America: Melting Pot vs. Salad Bowl
America: Melting Pot vs. Salad Bowl Multiculturalism is also known as ethnic diversity relating to communities containing multiple cultures. The term is used in two different broad ways, descriptively and normatively. By using the descriptive term, we usually refer to the simple fact of cultural diversity. This can be applied to the demographic make-up of a specific place and sometimes at the organizational level such as schools, neighborhoods or nations.
The normative term is often referred to ideologies or politics that promote this diversity or its institutionalization. The United States have been a magnet for people all over the globe, searching for a better life and bringing their own culture and traditions to a new vast country. No other place in this world has such a diverse population, a unique nation of immigrants. This unique diversity can make excellent decisions but also constructs several challenges. America can be considered as both a melting pot and a salad bowl of people integrating.
In a melting pot people come into society assimilated, adopt the standard of their new society and contributes something along the way. While in a salad bowl people tend to hold on to their own culture upon arrival and do not take on the characteristics of a new society. A melting pot integrates people to be the same, this system creates a tunnel vision contrary to a salad bowl which will promotes various knowledge and will therefore collectively make a better decision for society as a whole. The question is what makes for a better and healthier nation?
William J. Bennett discusses several reasons why America being a melting pot is better than a salad bowl throughout his book, “America: The Last Best Hope. ” By saying a nation should become one. It’s important not to pressure our differences, but rather focus on coming together as a melting pot with a set of core values. For a very long time immigrants were welcome with open arms to America with no restrictions to keep certain people out of the loop. Over the years this changed and America’s immigrant politic shifted to melting together and become American.
It is okay for you to enter America, but it requires you to leave your past behind and focus on integrating into our society. By forcing immigrants to give up their heritage you also force people to give up a huge part of who they are as umans. This leaves the immigrants empty and feeling ashamed, like who they truly are weren’t good enough in America. One should never have to give up your ethnicity to become Americans. Creating restrictions and criteria’s for entering a country demotes diversity. The legendary theorist James G.
March once put it like this, “The development of knowledge may depend on maintaining an influx or the naive and the ignorant, and competitive victory does not reliably go to the properly educated” (31) This quote explains very well how groups too much alike will find it arder to keep learning from each other, because every member is bringing less and less new information to the table. Homogeneous groups are very good at what they already do well, but become progressively less able to investigate alternatives.
By encouraging demotion in diversity, it is only going to damage a society instead of celebrating once differences. Considering you can truly draw something from all e ditterences. Groups tend to spend too much time on exploiting and not enough time exploring. Therefore bringing new members into an organization, community or ation, even if they are less experienced or capable will be beneficial. It simply makes the group keener because what little members do know is not redundant with what everybody else already knows.
Another very interesting thing to remember when talking about demoting diversity within a country is tunnel vision. A tunnel vision is when a nation become too much alike and does not even try to be different anyone, because your integrated to act and behave the same. W. G. Chase said something brilliant and well-describing, to be “spectacularly narrow. ” (32) When ringing your emphasis only on melting together as one, you will eventually end up with a nation believing all the same things, stripped of their earlier ethnicity and now shares the same set of opinions and beliefs.
This is where a tunnel vision is created within America, because nobody bothers to explore and look outside the box. They pay more attention to copy and look-alike, than to stand out in a crowd. Earlier in the text we established that having a wide diversity of people in a society is very effective and useful. Just think about it, who wants a salad only containing lettuce? It is very oring to only eat lettuce all the time and nothing else in your salad. Even though this is what happens when everyone melts together, everyone is a piece of lettuce.
While instead of only eating boring lettuce pieces you can spice it up with all kinds of vegetables, fruits, nuts, meat; whatever your taste buds prefer. Again, all of this leads back to diversity Just within your eating habits and in your salad. Bennett also claims that America is already too divided as a nation and it’s therefore essential not to focus on our differences because this will only divide us further. James Surowiecki tates “Diversity helps because it actually adds perspective that would otherwise be absent and because it takes away, or at least weakens, some of the destructive characteristics of a group decision-making. (29) Surowiecki is a well-known author who writes for a popular column on business and finance called “The Financial Page” and is also acknowledged for his book “The Wisdom of Crowds” where this quote is taken from. Every culture can contribute something valuable in order to promote different opinions and understand each other’s belief, which will only help create better solutions. This can further be proven with an example of an experiment done by Scott Page, a political scientist at the University of Michigan.
He has done a series of intriguing experiments using computer-stimulated problem-solving agents to demonstrate the positive effects of diversity. By setting up a series of groups between ten and twenty agents, each agent endowed with different skills, and letting them solve a relatively sophisticated problem. What Page found out and gained knowledge about was that groups made up of some smart agents and some not smart ones almost always did better than a groups made up by only smart agents. This experiment shows that diversity by itself is valuable, so that the simple fact of making a group diverse makes it better at problem solving.
Like mentioned earlier a melting pot wants their people to give up their identity and will therefore collectively demotes diversity. A diverse nation is something to be proud of and it will only help creating better decisions as a whole. Everyone will then be an important piece of a puzzle, which will together create a perfect picture. It does not matter if you’re the most intelligent person in America or the least intelligent; both are equally needed to reate diversity among people. Imagine a bowl tilled with tresnly tossed salad where all of the ingredients are mixed together, without losing their shape, form or identity.
Together all those ingredients make up a unity creating an excellent salad. In a way every element contributes something to the finishing product. They may be covered in the same dressing, but green vegetables, peppers, lettuce and corns can still be seen for what they are. You are able to be different and keep your own culture, while still being multicultural in your own salad, community or nation. America can very easily be seen as a salad bowl instead, where different ethnic groups blend together, yet maintained their cultural uniqueness.
You may work together in the same Job during the day and then later on at night return to your own ethic community or family where the flavor of their individual culture dominates their way of life. Separately every individual group has their own special interest, language, food and traditions to protect, be proud of and defeat. Another way to look at this is by walking the streets of San Francisco going thought “China Town” or “Little Ethiopia” and you almost get the feeling of actually being in China or Ethiopia.
America simply has a society of many cultures living side by side within the same Bennett furthermore says that if you are able to be Italian-American, country. Norwegian-American and African American you’re breaking apart and not being united. The beauty of America should be to proudly value differences. Italian- American, Norwegian-American, African American or any other type of American yet you remain American and believe in the same core principles. You can be any kind of American; this is not supposed to be an obstacle getting in the way.
Instead of changing, it’s more significant to show the world that one nation can live in such harmony even though the world is filled with so many differences and cultures. There is nothing wrong with a land of multiple languages; this only measures how the globe is shrinking day by day. I decided to further explore and therefore conducted a survey asking two essential questions about my field of research. This will give a better understanding of other people’s thoughts and opinions about the subject. The first question asked was “Do you see America as a melting pot or a salad bowl?
While also asking the introduction question “What makes for a healthier and better nation? ” I asked fifteen students who already studied abroad one year in America, and fifteen without the pre-knowledge of living in America. Together this makes thirty students from The American College of Norway. The reason for this was to view both perspectives and having a sense of diversity. This would also reveal if students living in the United States have a different view than students only watching America as a country though social media.
Before handing out the actual survey, everyone got a heet of paper explaining the difference between a melting pot and a salad bowl. Also providing some questions regarding the subject to help them brainstorm and understand the United States better as a country. The testing group was then able to make up their mind to a certain extent about multiculturalism, without even have the questions if front of them yet. They might even reach a conclusion or at least have an opinion ready. The two questions were on separate sheets of paper, not letting the survey groups have both at the same time.
The reason for that is not letting one uestion depend on the other one. After answering the first one they could move on to the second one. The order was purposely made considering question two is more complex than question one. Atter looking through every paper trom the survey, the results were unexpected and rather shocking at one point. The first question “Do you see America as a melting pot or a salad bowl? ” actually got a tie. One half of the students view the nation as a melting pot while the other half firmly believe in the salad bowl theory. This was not the shocking part more the unexpected part considering it was actually a tie.
Meaning that every other person would view the subject differently. The second question “What makes for a healthier and better nation? ” was supposed to be the more complex question. I expected students to weigh both the pros and cons regarding to both parts of the question. One process every student already started before getting the questions, Just without knowing what the outcome was going to be. People answered pretty quickly giving a sign that they gave this some thought forehand or they might already have made up their mind about America as a nation.
The shocking results were 85% felt that America ould be healthier and better as a salad bowl while only 15% felt that America would be healthier as a melting pot. These results came from people who never entered the United States, and people who have lived in the United States before. This survey can help backup and influence people to believe that the salad bowl theory is better for a Now after reviewing these interesting results on my survey, it is safe to society. say that the salad bowl theory makes for a better and healthier nation. People do not have to neglect their culture or ethnicity in order to become Americans.
They do not have to feel ashamed of whom they are because we have established that every human in America is equally important and part of a team when it comes to creating a diverse country. Just think about the Abolitionist Movement where African Americans were fighting for the same rights as white, because it is their country too. Despite the fact that they have another skin color and might have a different cultural background this does not mean theyre any less American. Most of them were born and raised here Just like everyone else and should therefore not neglect they heritage.
The great thing about America is that it is like a salad bowl; both pickles and tomatoes can share the same salad bowl and taste good together without being the same vegetable. Everyone have the right to feel the same kind of belonging and feel like they matter. Everyone matters and together make a great team, communicating and co-operating as one nation. The key to a successful nation lays in the mind of the people, enduring a widely range of beliefs and opinions. Embracing all of it in order to promote knowledge and collectively make a better decision for society as a whole.