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America's Salad Essay

890 words - 4 pages

America today is more accurately portrayed with a salad bowl metaphor than a melting pot. The melting pot metaphor implies that all the ingredients are combined and create a homogenous mixture (the same everywhere); the salad bowl illustrates that while we all contribute to the flavor each ingredient is still its own. As Joel Swerdlow illustrated in his article “Changing America”, “10 percent of America’s 281 million residents were born in other countries, the largest percent in U.S. history”(Swerdlow). I believe the large number of immigrants coming to America directly shows that people around the world want the freedoms that America has to offer. However, they are able to maintain their individual identity throughout their pursuit for that freedom. Being an “American” means you have the freedom to choose your own life. Being an “American” is about embracing the diversity of all cultures while feeling that they all belong to the same nation.
When an immigrant becomes an American, they do not lose who they were before. An immigrant by all definition is someone born in another place who chooses to change their life; it does not erase every experience and belief the person previously held. Immigrants bring new ideas, beliefs, and traditions to America and improve on our society. They now have all the experiences and memories of their old lives, but become part of the larger picture and contribute to America by bringing in more diversity. One such aspect is that of carrying on the traditions and culture from their home land. For example, Hispanics here in New Mexico warn their children to behave by telling them the story of La Llorona, instead of the Boogie Man or another more traditional American folktale. Another way immigrants resemble the salad bowl metaphor is in retaining their first language. To become an American citizen, all immigrants must have a basic knowledge of the English language. Some resist totally assimilating and melting into American society and so they continue to speak their natural language at home with family. Some immigrants choose not to learn English or to allow their children to speak it.
Public high school and the American school system can be difficult for students who do not speak English. As Swerdlow illustrated instead of looking like a high school, the class where students where learning English as their second language more closely resembled a preschool. Everything had an English label on it to help the students identify things (Swerdlow). I can imagine that being in high school where you do not understand much of what is spoken is difficult. My high school experience was nothing...

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