strangers to These Shores: Race and Ethnic Relations in the United States. New York: Allyn & Bacon.

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