United States of America has attracted many people from different corners of the world in search of their "American dream." People come to America in hopes of attaining freedom, earning a living and living in way that they have always wanted to. The earliest immigrants to America were 100 English Colonists who were known as the Mayflower Pilgrims. This set of persons was looking for religious freedom on when they migrated to North America. This basically set the trend of immigration and ever since then America is the destination majority of the immigrants opt for. According to statistics from migration policy, nearly one quarter of the 70.9 million children under the ages of seventeen had one immigrant parent.
Seeing how the statistics clearly show the inflow on immigrants into the country, there has been quite some debate whether America is a melting pot or a salad bowl. It is true that during early immigration, people or divisions have to give up their identity so they can fit in. At this point, they might fit more towards the notion that America really is a melting pot. However, with the recognition and capitalizing of diversity, the melting pot has now become more culturally receptive. People are able to be themselves and practice their culture and traditions. Therefore, it is quite evident that the United States is now a salad bowl.
There has been a lot of debate on whether America is a melting pot or a salad. Before we get into the discussion of where America really stands, it is only relevant to go over what a melting pot and a salad bowl really is. Melting pot is basically when different types of cheeses are melted in a pot such that they come together and create a new form of cheese. On the other hand, a salad bowel is when different ingredients of a salad like tomatoes, lettuce cucumbers and so on gather together and give add onto the salad because of its own texture and taste.
While referring to America being a melting pot, it is saying that when people of different cultures come together, they form a new identity which is called American. This idea of America is not appreciated by many because it asserts the fact that people forgot their own culture and their identity. This is the process of Americanization that is often critiques globally. Americanization is a process that is not only started in America but in other countries around the world. The Americanization movement was started in 1910 to bring out immigrations into the American cultural system. Majority of the states back then opted for Americanization programs in which English language classes and American civics would be created. Some of the organizations were known as YMCA, YWCA and Daughters of the American Revolution. The main purpose of this movement was to integrate different European ethnic groups into one national identity. This was needed at the moment because young immigrant men were required to draft into the American army.
It has also been asserted that Americans go on to take pride in the melting pot society as majority of the persons try to assimilate the new comers into the American culture (BBC) A political scientist at Harvard university, Professor Samuel Huntington, stated that the American culture and condition is more of tomato soup. He stated that new ingredients and spice can be added yet still the essential character of tomato is not lost.
Regardless, the end notion here is that America does have the capability to transform the individual and his opinion such that it matches those of the people living there from before. It is seen that many people go through inferiority complex when they enter America. They are not sure about fitting in and therefore they try to blend into the culture as much as possible. This inferiority complex can be inbuilt from behavior or it can be due to demeaning behavior that is shown by the dominant group in the society. Many people felt that after the World Trade Center attacks, discrimination had increased in America to quite a lot. To combat this discrimination and behavior, many people opted for the melting pot theory as opposed to the standing out and representing their culture. Because of fear of being taunted, instilled or assaulted, many Muslim men were forced to shave off their beards. Similarly, Muslim women opted to let go of their head covering so they wouldn't stand out in the crowd. Even though the above discussion does assert that at point America might seem as a melting pot to the newcomers in the country, it doesn't always stay like that. Again, it is true that discrimination did increase at one point; the scenario is quite different now.
It would be interesting to note is that the white Americans living in the country today are not really the native settlers of the country. The Native Americans or the American Indians are the ones who are native to this land. Most of the persons are "something American." This means they are Chinese-American, Italian-American, Irish-American or so on. A person's identity is made up by their culture, heritage and tradition and no one can deprive a person of that. No matter where a person lives, his heritage and culture always stays with him.
America is more a salad bowl because of the main motive for immigration that was discussed before. The people who travelled all the way to America didn't do so because they wanted to learn English. Similarly, they did not migrate because they wanted to adopt the American culture or they were too tired of their own clutter. They did so because of the different opportunities that are present. If they have to learn the language and assimilate to a decent extent so they can make the most of their opportunity, it does not mean that they are blending into the American culture. There are some aspects of culture like the language and following of the laws that every person living in the country must do. America has not prohibited them from certain attire and neither is the persons banned from practicing their religion.
With the growing number of immigrants in the country, people are now becoming more and more receptive to the diversity that is present around them. As of now, there are different backgrounds, value steams and differences visible in the country today. A prediction made by the 2008 Census Bureau states that the total number of minorities is likely to outnumber the non-minorities in the United States by the year 2042 (Mitchell,2012)
Today leaders in the market place and politicians in the Congress are informed about the diverse population of the country. Considering this, everyone is provided equal opportunity to gain or earn money as they wish. Women and minorities are ending up in the internal corporate workforce even though glass ceiling still is present for these groups (Henderson, 1994) Many organizations are actually linking diversity management as a part of business ethics and morals (Welling, 2003) This shows that the corporate world and the economy are beginning to recognize the diverse array of people present. They accept the fact that they are different and are willing to give equal opportunities based on their talent and skills. Seeing how there is reduced discrimination in the work place as well, these people are more likely to conform to their own culture and tradition. This again shows that America is more of a salad bowl now.
The recognition of diversity can be seen more in big cities where people are comfortably seen walking in their national attire. They don't feel the need to conform to the dress shirt or shorts attire and they feel just as comfortable in their own national outfit. The fact that majority of the people feel comfortable practicing their culture and tradition is evidence enough that America is a salad bowl. Furthermore, even in the market place, cuisines from all over the world as present. Everyone including White Americans is actually interested in going to these places and trying out the food. Similarly, there are shops present that are exquisitely vending clothes of different nationalities. Some dresses like the sari from Indian culture has become so popular in the country that it is being worn by Hollywood celebrities. All of this signals cultural tolerance and acceptance that was not present before.
There was a time when these same immigrants did not feel comfortable wearing saris on the roads. They did not feel comfortable opening shops that only sell Indian food. Because immigrants and new comers were a new thing, the less tolerant group even opted to discriminate and assault the immigrants. Seeing how the American population as a whole has become more receptive of different cultures, America is moving more towards being a salad bowl. Instead of feeling shy of their culture or identity, people feel proud in representing their culture. They know that America itself is…