Multiculturalism the United States Is a Multicultural Term Paper

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The United States is a multicultural nation. Even before the Europeans landed on American shores, the continent was multicultural, as Native Americans are comprised of hundreds of different linguistic and tribal groups. The European settlers in turn came from various European nations: the earliest settlers came from Great Britain and France, and later from Germany and the Netherlands. The international slave trade ushered in several more African ethnic groups, albeit in bondage. During the Industrial Revolution, economic opportunities prompted droves of new immigrants from Europe to move to the United States. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, immigrants from Eastern Europe and Ireland especially added to the multicultural mix that characterized the United States. The great ethnic and cultural diversity that existed at the turn of the last century caused people to start referring to the United States as a "melting pot," where peoples from various nations and backgrounds came together and blended into another society. The melting pot concept has been touted as the primary ideology of Americans and is generally put forth as a positive emblem of American culture. However, other multicultural nations with similar immigration policies as the United States have developed different ideologies to define their collective cultural identities. Most notably, the term "multiculturalism" refers to the celebration of ethnic diversity through the encouragement of the preservation of cultural traditions and languages.

Nations like Australia and Canada have promoted multiculturalism over melting pot. In a society that promotes multiculturalism, immigrants are encouraged to retain their unique identities and traditions, while at the same time adapting to and thriving to their new environment. On the Canadian government's Canadian Heritage website, an article entitled "What is Multiculturalism?" defines the term. "Multiculturalism ensures that all citizens can keep their identities, can take pride in their ancestry and have a sense of belonging ... The Canadian experience has shown that multiculturalism encourages racial and ethnic harmony and cross-cultural understanding, and discourages ghettoization, hatred, discrimination and violence." In a nation that supports multiculturalism, ethnically distinct communities retain the essential character of their historical, cultural, and religious traditions. Mother tongues are spoken freely on the street as in the home. Many Americans support the transformation of American ideology from "melting pot-ism" to multiculturalism because of the positive experiences of ethnic minorities in countries like Canada. Multiculturalism promotes cultural richness and prevents minority cultures, beliefs, and traditions from being obliterated. Multiculturalism enables tolerance because the promotion of cultural pride necessitates exposure to more than one linguistic and cultural tradition. In fact, the Canadian government avers: "Acceptance gives Canadians a feeling of security and self-confidence, making them more open to, and accepting of, diverse cultures."

However, many…

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Works Cited

'Multiculturalism." Wikipedia. May 2005. Online at .

RCADE. "Maryland Governor Calls Multiculturalism 'Crap.'" Drudge Retort. 12 May 2004. Online at .

'What is Multiculturalism?" 20 Jan 2004. Canadian Heritage. Online at .

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