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We Must Keep Our Own Identity

1172 words - 5 pages

This world contains a various array of people. People with different ways of living, different traditions, and different languages. Many of these people come together in America and with them they bring their cultures and the traditions that help to shape their identity. In this melting pot we call America should these people be expected to conform and assimilate or can we continue to live in a multicultural society? Should they have to leave their culture behind or preserve it so it can be passed down to children and grandchildren?

Many people in America belong to more than one nationality and the traditions of ones nationality can give a lot to ones culture. The main idea is to preserve these traditions. Itís sad to know that many have little or no idea of the traditions that their cultures entail. This was apparent in the writings about culture students in the class wrote. One student wrote about how he would go to church with his family but he would have no idea what was being said because it was in a different language. At least the tradition of his family going to church was being preserved. Many others had a hard time remembering any traditions that were withheld in their family. I know that in my own family traditions have slowly faded with time. I can remember when the family would gather around the table and right after we sang the English version of happy birthday we would sing the Polish version. That tradition is gone now; I'm not sure why we stopped. I was the only child who knew the words and my family didnít tell them to me, I learned them from my friend. America puts out the idea that we should let our identities melt away and assimilate into one culture. It is forgotten that people's different cultures are what makes America great and helps to shape our identity as a whole. We have to learn not to be afraid to open up and experience different cultures. Author Ronald Takaki uses a very good quote to describe this " Whatever happens, we can be certain that much of societies future will be influenced by which "mirror" we choose to see ourselves in" (596). This means that society doesn't have to assimilate because we all have a common past and we can live in a multicultural society. A society like that isn't afraid of difference and one that embraces different cultural traditions.

With the talk of culture and tradition comes the fact that America is made up of different languages. The major language is English and many Americans believe that if you live in America you should speak English. But put yourself in someone else's shoes, say you lived in Germany and were fluent in the language but your main language was English. Along came a person who also spoke English. Which one would you choose English or German? Probably English because it is your first language and it is easiest to speak. I work at a dry cleaners that is Korean owned. I'm the only employee besides the Korean lady and her husband. I can't...

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