America: Melting Pot or Salad Bowl?

In class we had discussed the United States being a Melting Pot. It is a metaphor for a heterogeneous society becoming more homogeneous. Describing all the different “elements” or cultures mixing into one common culture. The term “melting pot” is used to refer to the blending of nationalities, cultures, and ethnicities.

However there is debate whether America is a melting pot or a salad bowl. The salad bowl means that the components of religious, racial, and cultural heritage remain intact. We have started using distinctions such as Indian-American, African-American, Irish-American, Mexican-American, etc. Mirroring the way that all the components of a salad are intact, there are distinct vegetables but they all work together. The take away argument from the video is that America is not a salad bowl and is a melting pot, because for national unity there needs to be a unifying culture. The speaker makes a valid point, in that the nation would never be able to get anything done if everyone were to segregate himself or herself.

So I pose the question: Which metaphor applies more or is there another possible metaphor that could signify America?


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