Melting Pot Vs Salad Bowl Analysis

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Driven by industrialization and urbanization, the United States in the late 19th century was developing in an astonishing speed, and soon became the “promised land” in the eyes of millions of immigrants from different nationalities (Oskar 1). This wave of new immigrants started from 1880 and ended in 1914, the start of the WWI, and mainly consisted of people from southern and eastern Europe, including Italians, Hungarians, Russians and Greeks (Aboukhadijeh 2). To what extent did these immigrants assimilate into American culture is always a controversial topic. In my opinion, between two prevailing models, melting pot and salad bowl, the latter is a more accurate description of the immigrant cultural situation * in this era.
Melting pot and
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Various ethnicities remain distinct and are combined together as integration. Carl N. Degler described this analogy accurately: “though the salad is an entity, the lettuce can still be distinguished from the chicory, the tomatoes from the cabbage” (1). Although it allows immigrants to preserve their old traditions, it inevitably defines individuals by their races and cultures, rather than their chosen identities. People from different races perceive others with clichés and stereotypes, which could easily result in discrimination and race-related social…show more content…
Politically, powerful political machines in the cities provided immigrants with social welfare, such as food and working opportunities, in exchange for their votes. Since the new comers had little experience with democratic government, they were easily manipulated by these corrupt political organizations, and didn’t really participate in the political life as an independent American citizen. Economically, the immigrants on average occupied obviously lower social position in the system, which could be seen as race-related social stratification. They lived in slums and tenement apartments with terrible sanitary condition. In his book How the Other Half Lives, Jacob Riis described immigrant ghettoes in New York City as “the hotbeds of the epidemics that carry death to rich and poor alike” and “the nurseries of pauperism and crime that fill our jails and police courts” (376). In addition, their wage as factory workers was much lower than the American workers’ on average. Immigrants at a dress factory in Manhattan 's Garment District in 1905 earned $5.50 a week on average (Frowne 3), while the average American worker earned approximately $12.98 per week in the 1900s (Baer 2). Dirty living environment, high crime rates, and low average wages made up the typical impression of immigrants in the minds of original American
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