Cultural Diversity and the Impossibility of a True Melting Pot

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Cultural Diversity and the Impossibility of a True Melting Pot

The core standards of America are founded, in principle, on the basis of its diversity and equality among citizens. Begin- ning with its Declaration of Independence, the United States distinguished itself from other modern nation-states by establishing a country of men who were different but equal. Yet, despite the unifying images America projects within and beyond its borders, the idea behind E Pluribus Unum does not resound as one might assume it would.

E Pluribus Unum was originally intended to be both a representation of the union of the thirteen colonies and an expression of the United States as a country formed by immigrants of many different backgrounds.
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E Pluribus Unum may show the United States to be a country formed of many different cultures, and it may suggest the equality of all people, but even today many people, especially those of non-European ancestry, are often looked upon as secondary or non-citizens and are placed in a socially subservient position.

Since September 11, 2001, various communities within the United States seemed to be uniting for a time, despite the differences that typically undermine the original intentions behind E Pluribus Unum. Especially in places such as New York City, which is known world-wide as a mecca of diversity within its tightly confined parameters, people have been embracing each other as "people" rather than as "members of cultures other than their own." But there has been a backlash as well, an increase in violent types of discrimination and prejudice in and near communities of Americans whose descent is Middle Eastern. Many non-Middle Eastern Americans blame all people who appear Middle Eastern as culpable for what happened on September 11. So the attention paid to culture, now, is based on the differences between Middle Eastern cultures and non-Middle Eastern cultures in America.

I wanted to explore how American citizens choose, especially after the events of September 11, to deal with cultures found within the United States that differ from their own. I chose to interview two people with strong, contrasting convictions about

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