Is assimilation real and is it a good idea? How can we promote both assimilation and the idea of the melting pot?
Assimilation is the integration of immigrants into the values, religions, and cultures. It is important for new immigrants to assimilate and become more American as it is a sign of more enlightened progress and adjustment in the society. Assimilation takes place over time and as immigrants stay longer in America, they become more and more integrated. Assimilation is optional and immigrants only get to change certain aspects of their lives. It is therefore not wrong as every person has a right to change their cultures and values. It would also be advisable to change values to those that are more advanced if it implies more self-development and economic growth (Hamid, 2011).
However, immigrants are resistant to the idea of assimilation in theory. They do not want to accept that they have let go of their values and cultures to adopt that of America. While this may be alright, the people should be receptive to ideas that are good for them. The idea of the melting pot does not merely oppose the adoption of new cultures. It promotes the merging of cultures to come up with one superior culture that is acceptable by all within a society. In this case, the members of a society must be ready to let go of primitive cultural values for more developmental ones (Myers & Pitkin, 2010).
The idea of the melting pot as a means to peace and fighting ethnicity
The idea of the melting pot merges the cultures of all members in a society. It comes up with a culture that is acceptable by all. Since it is accepted, the members in that society get a sense of belonging and so the culture ceases to divide the members but to bring them closer to each other (Booth, 1998, p. xx).
Scapegoating is mainly brought about by ignorance. If there is education on the importance of diversity, this may reduce the level of scapegoating. Involvement of immigrants in activities that are performed by other Americans may also open the eyes of the people to the good side of other cultures. This may include or even lead to adopting certain aspects of their cultures (“Preventing Scapegoating”, n.d.).
Examples of groups whose practices or values are used to justify their lack of moving up the economic ladder. Is this really fair?
Muslims have always had a hard time assimilating. This is especially due to their strict religious values and the level of ethnicity they experience especially in America. They have, for example, values that prohibit Muslims from investing in certain ways. They also discourage banking with institutions that give interest on the amount earned. This has caused for repulsion towards working with Muslims.
Muslims are also scapegoated with terrorism. This leads to tension whenever dealing with Muslims. This tension may prevent Muslims from being as effective in their endeavors as they would love to. At one point in the history of America, Indians were scapegoated when there was not enough land especially in those days when land was distributed in terms of ‘headrights’. A policy was adopted that required them to be removed to less fertile land so that the land they were occupying would be allocated to others who would use it for farming (Hing 1993).
It is not fair to have such things
taking place in any society. This is because they prevent the people from
fitting in the society and thus prevent them from engaging in long-term
activities. It also promotes ethnic hatred.
Preventing Scapegoating. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://archive.adl.org/issue_education/scapegoating.html
Hing, B. O. (1993). Beyond the Rhetoric of Assimilation and Cultural Pluralism: Addressing the Tension of Separatism and Conflict in an Immigration-Driven Multiracial Society. California Law Review, 863-925.
Booth, W. (1998, February 22). washingtonpost.com: Myth of the Melting Pot: America’s Racial and Ethnic Divides. Retrieved June 4, 2014, from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/longterm/meltingpot/melt0222.htm
Myers, D., & Pitkin, J. (2010, September 1). Assimilation Today | Center for American Progress. Retrieved June 4, 2014, from http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/immigration/report/2010/09/01/8385/assimilation-today/
Hamid, S. (2011, August 18). The Major Roadblock to Muslim Assimilation in Europe | Brookings Institution. Retrieved June 4, 2014, from http://www.brookings.edu/research/opinions/2011/08/18-muslim-europe-hamid
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