America; Melting Pot or Salad Bowl?

OK, so yesterday in my government class we were told what our 2nd quarter project would be. So, what it is, is we have to write an essay on how we think American people are so much alike or how diverse we are. So I chose to title my project, “America: A Melting Pot or Salad Bowl” (alternative title is, “America: Melting Pot or Salad Bar”).

Pretty much I just want to see what everyone else thinks about this idea of diversity or not.

Also, i little clarification on the two terms.

Melting Pot: is a metaphor for the way in which societies develop, in which the ingredients in the pot (people of different cultures and religions) are combined so as to lose their discrete identities to some degree, yielding a final product which has a more uniform consistency and flavor, and which is quite different from the original inputs.

Salad Bowl: The multicultural approach, each “ingredient”(person) retains its original culture, religion, traditions, etc…, while contributing to a successful final product.

So what is everyone else’s view on these ideas of the “Melting Pot” and “Salad Bowl”?


I think we used te be a melting pot, but now we’re a salad bowl.

Bowel. Certain characteristics of different cultures are more “digestible” than others… :rolleyes: :wink:

Yes, I realized that… And fixed the original post. Thanks for that clarification!

I really think that America is a bit of both. Some people have come into this country and adapted to the way of life and embraced other cultures, while others come here and retain pretty much most of their culture.

Salad bar.
We seem willing to live with others when they are happy to stay in their own containers and do not contaminate other containers, mess up the ice or generally ruin the look of the salad bar as advertised.

Salad Bowl. To me the melting pot mixes everything together and then cultural identity disappears as individuals lose part of their identity and gain some from others. In America people are very proud of their cultural identity, and are proud of the very thing that makes them unique.


America is the Fixings Bar.

When you come here from another country, you are already pretty much who you are as a person for the most part.

America just adds some extra flair to your life and spices it up a bit, and maybe adds some complication as well. (maybe relish wasn’t the best choice of fixin’s to put on my fries). :stuck_out_tongue:

But then again, this also gets into the whole Nature vs. Nurture debate.
Where as, who you are raised by defines the nurture aspect, and what culture you are raised as defines your nature aspect. :slight_smile:

wow, I never really thought about it as another way than a melting pot, but a salad bowl definitely fits it better.

We just covered this a couple weeks ago in AP Gov’t. I’d tend to say Salad Bowl becuase although we all come together through patriotism, there are still distinct features varying from person to person, religion to religion, ideology to ideology…etc…

I’ve definately gotta say Salad Bowl, but one that’s been blended pretty heavily. I say this because the lines between culture still exist, such as the small shredds of salad parts, however, they are blurred in many areas. For example, some people identify with “chicago culture,” or some other kind of culture that refers to a place of being, rather than a background. That chicago culture may be built up from other cultures and histories, but it still has had all the little shreds lumped together into one very nicely blended salad.

I like your topic!

With melting pot, I think about intermarriage between ethnicities, religions, cultures - blending. When I learned about/studied the melting pot, I always thought of it as a delicious stew filled with mysterious and delightful aromas.

The salad bowl is along the lines that KoKo Ed says, retaining the cultures, the communities in tact, or attempting to. We are learning that when we educate ourselves regarding the differences, we can find respect and often, common ground between each other.

Both of these are occurring here in the U.S. and in countries around the world continually.