MELTING POT IN SCHOOL
The term “melting pot” is believed to have been introduced by the Jewish play writer Israel Zangwill in his Pre-World War I play about the convergence of people and cultures in a single community. The phrase became a cultural and scholarly idiom to signify the belief that different culture/ racial/ ethnic groups can form one homogenous group; each culture is viewed as equally contributing and equally represented. The “melting pot” view of the cultural amalgamation is known in the social and behavioral sciences as the fusion model.
However, the term “melting pot” has become a heated topic of debate among scientific communities, especially in the area of psychology. The recent scholarship on multiculturalism and diversity issues has caused the concept of the melting pot to be questioned. Racial and ethnic minority scholars argue that forming one culture group from many varied groups is an illusion that contributes to continued ethnocentrism and oppression of minority groups that do not fit the cultural group “standard”. Furthermore, social scientists emphasize that even within one particular group exist marked within-group differences based on individuals’ particular country of origin, their genders, socioeconomic class, religious beliefs, and level of ability.
The “melting pot” theory continues to infuse the secondary education curriculum. Students learn from a mainstream-centric curriculum that suggests that contributions of diverse groups are subsumed under the umbrella of American values and practices. Multicultural scholars have suggested that a curriculum that supports the “melting pot” views provides the majority students with a false sense of superiority as well as the lack of awareness of unique contributions of individuals from other cultural groups. Moreover, the “melting pot” view contributes to experiences of marginalization of students from minority cultures. For...