Melting pot metaphor explained…

Posted by James, 05 Aug 09

We usually go on and on about America being a "melting pot". Question is: What do we really mean? Well this is what Catherine in an article The Great Melting Pot: "Edging" Us out within Interracial Families had to say:

We just don't seem to realize the truth of that metaphor: that a "melting pot" isn't about diversity or inclusion but about homogeneity, about heterogeneous groups melting into the dominant culture rather than enriching it.

We are so fond of using the phrase especially when talking about race relations. But when it comes to interracial relationships, have we really evolved that much? When you think about it, could Catherine's explanation be right?

11 responses to "Melting pot metaphor explained…"

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  1.   Jenna says:
    Posted: 19 May 10

    Race ,race,race that is all important to Americans lol! Geez this country maybe advance in technology and standard of living somewhat,but your race relations is a big mess! As my fellow Trinidadians,Wonka and Osunbaby said,you guys could learn from us in Trinidad.

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  2.   wonka says:
    Posted: 05 Mar 10

    We not only except that Trinidad is so DIVERSE,but, we also except that there are cultural differences in Trinidad.It's somewhere I would definitely recomm end for travelers to visit.

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  3.   wonka says:
    Posted: 05 Mar 10

    I'm Trinidadian as well,osunbaby.I was born here,but you bring up many valid points the carribean is very diverse,especially Trinidad..Oh boy it is so diverse in Trinidad,anyone who's not aware of this would be very suprised,because it's definitely an eyeopener. The thing with Trinidad is that we are very proud people,and we are very embracing of all the diversity in TRINIDAD!!.

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  4.   Smile4242 says:
    Posted: 13 Jan 10

    As I can see it, up until recently there was 4 different melting pots. The first melting pot was all the white races, the Irish, the English, the Polish, the Germans, the Italians, the French, etc. Back when this country first started, each nationality considered themselves different, and it often created conflict. Like today in many cities where we have the Black side of town, the Hispanic side of town, the white side of town, they had the Italian side of town, the Irish side of town, the Jewish side of town, etc. Over time they all melted together into "Whites." Most whites in this country are mixed, many not even knowing their full ancestry. Then we have the Black melting pot, where all those from Africa went into. In Africa there were different tribes and nationalities. Here in the U.S., you'd be lucky to find a Black person that can trace back his ancestry to the original tribes their ancestors came from. Over time, they too were all melted together into what we now call "Blacks." You see the same thing with the Hispanics, but they came much later to this country en mass than the Whites and Blacks did. They too are melting together to form "Hispanics." Then you have the Asians, who comes from very different cultures, if you study Asians. You have the Chinese, Vietnamese, Hmong, Filipinos and dozens and dozens of other very different cultures and peoples. They too are melting together in the U.S. into the "Asian" melting pot. So, the concept of the melting pot has always been accurate, just most people do not realize that there are more than one pot. Now, today, with more and more interracial dating between Blacks, Whites, Asians and Hispanics, we are seeing a new combined melting pot just starting to heat up.

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  5.   osunbaby says:
    Posted: 20 Sep 09

    America is not the world's melting pot. The Caribbean is... in particular Trinidad & Tobago where I was born. I am a product of that melting pot. America is a racist country where one only has to look as far as the recent rabidly and baldly, bold-face racist health care debates to see what is driving the divide. It's been just beneath the surface and it's merely using one boil to purge the ugliness, dumping it into the wider society for lack of better exit location. I mean really? Black people in America are at the very bottom of the life expectancy scale, Black babies die more frequently, birth rates and complications abound, and America is still the only 'developed' nation without some kind of widespread public health care system. In some parts of America, it's worse than the Third World hospital that I had my baby in three years ago, delivered by experienced professionals for FREE. In America, the issue about everyone having access to health care is being reduced to race, because the system has so utterly failed the Black community, and being accountable as a nation for itself regardless of race or economic station is still impossible for the BRAIN-WASHED GOP supporters to fathom, despite electing Obama. But they're not the only ones... you are all suffering from a media-created and supported divide that does not exist in nature, only in society's self-important artifice. This woman writing this article is a nitwit... and her husband is equally nitwitted. Yet, she is indicative of a lot of middle-class white people who don't even want to discuss race, because they don't want to be accused of prejudice or bigotry, one they really dip below the surface language of 'tolerance' and 'diversity'. I say, just because you're willing to date outside your ethnic group, does not one iota immunise you from your socialisation and cultural biases. In fact, if you are this site and 'dating outside of colour lines', if you are looking for a 'serious relationship' then you better think about the babies you produce. This is the problem I have when you date because of stereotyping. Whether you admit or face it, if you do not consider anything beyond the 'exotic' or your shallow interpretation of 'inter-racial' and all it means for you and your life, then really, keep it zipped up and your panties on. Where I come from, even though many people look like me, all golden and clearly mixed ethnicities, we have definite cultural lines, but we don't experience race the way you do. In Trinidad, politicians try to make it about race for their advantage, but only the very ignorant (small in number) buy into it. The MASS of the population is cosmopolitan, multi-ethnic, multi-cultrural, cross-religion and everyone plays Mas for Carnival. We have ONE definitive cultural expression shared across the country that defies definitions of race, class, sexuality, socialisation. It is called CARNIVAL! MAS! Not saying there aren't problems, but America could learn a lesson or two about cooking in that melting pot from Trinidad, and public health care from Barbados.

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  6.   85kguy says:
    Posted: 01 Sep 09

    1) Many native americans assimilated. When they had children their appearance was recessive. They became just like the euro colonists. 2) They had no resistance to euro diseases. Many died from simple diseases that euros brought and had resistance to. 3) Slavery did involve native americans at first. But the cash crops needed more tending on a greater scale than their dwindling diseased numbers could provide. 4) The colonial powers used them as allies in military campaigns against other colonial powers. One great chief named Pontiac organized a council of tribal leaders and almost won with the help of the French over all the other colonial powers. His tribal collective system is the basis of our system of national government. 5) Assimilation ease in appearance of descendants of native american slaves would have lead to trouble keeping the rest in slavery.

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  7.   Austrian says:
    Posted: 14 Aug 09

    There are many reasons why people from all over the world decided to emigrate to North America. Hunger, oppression, religious motives, all kinds of needs made early settlers leave their home lands and families and made them decide to settle in a completely new environment. Along came opportunists and criminals, who had a fresh start to carry out their vicious, selfish plans and had good grounds for dirty business. The native Indian tribes were pushed aside - why weren't they made slaves - by the way? - as slaves were needed. Slaves, who were shipped from the African West Coast, were not only picked by the White Man but many of the healthiest, strongest were captured by African Tribal Chiefs, who received material value in return. Native languages, customs, heritage. religious beliefs had been lost for many of the former described people, regardless of back ground. And all this happened 'JUST YESTERDAY'. Since then, especially since World War II, more 'foreigners' have tried to emigrate. Looking at this scenario, problems among ethnic groups in the U.S. is logical. When last visiting the U.S., I was astonished at the amount of churches in communities, compared to Europe. It would be wonderful, if these churches, all under one god, would bring people together. It will take time, and I understand the impatience of many. It is great to experience the many warm hearted people on these blogs, who contribute to a better understanding. Thank you and have a fulfilling week end!

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  8.   Ichibod says:
    Posted: 14 Aug 09

    We all makes choices rules by fear. At times we don't know the difference and because other people circumstances aren't our own, it's easy to pass judgement on them.

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  9.   Faraji says:
    Posted: 11 Aug 09

    Friendship, trust and love, the ingredients of any and all relationships. We bring whom we are to our present and attract the same. If you value yourself, you will value others. Namaste Faraji (One who is open, from the Sufi Poet, Rumi)

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  10.   fkoi says:
    Posted: 10 Aug 09

    First of all I want to say that I love the line Renee24 wrote above, "his wife needs to make a landing." That describes a number of people I have known and I will keep that line in mind. As far as the melting pot, I think there has always been a look toward homogeneity in this country. Things just hasn't worked out that well in that direction. The US of A has developed as a stew rather than a melting pot. Like it or not, there are a wide variety of cultures that have put an indelible stamp on our culture. Reactionary forces try to stem that tide from time to time and as ugly as that gets, it doesn't really have the desired effect. For example, go to a blues festival and see the face of the audience that keeps that American art form alive. If the forces of homogeneity had won out, the blues would have died out long ago. More currently, hip-hop would have faced that same death. Words, ideas and cultural phenomenons continue to make their way into the dominant white, male, heterosexual European culture that upon which this country began. With any luck, this country will continue adopting and developing. The growing pains have been fierce but so far have been worthwhile.

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  11.   renee24 says:
    Posted: 06 Aug 09

    This is just to much, listen to what this women said' When I was pregnant, the thought of having an exotic looking child based on our combined genetics Joses inky black hair, dark eyes, and round face coupled with my waspy, delicate looks and tiny build hadnt really occurred to me. When my short, funny husband won me over, the only real consideration I gave to our genetic future was: If its a boy, he wont get on any basketball team. Frankly, I didnt want her to lose any of the privileges of being white. I didnt want prejudice or any extra hardship or confusion like my husband still feels. I just wanted the eyelashes, and cheekbones, and that lyrical Spanish when appropriate. I wanted the good stuff, and from both sides. If Latinos ruled the world, maybe Id push things to go the other way This women goes on and on and yes it gets worse you gotta read it. As a parents we want the best for our children but damn she is confused and very ignorant. Both parents are making choices ruled by fear that neither them or their child will be accepted. The father has issue's from the past that he needs to confront and his wife needs to make a landing.

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