The Myth of a Melting Pot

The Myth of a Melting Pot 150 150 Affordable Capstone Projects Written from Scratch

 

Essay Prompt: The Myth of the Melting Pot

The introduction of chapter five, “Created Equal: The Myth of the Melting Pot,” exposes two
myths, not just one. One is, as the title suggests, a myth of unity, a depiction of U.S. culture as a
racial mixture where all ethnicity and national origins combine into a seemingly homogenized
American culture where Americans are “created equal” and an American identity is relatively clear
and uncomplicated as immigrants adapt culturally to their new home. This process has clear
advantages but might not be as clean and easy as it seems. The other is a myth of difference or
hierarchy, which focuses more on a belief in racial superiority, that each ethnic group has an inherent
interest in its own survival and relative power. In other words, we have conflicting beliefs and ideas
about equality and what attributes make or should makes an American. The melting pot myth isn’t
as clean and uncomplicated as it seems, and many people today discount the idea of a natural racial
superiority, but each myth still has a strong impact on our society and our attitudes. Perhaps you see
evidence of each myth or idea in your day-to-day lives, or maybe neither myth quite captures the
truth of what you observe in the real world. As such, your job is to grapple with these opposing ideas
and your experience. In this essay, you should, in your own words, create a discussion. It might
help to define terms to help the reader understand precisely what you mean. Provide some
background as necessary. Compare the relative power of these ideas as they relate to your thesis. A
historical perspective might be useful. And explore your own perspective and the perspectives of
others.
Your discussion could take one of several different forms, but don’t feel pressured into
choosing one of the few I mention here. These are only a sample of ideas. Maybe you agree with
one side over the other, or another side altogether, and you want to explore how our society is
growing in a positive direction as a result. Maybe you find fault in both myths and seek to introduce
a new plan of racial interaction. Maybe you want to point out some of the problems and benefits of
one or both positions because society isn’t perfect; could there be a middle ground? In any case, you
should attempt to situate your own place within the discussion. You should consider multiple
perspectives. Note that I’m not grading on how close your opinion matches what you think my
opinion is. What I really care about is that you show a variety of opinions and explore in a critical
manner how you come to your new perspective all in a way that utilizes quality writing and thinking
techniques and skill.
You will probably use elements of definition, perhaps some compare/contrast, maybe a little
argumentation/persuasion, or some other organizing principle. It is up to you to determine how to
organize and present your discussion. You can also discuss any questions that you have with me.
You can use “I” if it seems appropriate; however, often you can do without it. For instance,
often it is better to just make a claim and support it through evidence and reasoning rather than make
statements like “I think this is true because….” In other words, “I” works in personal examples very
well, but general statements that support your thesis usually don’t need first person language.
Follow basic MLA format and include at least two primary sources (excerpts from
Rereading America) and at least two secondary sources (outside research material). Note that these
sources should be of academic quality; however, this doesn’t exclude additional sources like
references to film, newspapers, or even pop culture. Instead, these or others can be used in addition
to the minimum two secondary sources. Also, dictionaries and encyclopedias in print or online don’t
count toward the minimum two secondary sources; however, this doesn’t mean you can’t use them in
a limited fashion. The minimum five pages required are in addition to a works cited page.


 

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