I once heard a news reporter refer to the United States as the “melting pot” of cultures. At first, I did not know what it meant. Then I asked one of my closest friends what he understood by it, and he explained to me that there is no culturally diverse country like the United States. I came to understand the meaning thereof that this nation is a society where all types of cultures from all over the world form a single community. Unlike other countries that are homogenous, the United States is the most heterogeneous nation in the entire world. There are many cultures, religions, races, and ethnic groups that live in harmony in the U.S. It is the most culturally pluralistic state in the global society. What that means is that smaller groups can maintain their identities, practices, and values, but form the wider American culture. While the many groups of people maintain their unique features, they form the single American society through their shared values and adherence to the law.
I have different friends from different religions, races, and ethnic groups. For instance, I have African American friends, Latino, and Asian friends. I also have Muslim and Hindu friends. When I brought up this discussion, they were happy to share with me their different cultural beliefs and practices. Although they seem like stereotypes, they are factual. For example, My African American friend affirmed to me that he loves rap music. He continued that unlike Caucasians that prefer rock and country, Blacks prefer hip-hop. I thought that was rather a stereotypical assumption, but he explained to me that he feels that the love for hip-hop is one of the identities that African Americans share as a community. My Latino friend told me they detest individualism. While the American culture is more individualistic than it is socialistic, Latino Americans value families than anything else. In fact, he made a comparison with the Caucasian culture. He told me that it is not easy to find a Latino fighting with their parents or living alone while their old parents live somewhere else. My Asian friend had the same sentiments. However, a defining feature of her cultural practice that she explained to me was eating together. She told me that in her family and other Asian families that she knows, each member must be at the dining table at a specific time. The absence of which the older members consider as a form of disobedience and worthy of punishment. After gathering all relevant information, I came to find out that while stereotypes are discouraged, they are true to a certain point. However, the primary lesson that I learned was that as a nation and community, there are many individual elements of culture which team up to become one, which is America. America is a unique country on the international stage with many people desiring to live here not only because of our laws and freedom, but the acceptance and unity that we have as one, despite our differences.
Through the years, birth-rate patterns and immigration have been changing. The result is a more diverse country than it was in the past. For example, we now have a growing populace among Latino Americans and a shrinking Caucasian community. Although the growth rate of African Americans is not as high as that of Latinos, it also composes a diversifying trend. Coupled with cultural intermarriages and children with mixed identities, the diversity of this country continues to grow. It deserves its name, “the melting pot of cultures.” The result of this is a country that is more unified than it was in the past. Communication is also easier than it was. Shortly, we will not be talking about minorities and the majority because the population will be so diverse that it will be impossible to identify which culture consists of more people than the other.