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America, The Melting Pot As a child I remember I was told that the United States was a mosaic of cultures

with each culture and ethnicity comes together harmoniously. However, America is now described as a melting pot where each nations culture and beliefs are combined yet lose their unique traits and characteristics in order to become compatible with everyone elses culture. In a country that has nearly 13,300,000(Department of Homeland Security) legal immigrants from nearly every country on Earth it is impossible for everyones culture to be included and represented. Many people immigrate to America thinking they bring a part of their culture with them, when in fact all they are doing is assimilating to one that already exists. A culture that is illdefined and unclear. A majority of Muslim Americans (56%) say that most Muslims coming to the U.S. today want to adopt American customs and ways of life (Pew Research). As foreigners enter America the beautiful, many come with the knowledge of American culture and life. They quickly lose their heritage and adapt American values. However, with the assimilation of one culture leads to the loss of a persons cultural identity. An identity that has built and shaped a persons heritage, family, and beliefs for years upon years. Someones native culture helps shape who they are and by adapting to another culture, they begin to lose a part of themselves. A part of their heritage they can never get back. Assimilation is not necessarily a good thing; an important aspect of the American culture has to do with making money and the American dream. An idea instilled in children from a young age. However the American Dream cannot be reached by all. It is difficult for immigrants who have education from foreign schools, if they were lucky enough to receive formal education, to have their degrees recognized in the states and to find well-paying jobs. Leaving their children as well as themselves at a disadvantage. Rather than

feeling pride at what they were able to do with the little they had, they are ashamed and embarrassed because they were not able to accomplish success by the American standard. Though we claim that our culture welcomes all, we are still the only country that classifies things as Un-American. A term that should have no meaning if the melting pot that we claim as our culture actually exists. America is known as the land of opportunity and freedom. A country based off of equality for all, however America has always had a history of ostracizing and of discrimination. Whether it be the Irish or African-Americans. Today, these biases towards immigrants still exist. However it has now shifted towards, Muslims and Hispanics (Pew Research). What was the land of opportunity has become a land of hate and discrimination. Many citizens of America believe immigrants are taking all of the jobs that should be reserved for Americans. Leaving immigrants feeling as though they should not have the same opportunities as those that have been in this nation the longest. Leading immigrants to do everything in their power to make sure their children are not treated the same way; making immigrants hope their child can be accepted and successful. The children of immigrants are affected by assimilation as well. While parents may believe the best way of action is allowing their children to become immersed in American culture, a culture I might add that is not their own, they are in fact harming them. Depriving them of their heritage and identity, stripping away some of the advantages a bi-lingual child could have. Keeping culture alive at home gives a child a sense of identity and builds up a childs selfesteem (Paula). By keeping contact with ones culture, an immigrants child is allowed to experience the best of both worlds; they are allowed to see where they came from as well as where they are currently. They are able to keep in contact with their family back home and begin to feel a sense of pride of their heritage and nationality (Paula). When parents assimilate to a

culture, their children assimilate too. Creating language barriers for the family in their native land, widening the distance between not only in miles but also in emotion. As a child I was raised in a culturally Haitian home as everyone in my family had immigrated from Haiti to America. My mother and father had lived in America for a couple of years before I was born and my grandmother immigrated here when I was 4 months old. They raised me to respect the values that were important to them growing up in Haiti. Whether it be always listening to elders, or giving someone your full attention when speaking with them. It was because I grew up in this kind of environment I knew how to speak Spanish and Creole as well as English, because it was necessary in order to talk to my grandmother and my parents. While my parents at the time had learned to speak some English while in University in Haiti they werent fluent in it and my grandmother could barely speak English. However as time went on I lost most of this culture and today can barely speak Creole or Spanish. A major reason for this is that most of the culture that existed in my household died with my grandmother. Ive been to Haiti two times in my life once from my grandmothers funeral and another time for my sister Liliannes wedding both time I felt a huge disconnect between the family I still have in Haiti and the Dominican Republic and myself. Whether it be the tradition to have a large block party before my grandmothers funeral or the weird tradition of the bride and the groom staying in different towns for a week preceding my sisters wedding. Not being able to speak to my family was only a small part of the cultural disconnect I experienced. I couldnt understand their way of life and felt like an outsider and isolated when with my family. This same feeling can be experienced by people who decide to keep their cultural identity when it isnt compatible or very different than our own melting pot culture can feel isolated as the y feel like outsiders in the country they now call their own.

Some people would argue that even though every race may not be able to identify with the culture that the melting pot produces that it still makes it easier for people to identify with people outside their culture, and it makes it easier for people from different backgrounds to find similarities. Even though this may seem positive as it allows people to relatively keep their own cultural identity and still be able to accepted into our society, it doesnt really since people who do adopt this will soon find that they will have to sacrifice their own beliefs in order to keep with Americas constantly changing culture. Ideally we would be able to truly accept people of different cultures and backgrounds as they are without requiring on them to change. A society where someone can still self-identify with their native culture while still feeling as though they are American.