Sunday, April 06, 2014

Cultural Mosaic

At the beginning of this century, as steamers poured into American ports, their steerages filled with European immigrants, a Jew from England named Israel Zangwill penned a play whose story line has long been forgotten, but whose central theme has not. His production was entitled The Melting Pot and its message still holds a tremendous power on the national imagination – the promise that all immigrants can be transformed into Americans, a new alloy forged in a crucible of democracy, freedom and civic responsibility. In 1908, when the play opened in Washington, the United States was in the middle of absorbing the largest influx of immigrants in its history – Irish and Germans, followed by Italians and East Europeans, Catholics and Jews – some 18 million new citizens between 1890 and 1920. Every day communities in the US, Canada or Australia test the premise of the fabled melting pot, the idea, so central to national identity, that this country can transform people of every color and background into "one America; "one Canada"; "one Australia".

It is said, that some communities don't want some of the power, they want all the power. Yet in democracy, a true democracy, power needs to be shared... The melting pot is a metaphor for a heterogeneous society becoming more homogeneous, the different elements "melting together" into a harmonious whole with a common culture. It is particularly used to describe the assimilation of immigrants. The exact term "melting pot" came into general usage in the United States after it was used as a metaphor describing a fusion of nationalities, cultures and ethnicities in the 1908 play.

Wearing a turban and a beard has made many Sikhs a target of bigotry and racism, says Bawa Singh Jagdev. But the secretary of the Sikh Council of Australia says that much of this is due to people not understanding what the turban represents Cultural Mosaic of Australia

Australia is not the homogenous nation of thongs, singlets and beer cans we sometimes imagine ourselves to be. And if we are, it's an adopted culture for most of us Simmering conomy in melting pot of cultures ; What is most concerning is that in several of these local areas’ attitudes towards migrants are going backwards and this is where we need to be vigilant and work harder on rejecting racism and, importantly, engaging with the community in education, conversation and discussion Disturbing trends in racial intolerance; We’ll still be a melting pot