While getting a new driver’s license today, the very kind Indian-American lady who took my photo and processed my new license had a very interesting response to my humorous reply to the question on one of the processing screens that asked what my race was.
I made the correct response on the touchscreen, but I remarked out loud that I started to just say “human” rather than select African-American.
After sharing a chuckle in mutual agreement, the MVA (Maryland’s Motor Vehicle Administration) lady said that our country is a salad bowl made up of different colors that all make for a great whole.
As impressed as was at the MVA lady’s astute retort and pithy logic, it was not the first time I heard anyone use the analogy of our country being a salad bowl and not a “melting pot”.
Renown anti-racism activist Jane Elliott (she of the famed “Brown Eye/Blue Eye Experiment) used the very same analogy on the “Oprah Winfrey Show” in the 1990s.
To paraphrase Ms. Elliott, the point of her analogy is that a “melting pot” implies complete assimilation into a common, generic, culture that doesn’t appear to threaten the norms of the social majority. If you immigrate here, you should eschew your ethnicity and the culture of your country of origin and be completely “American”. Conversely, a salad bowl is a synergistic mix that is not dichotomous (either-or) but rather diunital (both-and). One can be a great American while acknowledging their cultural and ethnic heritage. Assimilation does not require erasure of the cultural identity of your country of origin whether you’ve been in the United States for a generation or ten generations.
The notion of the United States being a melting pot has always been a myth. The US is the only country on earth where you can eat Chinese food today, Italian food tomorrow, and Mexican food the next day and never leave your house, much less your neighborhood or country.
Ms. Elliott’s poignant analogy highlights that a healthy salad is made with more than just one ingredient. The red peppers, green peppers, onions, kale, carrots, etc. are all made up of different colors with different nutrient values that make for a healthier whole when brought together.
This nation didn’t just become more multicultural in the last few decades. It’s ALWAYS been multicultural. What makes the USA unique is its unique blend of diversity which created a culture we have managed to export to the rest of the world.
The white supremacists and their demagoguery will never succeed because they have a vision of this country that has never existed and now can never exist. The genie has been out of the bottle for 243 years and this country’s history could not be written without its multicultural foundation.
-The Rational Ram
2 thoughts on “The U.S.A is a Salad, Not a Melting Pot”
The true demo gags like AOC are taking advantage of our young millennials sense of entitlement any ruining the current melting pot / salad bowl / taco salad / yogurt parfait…however you would look at it, that exist. White supremacy has always existed and “The Squad” is not poised to represent all of the minority….only their political agendas. America is fine the way it is!
This really isn’t about politics and the way both sides of the ideological aisle exploit political divisions. AOC and “the squad” do not represent “all minorities” despite any implications on their part or the media’s. Any perceptions that people have of them that say they represent all minorities is equally misplaced logic that fuels our idiotic political bifurcation in this country.
That said, young millennials are at the age where they now have political and cultural influence. Times can and always do change and usually for the better.
Can you honestly say things are worse now for anyone in this country, regardless of skin color or ethnicity, than they were in the 50s, 60s, 70s, or anytime in-between?
Sure, America is fine the way it is. I totally agree. However, if that were true for everyone, why is “make America great again” even a thing?
It seems that AOC and “the squad” are a threat by virtue of their very existence rather than by anything they’ve actually done, aside from being elected to Congress. I think that some people in this country are more offended by the political and socioeconomic gains that people like AOC represent than they are about anything she says or does. People tend to oppose anything that changes the makeup of the aesthetic power structure in this country even if they are not part of that aesthetic themselves.
By they way, politicians always represent their political agendas. AOC and President Trump included.