This weeks topic was suggested by Ramana. Melting pots. Merriam Webster defines a melting pot as a place where a variety of races, cultures, or individuals assimilate into a cohesive whole.
That sounds great, but does it really work? For years we in the USA were cited as a shining example of a successful melting pot.
For decades ethnic peo[les flocked to America for work, landing in geographic locations that matched their existing job skills. In other words they went where they were needed, some eventually staying and some going back to their original homeland when the available jobs plateaued. Those that remained essentially assimilated into the culture here, while still maintaining their own national identities. That is why there are pockets of ethnic groups in cities all over the USA. States reflect the ethnicity of the early immigrants. And of course the American Southwest shows the Mexican influence that has existed since most of the Southwest was part of Mexico.
After several generations assimilation is complete - Italians become Italian-Americans, Poles become Polish Americans and so on. But do old ethnic rivalries remain in the new American's minds? Are new rivalries created? How are they created?
One obvious problem these days is the terrorism of radical segments of Islam. Suddenly, so-called Christians that lived in peace with Muslims suggest - in fact scream - that the Muslim faith is one of violence and hatred. And Mexicans have been vilified by POTUS 45 from his campaign and even still. Mexicans steal jobs from American workers and are responsible for the decline and fall of the once enormous middle class if one is to believe POTUS 45 and his followers.
Has the lid been put on the melting pot? Is he recipe so complete that there is no more room at the Inn? Or is this a temporary situation brought on by the current political climate?
Having spent decades in California and Texas I have known and lived/worked with many Mexicans, both legal and illegals. You would be hard pressed to find a harder working, more conservative group of people. Yet they are feared by the right wing political pundits as they are assumed to be (the legal ones anyway) left wing voters. Interesting.
The fear of Muslim immigrants is easier to understand. They are easy to identify ethnically and remember what we did to Japanese Americans in WWII. Muslim immigrants/refugees are fleeing horrible conditions and as we have seen in Europe there has been a significant amount of terrorism linked to their communities, although a concerning number of terror events are from second generation folks, so a significant percentage of Americans are for a ban on Muslim immigration even beyond the temporary ban called for by POTUS 45.
So here we are - the once great melting pot that has suddenly boiled over and has had a lid slammed on it. And what does that do to our national identity throughout the world? Is the extreme nationalism touted by Steve Bannon and POTUS 45 damaging the perception of the USA around the world? Clearly Bannon hopes so - he is after all trying to tear down the system. One can only hope cooler heads will prevail, but we are still a melting pot of sorts and hopefully that will not change. Otherwise France may want to repossess the Statue of Liberty.
Please check my cohorts on their blogs to see what they have to say - Ramana, Maria, Pravin and Ashok.