The Melting Pot
The Melting Pot Cultural assimilation is the blending or fusing of minority groups into the dominant society. There are many metaphors related to the concept of cultural assimilation in the United States, one being the melting pot. It suggests that all of the cultures that have been brought into America melt together and become the base material of the pot. This metaphor is considered somewhat accurate, but some people disagree with what it implies. There are some metaphors that better represent assimilation in America.
When immigrants came to America, they came in search of a better life. They wanted the lives of their children to be different than theirs was. In this way the melting pot is somewhat accurate. There had to be a change that happened when you’re surrounded by people living differently than they did when you were home, like the melting pot coming out differently when the metals are melted together. The metaphor of the melting pot implies that all of the cultures become exactly the same.
People of different cultures in America may find this offensive because it suggests that they completely loose all elements of their culture. Everyone was poured into a pot and melted together coming out one alloy, one person. This is inaccurate, people will come to America and change, but keep elements of their culture. This is why other metaphors were proposed that are a little more accurate. A better metaphor that is also used to represent the assimilation of cultures in America is the salad bowl.
It suggests that all the cultures are kept whole but mixed together in a bowl and covered in the same dressing. Pieces of each ingredient of the salad start to taste like the other pieces, but remain the same underneath the dressing. This suggests that immigrants will pick up things from the American culture but keep elements of their culture. Another metaphor is a beautiful mosaic. All of the pieces of a mosaic are different and scattered but together they make a beautiful picture. This shows that the people in America maintain there culture but are placed round other cultures. I like this metaphor because mosaics are so beautiful and interesting, like how different cultures living harmoniously is beautiful. Barbara Jordan said, “We are more than a melting-pot, we are a kaleidoscope. ” A kaleidoscope shows picture mixed together and when you turn it the picture changes. I take this as the different angles that you look at American culture it can change. The culture in New York City is different than the culture in rural North Carolina. All of the metaphors used to represent assimilation have some elements of being accurate.
I believe all the other metaphors are better than that of the melting-pot, because they show that people of different cultures don’t loose all elements of their culture. But no metaphor can be completely accurate is representing assimilation in America. There are too many variables involved. There are many cities in America that have different cultures dominating their area. Some people may assimilate more than others, it is a process hard to represent with a metaphor because of its complexity.