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America: The Melting Pot

Posted by elvis 10 (My Page) on
Wed, Apr 24, 13 at 22:02

Rob brought up this term on another thread, so I looked into it and found this essay. M. Coogan wrote: "Melting Pot. Where did it come from? What exactly was melting in the pot? Who peeked under the lid and was drawn to make the comparison? A butcher, a baker or perhaps a candlestick maker? The phrase was coined in the eighteenth century in the book Letters From an American Farmer. The author, a Frenchman named Crevecoeur, living in America, married to an American woman, believed that Americans constituted a new race of people. His conviction is demonstrated by his reference to himself as an American farmer, not French."

An interesting perspective, IMO. Much more at the link:


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: America: The Melting Pot

Much more at the link:

If there were a working link, that is.


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RE: America: The Melting Pot

Thanks for the heads up, Nancy. This is what happens when Mom calls; too many things at once ;-)

Here is a link that might be useful: Melting Pot Essay


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RE: America: The Melting Pot

So do you find it a good thing or a bad thing to be the melting pot of the world? I love it when people come here from other lands and keep their identity. I am in agreement with almost all of what Ms. Coogan says. In America individuals can be themselves yet still be American. We are bonded by our differences and that is what makes us strong. Not just when the heat is on, but at all times. It is our essence. Sure, we squabble, but don't all families do that? I love that about us. I just don't think it can be found other places. I work and interact with so many different cultures in my community, and I can see it's not as deeply understood on a personal level for them, not in the way we feel it. They do have love of country and a respect for fellow Europeans, for instance, but it does not seem to be a bond. More like Americans might think of Mexicans. If something bad befalls them, there is a full human compassion, but not a bond. I could be wrong in my observation, but it's what I've felt over the last decade, watching these folks and listening to them.


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RE: America: The Melting Pot

Interesting essay.

I would somewhat agree with the premise, the implication of the term "melting pot" is inaccurate in describing ethnic and cultural reality in America/Canada. As I see it, in any case.

It is certainly true, the "irish" of NYC are different from the Irish of Ireland. But then the latter are not exactly monolithic, for example the major split between descendants of the English and Scottish settlers and the more original Celtic residents.

Ironically, we are far more "american" now than at the time the term was coined. Yet still the cultural separations are quite distinct. Most self-identify, even if they are not aware that by default they self-identity into what is considered mainstream, or "majority". When we examine that group it quickly fractures into a lot of sub-groups with rather different backgrounds. Being raised in the more recently irish culture of NYC or south boston is a lot different from being raised in the south, say, with "scots-irish" ancestry. Descendants of the germanic settlers of the mid-atlantic and the upper South from the 18thC are different from those of more recent germanic immigrants who may have pushed more westward.

Not to mention the dense variety of those who do not identify into seemingly majority groups. I would say there is a minority of individuals who could fairly be deemed examples of coming from a "melting pot", while the majority are more properly considered members of very durable sub-sets.


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RE: America: The Melting Pot

I prefer the big chef salad metaphor--each item retains its separate identity, but mixed all together with a nice dressing of patriotism lightly coating everything, it makes a good healthy dish!

Kate


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RE: America: The Melting Pot

A History of US Nativism might be useful. The continued insistence that some don't ad a nice flavor to the stew!
See Chinese exclusion laws, The Know Nothings, Order of the Star Spangled Banner. grew from a few dozens to possibly a Million. one pledge
"vote for no one except native-born Protestants for public office”


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RE: America: The Melting Pot

A History of US Nativism might be useful.

Oh yes!

Successive waves of immigrants (over 200+ years) have not been welcomed with open arms even as the newcomers were being exploited for their labor.


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RE: America: The Melting Pot

Just want to add that I have read that some Europeans ( and other ethnicities) may not be "Pure" at all. That explains the inconsistencies in describing some European races. My origins are Hungarian and Slovak. Some of these 2 ethnicities are blonde and pale and some are dark haired and well, not pale. Some have big honkers, some small pug noses, etc. I think we have been mixing some all along, but not admitting it until some went to America. Sorry if this is too far off the subject.


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RE: America: The Melting Pot

From the article:

On September 11, 2001, American families with origins from Sydney to Sao Paolo joined hands, folded hands or raised hands in prayerful supplication.
Just as heat is needed to change solid to liquid, we individuals often need some cosmic chemistry to light the fire of unity under us. Under external stress our differences are minimized and our common essence is defined.

I believe that Mitt more accurately described the differences among people in our country when he spoke in a derogatory fashion about the 47%.

This post was edited by heri_cles on Sun, Apr 28, 13 at 1:56


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RE: America: The Melting Pot

Maybe a melting pot at one time...more like a crucible today.

-Ron-


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RE: America: The Melting Pot

The primary melting that has occurred in the US, and Canada, is that the majority of immigrants who are/were not english-speakers, become so, and their children are native-spreakers. With the exception of large regions in Canada where it is possible to be a mono-lingual French-speaker and respectively in the US as a Spanish-speaker, but overall the marker of mixing is taking on the dominant language/culture.

This can be contrasted to regions of Europe where most immigrants originated in the past, or Africa, where black slaves originated, where a very small change geographically often entailed change to different dialect/language and consequent different culture. The regions we now know as Germany, Italy, France and Spain for example have within their borders historically distinct languages and dialects, still with bodies of native-speakers, regardless of the national mainstream dialect. As does the homeland of our dominant language and dialect.

I believe this is a fairly consistent phenomenon of former Colonial empires, that the Colonial regions have far less linguistic variation than the original colonizing region, and hence, at least apparently, less cultural variation.


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RE: America: The Melting Pot

I believe this is a fairly consistent phenomenon of former Colonial empires, that the Colonial regions have far less linguistic variation than the original colonizing region, and hence, at least apparently, less cultural variation.

Not following, Pat.


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RE: America: The Melting Pot

Dave, I'm re-iterating that America along with other Colonies in the new world, have today much less linguistic variation than the regions from where the dominant founding culture originated.


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RE: America: The Melting Pot

While I think America is still a "melting pot" in many ways, it's also become quite the vessel of separation, where differences are noted and railed against for various reasons... egged on by various organizations who will benefit from such division.

In a dairy, the cream always rises to the top... but in a rendering plant, it's the grease...

Good description, Ron... crucible. (I believe one of our armed forces uses that word in its ad)


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