Friday, June 23, 2017

Melting Pot

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 - RamanaMaria, Pravin and Ashok.


  1. I can understand your angst if I may call that. My take on the subject covers more or less a similar situation in India without mentioning the problem of the Muslims in India. They have more problems than the Muslims of the USA because of our problems in Kashmir and a meddlesome and hostile neighbour, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The 80 odd percent of what are called Hindus in India however are diverse in language, dress and cultures. What however binds them is what we call the Sacred Geography of India which is its eclectic belief system from North to South and East to West. Without this, we would also be facing more serious problems than we do now. I shall send an interesting article on an allied subject in a PDF format to you by email anon.

  2. I think it's nothing short of criminal that dissension has been fostered by our nation's leaders when unity of the world's people is needed to resolve earth's problems peacefully instead of by war. Religious differences with some nationalities seem to create a lot of problems with one group trying to force their beliefs on another. I experience more acceptance for the large variety of nationalities (Mexicans, various Latinos, Asians becoming more prevalent as are Muslims, others) here in Southern California over these past forty years than what may be present in some other States where I've lived. I like to believe the majority of the people in this country who embrace traditional unifying values will eventually prevail -- the sooner, the better. There's more than one way to take over a nation so we'll have to see what happens in the U.S. and if awareness of this potential is a fear motivating actions of some.