They call America “The Melting Pot,” one full of a variety of races, ethnicities, cultures and beliefs. I hold deep respect for the idea of a melting pot country, mixed with all the uniqueness and individuality, However, I have come to view it as a soup. We tend stick to the recipe, and choose certain ingredients, in the same way we hold expectations and views for others. We have this “ideal” person that everyone is supposed to strive to be, rather than just being themselves. We tend to spend our lives judging one another. But who are we to judge? We reprimand the injustices and brash actions from the past when we shouldn’t look far beyond within our own society today. Even in 2017, many people still hold prejudices, racism, and a lack of acceptance for anyone different than ourselves. It saddens me to see The United States called “The Melting Pot” become a country that values conformity.
The idea of the melting pot began when Ellis Island opened on the first day of 1982, allowing immigrants the opportunity to start a new life. Immigrants flooded into the port from all walks of life, coming from countries all over the world. Many different countries in Europe sent their citizens by the boatload, many of them seeking a better life in America. Even then, communities segregated themselves into neighborhoods or roads, especially in New York.Little Italy, Chinatown, and many more ethnic communities were created, some of which still thrive today. This idea in itself poses the question: is America truly a melting pot?
As shown in the past decade, racism still emboldens others to commit hateful crimes against African Americans, Latinos, and other prevalent minority groups in the U.S. I question the idea that people are genuinely tolerant of other races and ethnicities, and this saddens me, due to all of the resources people have to learn about other cultures and find common ground with others from different backgrounds. I respect that people hold their values and morals deep within their core, but it baffles me that people still believe in primitive ways of thinking, and do not attempt to have an open mindset.
It is true that there are 350 different languages spoken in the United States, according to the U.S. Census. The Census also states that 150 of those languages are indigenous to the U.S., spoken by Native Americans. Instead of ignoring this important fact, we should embrace one another’s unique cultures, and be proud of our identities. The way that we can create a tolerant, accepting society is by educating others and keeping an open mindset about those who may be different than ourselves.
We do not need to let the stereotypes define us. Whether you are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, part of the LGBTQ community, Hispanic, African American, or part of the disabled community, we cannot let others’ perspectives define who we are. Only we have the power to create the Melting Pot that America should be.