Post # 1
I see US bees make comments like this from time to time.
Most recently, the melting pot statement is being used in the Miss America thread.
To me, a melting pot is not about diversity. It’s about adding one’s flavour to a homogenous culture. The mosiac is about diversity.
Here’s some of the differences from wikipedia:
Canadian Mosaic was a book by John Murray Gibbon, published in 1938. Gibbon’s book, the full title of which was Canadian Mosaic: The Making of a Northern Nation, heralded a new way of thinking about immigrants that was to shape Canadian immigration policy in the latter part of the Twentieth century. The idea of a mosaic, in which each cultural group retained a distinct identity and still contributed to the nation as a whole, was in contrast to the melting pot, a popular metaphor for the more assimilationist American approach to immigration.
The idea of a mosaic of cultures forming a nation was adopted by Canadian sociologist John Porter in his study of social class, entitled: Vertical Mosaic: An Analysis of Social Class and Power in Canada. The mosaic theme became a part of Canadian multiculturalism policy in the 1970s, which envisioned Canada as a “cultural mosaic“.
Do Americans use the term melting pot differently than how Canadians tend to view it?
I don’t think Canada=only mosiac and US=only melting pot is true, but the statement about diversity and melting pot going together just seems odd.
Post # 3
Sorry, I have to take off fairly soon, but I will check back later!
Post # 4
- Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA
I think some people think of “melting pot” with the origin of the melting metals in mind, eg that it’s a collection of diversity. And others think of it with the melted afterproduct in mind, eg that all cultures should combine into something relatively homogenous. So for better or for worse, I think the term is pretty open to interpretation here in the US….
ETA: seems like Canadians were actually taught what this term means. Whereas, as far as I can remember, it’s just a term that Americans are familiar with but that everyone (obviously, from the other thread) has their own interpretation of.
Post # 5
@AB Bride: I was thinking the same thing when I was reading that thread. I recall being taught that a melting pot was assimilationist in a negative way, and that viewing Canada as a mosaic celebrated multiculturalism and diversity.
I feel like by virtue of the melting pot as we Canadians understand it, performing a Bollywood dance would indeed be “unamerican” — which raises the question of what being American really means. My family in Maine has a waaaay different idea of American culture than people in the South or California.
In actuality, I’m assuming Americans did not learn the negative connotations that go along with the melting pot like we did. I bet their melting pot is simply throwing a ton of cultures and backgrounds into a pot and letting them stew together, rather than assimilate to a historically specific “American” culture.
Post # 6
“I bet their melting pot is simply throwing a ton of cultures and backgrounds into a pot and letting them stew together, rather than assimilate to a historically specific “American” culture.”
This precisely. I never heard that melting pot is somehting negative.
Post # 7
I was always taught that the melting pot refers to the borrowing of cultural aspects which is common in America. People from all over the world come here, and can maintain their identity, but can also borrow and share their identity with others. Cultural Foods, medical practices, and holidays, are some examples of this.
It certainly doesn’t always work like that in practice, but the theory always seemed nice to me.
Post # 8
@Atalanta: It’s dawning on me that Canadian bees from various different provinces have been taught the same thing re: the melting pot.
Post # 9
I think Americans use the term Melting Pot in a way it wasn’t originally coined pretty often. Most people mean it in the positive “isn’t it awesome that we have so many people from so many places” sense, not in a “melt the culture down until it’s homogeneous” sense. For example, I freaking love that I have authentic taquerias, Vietnamese, Chinese, Thai, Ethiopian, Jamaican, Japanese, Persian, etc etc restaurants within a few blocks of our house.
I’d DIE (and starve!) if the culture here was melted down into one homogeneous culture.
Conversely, Canadian culture – outside of the major border cities – is viewed as quite white/homogenous to most Americans. It’s definitely how it was taught to me in school (in Texas, where more rural towns are also predominantly white or latino and lack diversity, so take that with the grain of salt it should be taken with, haha!). I lived in Toronto for a few months in 2011, and that is definitely my kind of “Melting Pot”!
Post # 10
I always thought that “melting pot” meant different cultures coming together and adding their individual flavors, so that the end product is an evolving culture where everyone shares similar traits, but still retain specific attributes.
I was born and raised here, and I couldn’t tell you what the hell an “American talent” is. I remember being bored as hell at our talent shows because everyone did the same thing, except when the Indian sisters moved in and did beautiful dances every year.
“American culture,” to me, is different for everyone–there are very few overriding cultural traits within all 50 states. We have many different cultures, many different religions, different words, foods, and traditions in different areas. The funny thing is that people who refer to displays of cultural specificity as “unAmerican” don’t realize that most of the things that they do/eat/say harken back to other specific cultures. We’ve got tons of ‘MURIKA-type people around here, who get excited for pasties and paczki. Pasties, while a traditionally British food, were adopted in the UP of Michigan by Finnish immigrants, and passed down from the Finnish miners to the large groups of Finns that followed. Paczki are Polish donuts that are SUPER popular around here (though I’d never heard of them until a couple of years ago because my family is neither Polish nor Catholic).
Post # 11
@AB Bride: I think the US and Canada must be taught different meanings of the term “melting pot”. We were taught that Canada was a mosaic that accepted and encouraged multiculturalism and diversity. And in contrast the US had more of a melting pot perspective, meaning that people assimilated to American culture moreso than celebrating their own. And yes, it did seem to have a negative connotation.
I guess it just boils down to differents terms for the same idea.
Post # 12
An interesting breakdown of racial percentages in different parts of Canada – the more rural areas are HELLA “white”. Quebec City, even, is 96% white.
Same thing for the USA, our mid-west is also hella white:
Post # 13
We just discussed this in my multiculturalism in the classroom class. The two metaphors we used were the ‘Melting Pot’ and ‘Salad Bowl’. We discussed how the melting pot is generally american as it is many cultures coming together to form a new culture or identity. This is where the sense of american national pride comes from. Once someone becomes an American citizen, they are considered American. We related Canada to the salad bowl metaphor. (Many cultures coming together to form a general culture, but everyone still maintains their individual cultural identity. For example, in canada not everyone is simply Canadian. People identify themselves as Italian Canadian, Spanish Canadian, ect. Plus, multiculturalism is a law in Canada passed in 1988 (Canadian Multiculturalism Act) which aims to preserve and maintain multiculturalism in Canada.
This is how my class discussed the topic, from a Canadian perspective.
Ps: I’m on my phone so sorry about any bad spelling/grammar.
Post # 14
@WannaBeeMrsB: That’s what I remember as well. Although, “salad bowl” is new to me. I was taught “mosaic”.
Post # 15
To me (as someone who lives in the Midwest of the US), the term “melting pot” means having a lot of diverse, interesting things “thrown in” to the pot (I almost think of it like a stew, not metals), and each interesting thing from all the cultures makes the stew taste different and good. Like all the meat and veggie and spices really make it unique and good.
I don’t hear the term a lot, however, but thats just my own understanding of the term. I do understand how it could be understood differently and in a negative way, but I’m sure that everywhere I’ve seen/heard it here in the states is in a positive, welcoming way, like “add your awesome culture to ours to add more dimension and beauty to the overall culture”. I don’t see it as trying to “replace” a persons culture with an “american” culture, like they have to shed their culture and zip on an american culture suit (lol), but more of a “we’re open to what you have to offer”. Besides, you can’t replace someones culture because culture is a conglomeration of your own experiences and settings.
I will add that I’m from a very liberal area, and I am sure that its not quite the same in other areas of the states.
Post # 16
@sourcandy: we talked about mosaic too! We compared it to “little Italy” in Toronto or “China town” in Calgary. So people maintaining their cultural identity and remaining detached from the general culture for the most part. So different from salad bowl as salad bowl is different cultures living together but recognizing the differences. We agreed as a class that the salad bowl metaphor is most ideal in a society.