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America - the Melting Pot - Multiculturalism

Essay by   •  December 25, 2010  •  Essay  •  524 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,001 Views

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America has long been called "The Melting Pot" due to the fact that it is made up of a varied mix of races, cultures, and ethnicities. As more and more immigrants come to America searching for a better life, the population naturally becomes more diverse.

This has, in turn, spun a great debate over multiculturalism. Some of the issues under fire are who is benefiting from the education, and how to present the material in a way so as to offend the least amount of people. In the 1930's several educators called for programs of cultural diversity that encouraged ethnic and minority students to study their respective heritages. This is not a simple feat due to the fact that there is much diversity within individual cultures. A look at a 1990 census shows that the American population has changed more noticeably in the last ten years than in any other time in the twentieth century, with one out of every four Americans identifying themselves as black, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander, or American Indian. The number of foreign born residents

also reached an all time high of twenty million, easily passing the 1980 record of fourteen million. Ninety percent of our states are now multi-identity states and most are having difficulty dealing positively with such diversity. Most people, from educators to philosophers, agree that an important first step in successfully joining multiple cultures is to develop an understanding of each others background. However, the similarities stop there. One problem is in defining the term "multiculturalism". When it is looked at simply as meaning the existence of a culturally integrated society, many people have no problems. However, when you go beyond that and try to suggest a different way of arriving at that culturally integrated society, everyone seems to have a different opinion on what will work. Conflicts of an ethnic, religious, political and cultural nature continue to dominate the world's attention and there is little evidence that such conflicts will decrease significantly over the coming decades. Respect for cultural diversity must be firmly anchored on a sense of belonging to a particular group, of knowing and appreciating one's own people and culture with its own wealth and diversity, of feeling secure in the knowledge that the culture is not inferior to others. Multiculturalism can only be aided by transformation. This can only work if there are enough opportunities

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