Tuesday, August 10, 2010

With just a dash of multiculturalism

With English as the native language of the United States, it can be a bit frustrating to have to “press 1” to get the message in English. But the telephone example shows the ever-increasing problem that multiculturalism brings to the country.

The idealistic folks in America’s early years planned for the country to become a melting pot of cultures. Immigrants from across the world became U.S. citizens, blending all the cultures into one American culture. The assimilation helped strengthen the country as one.

Fast forward 200 years. The “American culture” seems to have a bit of an identity crises. Many U.S. immigrants come into the country with their own history, culture and set of standards, and even after years, they do not fold seamlessly into society. It seems some have not learned the value of “melting.”

Now, don’t get me wrong. I understand how important ones heritage can be and how defining it is for some. I would never suggest people forget where they came from, speak only in English, even at home, or exchange empanadas for burgers. It is a great part of who we are. But more important than where you came from is where you’re going. When deciding to come to the U.S., or to stay in the U.S., you are committing a part of yourself to your country, and with that comes its culture. To be a part of the country, to really be in the country, that requires some adaptation. And to become truly unified, Americans needs to understand and embrace that. We are one.

One example of how multiculturalism divides us is the PC terms used to describe your fellow Americans. She is African-American. He is Asian-American. And them? They are Native American. But me? I’m an American – first and foremost. Where I came from is only a part of me. Americans should celebrate their current nationality above their country of origin. Why doesn’t she instead claim to be an American, of African decent?

I love to learn about new cultures and celebrate the diversity in the world. Go ahead, speak your native tongue at home and cook traditional homeland meals. We will all benefit from the wealth of knowledge and diversity the various cultures bring America, but it can also be a divisive factor.

Therefore, the melting pot should continue to be our goal. But without a dash of multiculturalism, the resulting concoction becomes stale. It begins to lack depth of flavor. Just a little of that secret ingredient becomes key to the amazing dish.

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