Before I begin discussing these two topics, we must fully understand what they mean. The definition in the dictionary states that, multiculturalism consists of, relates to, or is designed for the cultures of several different races. Whereas the word melting pot is not a term used in the dictionary. For the purpose of this assignment I will make up my own definition for both these terms.
Multiculturalism to me is defined as abundant amounts of cultures in one area. Or it is simply a society where many different types of people with diverse cultural backgrounds, religion, and traditional values and beliefs cohabit peacefully with one another. It is the unification of diverse cultures, multilingual talents, and the ability to accept one another. (Although this may not actually happen)
Others see it as the union of all creeds, colors, religion that is free from prejudice, an open minded group of people who are able to step beyond themselves and explore each others interests while keeping their own interests and lastly allowing oneself and others the flexibility to be able to express one’s thoughts and definition of culture that is free from ridicule.
The term multiculturalism is usually used in reference to Canada more than it is to the U.S. However if we take a closer look, America is also multicultural, but they believe in the melting pot idea.
Multiculturalism does not mean the same thing to everyone. Before we can address the advantages or disadvantages of a multicultural society, we need to understand these differing viewpoints.
Melting pot: The word melt can mean to be dissolved. The image that I get when I think about this term, is a group of many different; diverse people that are being assimilated or dissolved into one people, the American people. It is where newcomers melt into the American way of life. Basically it is viewing yourself as an American first, and then your ethnic background second. This is the exact opposite idea from that of multiculturalism. However some multiculturalists consider the “melting pot” a metaphor for oppressive assimilation. To them, the only way you can melt in the pot is by assimilating–becoming similar to–the dominant or “hegemonic” white culture.
Strengths and Weaknesses:
First we must understand that no nation is born multicultural. It is the people and way of life that determine this factor.
Multiculturalism was set up as a national symbol for Canadians and fulfilled the need for a distinctive Canadian identity.
As a political tool multiculturalism has several uses. The meeting of different life views, cultures, beliefs, religions, ethnic habits, etc.
Diversity is about accepting the whole person including the culture he or she brings – the customs, gestures, dress, voice quality, patterns of speech, hairstyles etc. Differences are okay to have.
Multicultural diversity is what results of centuries of immigration. All Canadians, including the Native People, can trace their origins to an immigrant past. Only about 16% of today’s Canadian citizens were born outside of Canada. By recognizing multiculturalism as a fundamental characteristic of Canadian identity and national heritage, Canadians of all cultural origins have the opportunity to contribute to the common goals of equality, sharing, social justice and economic prosperity.
It also maintains ancestral ethnic and cultural ties while simultaneously feeling a part of Canada.
Culture helps people understand life; from the different types of background and races is how we educate ourselves and look at things from a different perspective.
Given these strengths and advantages, it does not indicate that there are no flaws in this system. The following reasons are a perfect example of this.
In the unpleasant world of practical politics, multiculturalism encourages quotas over competition. That is the problem: On the one hand, they want all heritages and groups to be equal. On the other hand, they want some to be more equal than others.
Canada is a multicultural nation, but unfortunately both racism and prejudice still exist.
When looked at, you are viewed in terms of some group category: race, ethnicity, class, gender, nationality, etc
One cannot take up multiculturalism and expect students to see each other as individual human beings.
Historically, diversity has torn nations apart.
Finally a successful multicultural society is one that learns to appreciate the needs of others and not just their own cultural needs.
The idea of a ‘Melting Pot’ is to provide an environment where new ideas can be advised and advanced, where people can invite others to share their influential thinking, where people can discover others working in similar areas and with whom they may wish to begin teamwork, where public and private exchanges can occur as we all try to move forward in our thinking and experience.
With this idea we are more patriotic to the Country that we live in, like in America people consider themselves American above all.
It is a way of understanding American identity.
Puts everyone as an equal person by bringing them together as one culture, because they are know as an American.
Causes America to put up a flag of all the cultures represented.
America is a melting pot because all different cultures are represented here. Immigrants from all over the world gather together in the “land of opportunity” to share their ideals, however this is not always good and it has flaws just like the multicultural system.
We are all different, inside and outside, to be melted away means to take away something.
By being in a melting pot system we don’t have the chance to educate ourselves and our children about history, and the different cultures, which they should obviously know about.
Although the immigrants are considered as an American in this system, they know that when asked who they are, they should respond with the answer: “I am American.” However inside they realize that their background is not really an American, because they were not born in America. I think that some Americans (those born in America, feel challenged by the other people.)
We often forget about who we are, because in this system it is considered second.