Printer Friendly

The melting pot.

My grandmother came from Russia

A satchel on her knee,

My grandfather had his father's cap

He brought from Italy.

They'd heard about a country

Where life might let them win,

They paid the fare to America

And there they melted in.

Lovely Lady Liberty

With her book of recipes

And the finest one she's got

Is the great American melting pot.

The great American melting pot.

America was founded by the English,

But also by the Germans,

Dutch and French.

The principle still sticks;

Our heritage is mixed.

So any kid could be the president.

You simply melt right in,

It doesn't matter what your skin.

It doesn't matter where you're from,

Or your religion, you jump right in

To the great American melting pot.

The great American melting pot.

Ooh, what a stew, red, white

and blue.

America was the New World

And Europe was the Old,

America was the land of hope,

Or so the legend told.

On steamboats by the millions,

In search of honest pay,

Those nineteenth-century immigrants sailed

To reach the U.S.A.

Lovely Lady Liberty

With her book of recipes

And the finest one she's got

Is the great American melting pot.

What good ingredients,

Liberty and immigrants.

They brought the country's customs,

Their language and their ways.

They filled the factories, tilled the soil,

Helped build the U.S.A.

Go on and ask your grandma,

Hear what she has to tell

How great to be an American

And something else as well.

Lovely Lady Liberty

With her book of recipes

And the finest one she's got

Is the great American melting pot.

The great American melting pot.

The great American melting pot.

The great American melting pot.

The lyrics above are from the television and videotape feature The Great American Melting Pot developed by SchoolHouse Rock, which uses animation and music to teach lessons to children.1 Even the most cursory reading of the lyrics cannot avoid their non sequiturs and resulting half-truths and inaccuracies. What the feature represents as "melting in" can be more accurately described as patterns of assimilation and pluralism. Furthermore, it betrays the perspectives of early melting-pot visionaries who restricted the process to European immigrants. There never was a melting pot, there is not now a melting pot, and we are not headed toward a melting pot, at least not in the sense meant by its early proponents. Yet "The Great American Melting Pot" illustrates how powerful an image the melting pot continues to be in Amrican life.

Part I of this examination of the melting-pot ideal will show that despite its continued academic and popular usage, the concept has limited theoretical utility and little basis in reality. Pluralism is both the reality and drama of American society. However, as ethnically diverse as the nation is, it nevertheless has a cultural core that immigrants are expected to assimilate. Part II will identify the key elements of that cultural core, with particular emphasis on their origins and their functions.

----A.W.

1."Great American Melting Pot," from America Rock [video recording], Stanford CT: Capital cities / ABC video Pub., 1995
COPYRIGHT 2001 News World Communications, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:poem; pluralism in the United States
Author:Wortham, Anne
Publication:World and I
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2001
Words:522
Previous Article:The melting pot - Part I: Are We There Yet?
Next Article:Presidents and precedents.
Topics:

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters