The Melting Pot On Hold (Hyphenated Americans Re-visited)

Although we still refer to ethnic groups such as Irish-American, German-American, and Italian-American, it is largely symbolic. Education ,mobility and tolerance served to remove the taboos about marrying outside a particular ethnic group or religion and stoked the fires heating the melting pot so that increasingly the descendants of these groups are hard pressed to identify with an ethnic group. Where once they played an important role in shaping politics their modern day political influence as a voting bloc is greatly diminished - they have no political agenda. Any attention received from a political campaign is token at best. They are Americans! Not so with many other ethnic groups. They are Hyphenated -Americans and want to keep it that way.

The melting pot, a.k.a The United States of America, appears to have been put on low heat. Skin color, religion, and misplaced loyalty to a “father country” have doused the flames heating the pot. One has only to look at political campaigns and the rhetoric will convince you that the melting pot has seen its day. Candidates unashamedly court the vote of African-Americans, Jewish-Americans, Arab-Americans, Cuban-Americans and Hispanics, all of whom have a self-serving political agenda. The candidates promise far more than they can deliver and at the same time compromise their party’s social and foreign policy platforms. It even appears that we have added a new hyphenated American to the mix; namely, BC - Americans ( blue-collar Americans). If we believe the media, the latter group is devoted to keeping the other hyphenated Americans in their place.

The melting pot is what has kept this country from degenerating into a bunch of “ tribes”. Until we get it boiling again by developing more acceptance of inter-racial marriages, diminishing the influence of ethnic groups on foreign policy, shoring up the separation of church and state, and fostering education designed for Americans and not designed for a particular ethnic group, we will experience a fragmented society complete with "tribal warfare".

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