America, Melting Pot or Salad Bowl Society?

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In the year 2013 there are slightly over 7 billion people throughout the world. This means that we have a wide variety of cultures, heritages, ethnic backgrounds, views and opinions. Thousands of people are immigrating to the United States for a number of reasons such as bettering their education and careers, as well as, getting a fresh start. Primarily, immigrants are moving here to take advantage of the many opportunities our country can make available. People are bringing their cultures and differences to the United States thus resulting in what is called a melting pot; however, I would argue that America should no longer be called a melting pot. The term melting pot suggests that immigrants should assimilate into American culture. Instead, America should be looked upon as a salad bowl society or a mosaic work of art allowing our newcomers to bring their racial and ethnic differences to the country. This allows our newcomers to “retain their own national characteristics while integrating into a new society” (“Melting Pot America”). We, as a country, should not be encouraging newcomers to leave who they are and what they value in order to become an American.

In all reality, everyone is an immigrant. Someone’s grandparents came from another country to better their lives and had children who had children which end with our generation. Yes without a doubt we are natural born citizens, but our roots come from all over the world as do many other people. Although I am a native born citizen, my background is very broad and varied; however, I do not know much about it and that is where we find many American’s naïve to what makes them who they are. Language is becoming a prominent factor in how we will communicate with the immigrants that are coming into our country. I know from my own experience that my Spanish is not what it used to be, even though I took two years of Spanish in high school. I have not retained much more than a few words and phrases. Typically while I am at work if I have a Spanish speaking customer I have to call for someone to come and translate for me so I am still able to assist the customer. English is slowly fading into the background and researchers believe that Spanish will shortly become the spoken language of America; “nearly one-fifth of U.S. residents speak a language other than English at home” (“Reinventing the Melting Pot”). For that main reason, students should be allowed to take language classes from elementary school and forward; increasing their vocabulary and conversation every year. Schools should be preparing our students to interact with the immigrants that are coming into our country by offering classes that teach about different cultures, ethnicities, and languages. Not all Americans are going to be too pleased with all of the immigrants that are coming over, but it is what it is. The number of immigrants is outstanding and it is not something that it going to stop any time soon. Everything takes time to adapt and this too will take time; “bagels… and spaghetti were new things at one time… immigrants come and change America and are changed by America” (“Melting Pot America”). By preparing ourselves for the immigrants that are coming into the country we are only bettering ourselves to help them make the transition into our country easier and more comfortable.

I feel like society should be embracing the new cultures and heritages that are entering into the United States. It is very important that we do not make immigrants feel as though they need to abandon what they have known their entire life. America is so full of opportunity and it continues to flourish with each person that becomes a citizen. We must recognize that each ethnic or racial group has its own sense of value and its own process of knowledge formation. This idea led to the realization that a community can prosper if it recognizes and embraces the culture of each of its cultural groups. This...
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