Juan Battle and Antonio Pastrana, Jr.
cultural diversity, globalization
Mainly used as a metaphor to evoke the experiences of assimilation for immigrants in the United States, the melting pot is a term that has been used by scholars in the field of race/ethnicity, immigration, and inequality. One strand of this concept rests on the belief that immigrant groups eventually shed beliefs, linguistic styles, and other cultural practices from their country of origin and meld with other people in order to form a new US-based culture. However, another strand says that a melting of previous identities occurs but that what is newly created is a reflection of the dominant culture that exists in the US. The melting pot encompasses both of these ideas and has contributed to the growing literature on assimilation. More broadly, this term has been used to identify areas of settlement where many different immigrant groups live in close proximity to one another. Still, the melting pot is usually used to reference immigrant settlement processes in the US, especially about the experiences of those in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Other metaphors used to describe similar assimilation processes include mosaic and salad bowl . Similar to the mythologized rags-to-riches stories of Horatio Alger, the melting pot leaves individual- and group-level dynamics untouched, further perpetuating the status quo and leaving inequality unquestioned. Critics of ... log in or subscribe to read full text
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