More than a Melting Pot : The Tossed Salad of Immigrant Experiences in the United States
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For centuries the experience of immigrants in the United States has been referred to as "melting," but that is not always the most accurate description. All experiences are varied and complex. There are many factors that shape the process and many theories that apply. Assimilation, Anglo-conformity, and variations of cultural pluralism all are relevant for the different ethnic groups that have come to the United States. To discover more specific experiences of Latino immigrants I interned at Chicanos Latinos Unidos En Servicio. I taught English as a Second Language classes as well as citizenship and seniors' literacy. I took field notes, interviewed three staff members, and used a questionnaire to further examine the clients' experiences and feelings about life in the US. Many of the clients believed the US was a melting pot, but their experiences appear more indicative of cultural pluralism, especially of the "tossed salad" model. There are many different parts in the salad, which are covered, to different degrees, with a dressing that represents the common language and shared culture. Even though some continue to work towards "melting," the tossed salad still remains representative.