Have you ever heard of the phrase “the melting pot” to describe the effects of the American immigration system?
Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, the United States of America became known worldwide as the great melting pot. Immigrants came to this country with the idea in their hearts and minds that they could become Americans no matter their origins.
Symbols like the Statue of Liberty represent this idea, but nothing quite sums up what it means to be an American like the concept of a “melting pot” of cultures, mixing, merging, and becoming stronger than each individual one. It’s a celebrated part of the American national identity and a reason why the United States is one of the most attractive countries for immigrants and refugees around the world.
But what IS the melting pot? And how did the phrase fall into common usage?
What is the Melting Pot?
The melting pot is at the heart of the American immigration system. The melting pot comes from the idea that all of the cultural differences in the United States meld together, as if they were metals being melted down to become a stronger alloy.
Rather than embracing multiculturalism, as is the policy in Canada and some other countries, the United States encourages different cultures to assimilate into its own. In fact, this philosophy demonstrates how American culture got its start.
As immigrants came from all over the world to the United States, they brought pieces of their own culture with them. Their music, food, fashion, religion, and much more slowly became part of America’s culture.
For example, pizza came from Italy, but it’s hard to think of anything more American than a slice of New York pizza. Rock & Roll, Blues, and Jazz all came from the African American musical tradition, but they are thought of as American today.
Where Did the Phrase Come From?
The phrase “melting pot” has been used since the 1780s, but entered into common usage because of a celebrated Broadway play.
“The Melting Pot,” written by Israel Zangwill in 1904, was about a Russian Jewish refugee immigrating to the U.S. to escape ethnic cleansing in his homeland. Here he finds love, acceptance, and belonging, as the differences between ethnicity “melted away” due to cultural exchange becoming the norm.
The play was a massive hit, and even received the praise of then-President Theodore Roosevelt. The idea of the “melting pot” was embraced and soon became a central part of the United States of America’s cultural identity.
What Does the Melting Pot Mean Today?
Today, immigration to the United States is considerably more complicated than it was over a hundred years ago, but the philosophy is still the same.
This country welcomes people from all over the world and encourages them to integrate themselves into American society. The only problem is that American society is more complicated than ever!
When an immigrant moves here, they will need to learn about all of America’s societal, economic, and cultural norms. For example, if their understanding of English is limited, they’re encouraged to take an English as a Second Language class (ESL) to better communicate with other Americans. That’s the reason why Golden Beacon USA exists. We want to help immigrants and refugees learn about the United States so they can succeed here.
We know how scary it can be to move to a new country, which is why we offer resources like career coaching, workshops, resource referrals, and much more. We will be with you every step of the way on your journey to becoming an American!
If you’re looking for more information about how Golden Beacon USA can help, we invite you to contact us. With our extensive educational videos and other services, we can help make the transition to your new home an easy one! Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call or text (866) 403-7173. We can’t wait to help you begin your journey!