Melting Pot Metaphor in Richard Essay

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This is a type of assimilation that often allows some minority groups to maintain a connection to their previous culture. The white majority does become influenced in many ways, even though it may deny it.

However, this process is very painful for many minority groups that feel helpless in the terms by which they must be assimilated into the majority culture. Thus, Rodriguez is saying that the more correct metaphor is not a melting pot where cultures can blend together seamlessly, but one where there is more of a forced separation that forces the ethnic minority to loose their previous cultural identity. During the process of assimilation, many within the minority culture feel that they either have to assimilate or feel the consequences, which can often include isolation and oppression when they cling to their cultural heritage too much. Thus, there is room for assimilation, but only for those who feel like they must give up a large portion of their own unique cultural heritages as such, Rodriguez states how "those middle-class ethnics who scorn assimilation seem to me filled with a decadent self-pity, obsessed by the burden of public life" (Rodriguez 27). Yet, when a group tries to hard to retain its ethnic roots, there seems to be just as much pain. This pain comes from the oppression of the majority group here in the United States.
When minority groups try to retain their cultural heritage, they are often met with resistance and even scorn from the larger white majority. "Dangerously, they romanticize public separateness and they trivialize the dilemma of the socially disadvantaged" that are much more vulnerable to oppression and exploitation by the majority group if they do not show signs of assimilation (Rodriguez 27).

This is a sentiment that is shared by Gene Yang in American Born Chinese. He shows how minority groups are either forced to assimilate further or remain a distant and isolated part of the society. Jin Wang, in the beginning, desires so much to assimilate and be in the group with the white students. He wants to assimilate so much that he seems embarrassed and repulsed by the image of his cousin, Wei-Chen Sun. Wei-Chen is an image of the minority group that has not yet tried to assimilate, and as such, he becomes a burden that threatens Jin's own assimilation. For a while in the novel, Yang shows how one cannot retain one's culture respectfully and still try to assimilate into the American society. It is much more of a painful process, where pieces of one's older life and cultural traditions are ripped away.

Works Cited

Rodriguez, Richard. Hunger of Memory. Random House. 2004.

Yang, Gene Luen.….....

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