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The Et Cetera

Melting pot culture fosters unity

By James Hartley

There is a popular belief that devoting America to a multicultural mindset will invite tolerance into our nation.

But it seems that multiculturalism would cause more division that unity, and already has. Our communities are divided by race, ethnicity and heritage. As we approach a more multicultural society, our nation is growing further apart.

The growing cries of racism in America revolve around the idea that we don’t understand the culture of our neighbors, or that we are hated because of our own culture. We’re told that racism exists because one culture is not accepting of another.

But instead of fixing the hatred and misunderstanding, we’re devoted to creating more differences. As an effect, our society is less coherent.

There was a time when the dream of America was to have all people equal. We didn’t have this desire to separate ourselves into different cultures. People wanted to be Americans, not any merging of ethnicity with nationality. We didn’t want a label attached to our status as Americans. We don’t see that any more.

A perfect example is when Raven-Symone said she didn’t consider herself African-American, just American, and she was called a traitor to her race. When she said she was “tired of being labeled” during an interview with Oprah Winfrey, she got backlash.

The dream is now to have the most diversity. Americans are dividing themselves based on heritage. We talk about the Americanization of culture as if it’s a bad thing. It’s almost as if people think that becoming purely American means leaving behind their heritage, forgetting where they come from, when in reality a melting pot requires that heritage be not only remembered, but also shared.

We’ve abandoned the melting pot society, mistaking it for an assimilationist one, and it’s hurting us. The melting pot of American society is what kept the nation bound together through the hardest times.

During the Great Depression, Americans suffered in poverty of unprecedented levels, yet we remained America. We remained united as one nation, one culture. The world watched as America became the strongest nation on Earth during World War II and became fully committed to the protection of the freedoms we have in our country.

During the hardest times, America has been at its strongest. It was because Americans were one people. We fought wars for the person next to us, we worked through poverty for our families and we didn’t hesitate to do what we could to help our fellow man.

That’s changed. The compassion we once knew is all but gone. Our divisions have gone beyond ethnicity to financial status, occupation, sexual orientation and religion.

I don’t think people really see that, though. They are blind to the educational value of history. As George Santayana once said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” The intentions of the multiculturalism push are good, but we all know what road good intentions are used to pave.

In the end, it looks a lot like segregation. We are dividing ourselves based on these things, and until that ends we will continue to reverse the progress found by those who fought against division.

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