Research paper on A review of Israel Zangwill’s Melting Pot by Horace M. Kallen

The society encourages the development of diverse cultural views and beliefs since diversity stimulates faster progress of the society. Moreover, the diversity enriches cultural experience of the society. Representatives of different racial and cultural groups have their own traditions, values and views. If they stay in complete isolation from other racial and cultural groups they keep developing within the framework of their traditions and beliefs. However, when they interact with each other in the culturally diverse or multicultural society they grow aware of the possibility of having a different view on one and the same issue (Kallen, 32). Therefore, they are capable to develop a broader thinking, when they interact with representatives of other culture, compared to the life in the culturally isolated group. They learn new cultural experience and they can go beyond the margins of their cultural framework. Consequently, the interaction with different cultural and racial groups helps people to think in the original way, which overcomes limited standards of their cultural group.

Hence, the concept of the melting pot developed by Zangwill is irrelevant to a truly democratic society, where individuals are free in their development. The melting pot implies that representatives of different cultural and racial groups are totally assimilated and integrated in the mainstream society and culture to the extent that they abandon and forget their cultural background and their racial and cultural values have no impact on their life anymore (Kallen, 91). However, the process of assimilation means the integration of an individual in the society and mainstream culture but this does not mean the loss of cultural identity or its change. Instead, the individual may stick to his/her cultural traditions and values being a part of the larger, multicultural community.

In fact, the society is rather a salad bowl than a melting pot. Representatives of different racial and cultural groups comprise important ingredients which make the unique blend of the salad-society. They interact with each other but they do not lose their cultural identity. They comprise the part of the society but, at the same time, they may and do live the lifestyle, which they are accustomed to and which they inherited from their cultural and racial background as they lived and grew up in their community. In this regard, the democratic society is like a symphony, where each racial and cultural group performs its own part. As a result, each racial and cultural group preserves its distinction and integrity, being a part of the large, multicultural society and remaining a distinct unit within the society.

Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that the society is culturally diverse that means that each racial and cultural group preserves its uniqueness, while their members preserve their cultural identity. In this regard, the concept of the melting pot is absolutely irrelevant to the life of the democratic society. The democratic society is a multicultural society, where each individual can preserve his/her cultural traditions and values.


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