A Critique on Peter Salins’s
“Assimilation, American Style”
Immigration is a very common thing in most countries. When these immigrants arrive at the new country, they are faced with a cultural dilemma; how to become part of society. Salins, who has researched this topic vastly, defines assimilation and the melting pot and describes how they play a role in American immigrants. Some of these definitions and descriptions are based on factual evidence, while some are more based on false logic, but they are there to define and inform readers on how immigrants become parts of society. This subject is of current interest because immigrants are faced with situations like this every day.
Assimilation and melting pots are two words that most people would think are very alike. They both deal with integrating immigrants in a new culture, but assimilation achieves this particular goal in a much different way than the melting pot. Assimilation occurs mainly in other countries, where an immigrant must abandon all traces of a previous culture and conform completely to the current culture. In America, assimilation doesn’t necessarily take place. The melting pot is more common and this is where people from different countries let their cultures intermingle, and the resultant culture is what makes up the culture of America.
Some people don’t think the melting pot even happened in America, and immigrants only socialized with people of the same ethnicity, instead of actually blending cultures with other people. This has led sociologists to think of alternative terms for the current cultural situation in America. They have proposed the idea of multiculturalism or “ethnic federalism”, where cultures just simply lived together. From a political stance, this idea doesn’t work very well, because it only led to conflict in countries that had a policy similar to ethnic federalism.
A cultural conversion works best when done like a religious conversion. In a religious conversion,...