Tuesday, February 13, 2007
The USA: a melting pot or a salad bowl?
America has traditionally been referred to as a melting pot, welcoming people from many different countries, races, and religions, all hoping to find freedom, new opportunities, and a better way of life. The melting pot methapor is used to refer to "model" immigrant groups of the past. Past generations of immigrants in America, some people argue, became successful by working to shed their historical identities and adopt the ways of their new country. The process of shedding one's native culture and becoming absorbed into the ways of the "host" society is known as cultural assimilation.
Today, however, the trend is toward multiculturalism, not assimilation. The
old melting pot metaphor is giving way to new methaphors such as salad bowl and mosaic, mixtures of various ingredients that keep their individual characteristics. Immigrant populations within the United States are not being blended together in one pot, as it was thought, but rather they are transforming the American society into a truly multicultural mosaic, by valuing and preserving the distinct qualities of their own cultures.

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