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Immigration and the Americanization of Various Cultures

Immigrants citizenship ceremony in Brooklyn
Immigrants citizenship ceremony in Brooklyn

There was and is a sensitive nerve exposed when Coca Cola ran a commercial during Super Bowl where America the Beautiful was sang in several foreign languages. To anyone who is several generations down an immigrant, which is the great majority of Americans, and can only speak English, the ad could be disconcerting and even consider it "unAmerican."

The term commonly used to describe America is that it is a "Melting-Pot", where individuals of various race and culture are melted together to form a new race and culture, and speaking one language as the glue that forms the new identity. This diversity in genealogy is considered the strength of America compared to polyglots like Europe and nations of "pure breeds." To ignore America's multi-cultural ancestry and not embrace new immigrants speaking a different language is to ignore America's heritage and the cultural spice new immigrants bring to the pot. In the final analysis, language and culture are one and the same.

America as a melting pot is what is missing in the current immigration debate. Discussions are on preventing new entries and requiring new entrants and those already in but in the shadows to instantly speak the American language to become an "American". Legislators are trying to bake an instant white cake rather than slowly whisk a spicy America drawing on the advantages of various points of view resulting in as one writer wrote, "... melted into a new race of men, whose labors and posterity will one day cause great changes in the world."

The current immigration debate is trending towards a culturally divided nation with a ruling class of already melted and baked Americans and a second class ingredient of polyglots not allowed to be assimilated into the current culture. There is already a clear division between the haves and have nots, why add another division between so-called citizens and non-citizens who can be discriminated against?

If there is a lesson in history and in current reality, it is that in a culturally divided country, be it in language, religion, or social class, it is a powder keg for war or revolution. Let the assimilation begin and brew a one strong and diverse America.