The culmination of the melting pot
Photo By: flickr.com
Raul Garcia, Staff Writer
The United States has always been a country of immigrants and multiple nationalities. Yet, besides a few key major cities, the cultures and languages of this immigrant nation are hardly recognizable. In cities like New York or Los Angeles, the distinct cultures of the city are visible. You can see it the architecture of key neighborhoods which are ethnic enclaves that preserve key aspects of a certain culture such as Chinatown, Little Italy and Little Havana. These distinctions can be seen in the languages we speak, the clothes we wear, and even our names.
Yet, there are a lot of place in the United States that are not like this. Some cities do not have towns with cultural enclaves, or at least they no longer exist. Pittsburgh was once a city full of ethnic enclaves made by several different European communities. As time has moved on, the distinct barriers of these neighborhoods have disappeared and traditions and features of each respective begin to mix with each other.
So, how is the United States supposed to keep or retain any major cultural identities without them being assimilated?
Personally, because of the unavoidable effects of time, I think people need embrace that their cultures are most likely going to be mixed with others.
Many people may argue that taking on certain specific actions or traditions could be labeled as cultural appropriation, but I believe if you respect a culture and love it, then you should adopt those certain things into your life. If someone loves clothing or holidays of a culture then why not adopt it? For example, I do not think it would be bad if Americans of non-Hispanic descent decided to celebrate Día De Los Muertos, or if Americans started living in cities with Japanese architecture.
In the end, a new culture and people will be the product of this combination of cultures. One case study is Brazil. It is a nation whose roots are tied to Africa, the Arabic world, Portugal, Japan, and other Western and Eastern European nations, and yet the country seems to have its own unique identity in the world.
However, I am not giving people a free pass to act like jerks and dress up as other people to mock other cultures. I am also not advocating for people to give up who they are. A person’s cultural identity means a lot to them and no one should give that up. What I want to see is people in the United States grow as a new people.