America: Melting Pot Or Salad Bowl?
Jim Blair

This was originally a (1995) letter to Voice Of The People in America.

The May 25 letter from Eva Jackson & John Bayley refers to the "salad bowl" metaphor of American society. But from its beginning the United States has been a "melting pot" of peoples, unlike Europe, or Africa which are better described by the "salad" model. When different metallic elements are melted in a pot, alloys are formed which have different properties from the original elements. In a salad, a tomato slice doesn't marry a radish to produce hybrid offspring.

But wide spread inter-marriage between English, German, Irish, Italians, Scandinavians, and other European immigrants to America have created a blend not found in Europe: what are commonly called "White People". (Of course they are not white in color, but various shades of pink.) The Autobiography of Malcolm X laments the fact that African slaves brought to the Americas lost their tribal identity to create a new blend, not only of many different African peoples, but also including Europeans, that were then called Negroes (a term that has since fallen out of favor). Malcolm X had a "white" grandfather.

Current trends in America have seen increasing inter-marriage between all of the various groups here. (Past incorporation of European genes into Negroes was by male slave owners and female slaves). The segregationists of the 1950's were correct on one point: only segregation and anti-miscegenation laws can preserve separate "pure" ethnic groups in America. In much of the rest of the world different language and customs keep people apart.

America is not the only "melting pot" society. In the 5th century Angles and Saxons were two different ethnic groups in England, but by the time of the Norman conquest they had blended to become Anglo-saxons. In modern Israel, Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews, two distinct groups only 30 years ago, are rapidly blending into a common culture.

The "salad society" is really just ninetyspeak for "separate-but- equal". It was a bad idea that seems to be making a comeback.

Essays on related topics...

Race and Affirmative Action
Title Author
The Inner City Underclass Jim Blair
America: Melting Pot Or Salad Bowl? Jim Blair
The Problems Of Dividing People Into Races Jim Blair
Race and Culture: A World View Jim Blair
Race Is Not Such An Important Division Jim Blair
Affirmative Action Is Not Quota-Based Reverse Discrimination Steve Kangas [off site]
Ethnic IQ Variation Is Not Genetic Steve Kangas [off site]
The Problems of Multiculturalism Kenan Malik [off site]

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