The American Melting Pot and Racism

Article:

http://khon2.com/2014/10/24/tour-guide-apologizes-for-racist-rant-on-ride-through-san-francisco/

In Schoolhouse Rock: “The American Melting Pot”, the idea of America is that anyone from anywhere can fit in because everyone is welcoming. You can be whatever you are and America at the same time, meaning that you can preserve a part of your own culture. However, a recent incident in San Francisco completely defies the idea of America being welcoming and accepting of other races and cultures.

This incident is about a tour guide who makes a racist rant about Chinatown while on tour with a group of English speaking tourists. In her defense, her rant was supposed to be satirical. The tour guide replied to the news reporter, “My intention was to talk about the neighborhood and not to address the people in any way that would incite harm against them”. It would have been understandable if her purpose was actually to entertain her tourist and tell them about Chinatown. The woman is just doing her job. Of all things she could have addressed about Chinatown (history, architecture, stores, etc.), she chose its people. She proceeded to say, “When you come to America you gotta assimilate a little bit, and here in America, we don’t eat turtles and frogs”. That is when it became offensive. Whether that statement is stereotypical or factual, it counts as a part of Chinese culture because food itself is always a part of any culture. Although assimilation is a part of fitting into the melting pot, no group should be judged by the preservation of their own culture or by their ability/inability to adjust to America. Even the tour guide herself admitted that it was a “personal jab” at Chinese people.

The saddest part about this video is not the fact that she humiliated an entire culture and race. The worst part is that she was applauded for it. As a tour guide, is it not her job to make a place seem appealing? In what way does her rant make Chinatown appealing? Does it make America welcoming in any way? Imagine yourself on this tour, what would your reaction be? Is racism ever justified?

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One thought on “The American Melting Pot and Racism

  1. I found what you had to say about this topic very interesting. Examples like the one you tied into your idea happen every day; however, I believe that racism is never acceptable, especially in places of work. I can honestly say that I hear at least once racist remark a day; an example that I think everyone has heard is that black people are better at sports because of a genetic advantage and that their athleticism ands strength is the only thing that gets them into college. As I said, I am completely against racism, but at the same time I think it is hard for someone to not have thoughts because we have been taught so many “We vs. They” situations in our life that we are used to seeing it that way. That being said, I think America is on the path of becoming a “Melting Pot;” but like a lot of things in life, perfection seems unattainable because everyone thinks differently.

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