Multiculturalism In America: Hindrance Or Advantage

1935 words - 8 pages

Students attending American schools are taught clearly about the United States’ image as a melting pot; however, there is evidence to support that, while there is not an official federal stance on the matter (Sengupta), the amount of assimilation required to be legitimately considered a “melting pot” is not being reached. Although similar, there is often confusion about the differences between “multicultural” and “assimilated” communities. By definition, assimilation is the complete “merging of cultural traits from previously distinct culture groups” (Dictionary), while multiculturalism is delineated as the “preservation of different cultures or cultural identities within a unified society, as a state or nation” (Dictionary). Early to mid-1900’s America entertained the idea of a melting pot, where people from all parts of the world would join together and assimilate. It seems, however, that the growing trend has been to treat America as more of a “salad bowl” (Porter), in that people are joining together but instead of merging as one unit, are maintaining a majority, if not all, of their primary culture with little attempt to adapt. This underachievement has left America to unintentionally become a multicultural society. The clear differentiation between expectation and reality brings vast amounts of controversy among the nation’s people.
The Puritans established America in their attempt to escape oppression for their religious beliefs, ironically driving out indigenous inhabitants because of their alternative beliefs and traditions. For quite a long period of time, it seemed as if the “Land of the Free” was promoting the opposite of freedom, through child labor, prohibition, sexism, and slavery. Between the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act though, the country attempted to “rectify the wrongs”, so to speak. Because of this turning point, in general, women and minorities have access to equal pay and advancement in the workplace, available schooling, equal voting rights for all legal citizens 18 and older, and an overall better quality of life. The Civil Rights Act had legally divided up citizens into five groups: African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics, Asians/Pacific Islander, and Whites (Porter). Although only intended to only be temporary for purposes of stating the laws (Porter), this division of racial groups seems to remain, even to this day. America was and is viewed as the “Land of the Free”, yet there are quite a number of people who argue that their freedom, at least in the case of culture, has limitations; while others argue that America provides protection of a vast majority of freedoms, but at the cost of a unified nation.
By the end of 2012, white non-hispanics made up 62% of the American population; meaning that during that year, the non-white population grew by 1.9% to 116 million (Teixteira). The growth in minorities brings with it a slew of controversies surrounding the level in which these groups are...

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