March 6

Blog #166 – Final Exam – Immigration and Assimilation Theories

As more and more immigrants come to America, it’s worth looking at three different theories as to what immigrants are / were expected to do when they come here.  The majority of this article comes from “Assimilation in America” by Milton M. Gordon, 1961.

The first wave of immigrants came between 1620 – 1775.  This group is predominantly English, with some Scots-Irish, Germans, Swedes, and French and Dutch.  About 20% of the American population was Africans who were forcibly brought here or descendants of enslaved Africans.

The second wave arrived between 1840s and 1850s and were predominantly Irish, German Catholics, Chinese, and Scandinavians.  This group has been called the “old immigrants” when talking about 19th Century immigration.

The third wave of immigration hit American shores between 1870 – 1924.  The earliest group comprised Chinese, French Canadians, Irish, German, Dutch and other northern and western European immigrants.  However, after 1890, the newer arrivals came from southern and eastern Europe: Italians, Poles, Russians, Jews, and Slavs and on the West Coast, the Japanese.  This group has been called the “new immigrants.”  The wave was brought to an abrupt halt by the National Origins Act of 1924.

The latest wave started in the 1960s and hasn’t stopped.  Initially, people came from Asia and Eastern Europe, but for the past twenty years or so, more Latin Americans have arrived.  Unfortunately, like the previous two waves, there also been an uptick in nativist rhetoric, actions, laws, and sentiments in the past 15-20 years.  And like in past waves, immigrants, legal and undocumented, have become scapegoats for the nation’s problems and used as a political tool against their oppponents.  For instance, in this ad for the U.S. Senate, one Republican goes after another for not being tough enough on immigration:

Nativism, immigration, and the Know-Nothing party

Anglo-Conformity (Superiority?)

This theory concerns itself with the adoption of Anglo-American institutions like the English language, culture and customs.  However, negative attitudes towards other ethnic groups have often come hand in hand with this theory, including the belief that Anglo-American ways are the only way to assimilate and are superior to other cultures.  Ben Franklin and other founding fathers expressed “reservations about large-scale immigration from Europe” though they most likely could not have envisioned the role immigration would have on American history.  During the second and third waves, nativist attitudes reared their ugly heads at the Irish and Germans (see cartoon) including a violent anti-Catholic campaign.  Even the cranky John Quincy Adams basically said, “if they don’t like it here, they can go back where they came from.”   When the third wave arrived, Social Darwinism arose as a way of asserting the older groups’ inherent genetic dominance over the eastern and southern European  and Asian groups.  They weren’t English, had strange religions and customs, and were very slow, if not reluctant, to adopt American ways.  There was a pressure-cooker Americanization process undertaken during World War I which ended with hundreds being deported during the “Red Scare” of 1919-20 for un-American ideas like anarchism and socialism.  Also near the end of the 3rd wave, the Klan came back like a dreaded disease and expanded its hatred of anyone not WASP (white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant), and promoted itself as the party of pure Americanism.


Melting Pot

We read about this melding of European people in America in the pre-Revolutionary era in Hector St. John Crevecouer’s Letters from an American Farmer when he said, “Who is this American?  He is either an European, or the descendant of an European, hence that strange mixture of blood, which you will find in no other country.”    The attitude concerning the new American society was “not a slightly modified English but rather a totally new blend… in which the stocks and folkways of Europe….were mixed in a pot of the emerging nation and fused by the fires of American influence and interaction…”   Ralph Waldo Emerson talked about America in the 1840s as “an asylum for all nations” that would make a new type of individual.   Frederick Jackson Turner broke with the Anglo-conformity mold when he wrote his historic essay in 1893, “The Significance of the Frontier in American History,” saying that American institutions and democracy were not an offshoot of Europe but something uniquely itself.   In 1908, an English-Jewish writer named Israel Zangwill wrote a drama called (oddly enough) The Melting Pot in which a young Jewish immigrant / composer comes to America in order to complete a symphony about his amazing new country where all ethnic groups are united.


Cultural Pluralism

This theory recognizes the concept that when new immigrant groups come to the United States (or wherever, for that matter), the groups tend to clump together in similar groups based on language, culture, and region.  For instance, in the 1840s, the Irish bonded together in Boston as American society initially rejected them.   By the late 1800s, middle class reformers came to the city to help the new arrivals from eastern and southern Europe get acclimated to America.  Women like Jane Addams respected an ethnic group’s language and culture but also taught them the English language.   The children of the new immigrants, because of rapid Americanization, looked down upon their parents who couldn’t speak English and clung to the old ways, thereby alienating each generation from the other.   But Jane Addams, reflected in her biography, Twenty Years in Hull House, that by creating a “Labor Museum” at her settlement house, she showed the younger generation of immigrants what the older group prized (like sewing and weaving).  “The daughters…began to appreciate the fact that their mothers had their own culture too.”


In 1915, Horace Kallen wrote articles on immigration in The Nation which rejected both the melting pot and Anglo-conformity “as models of what was actually transpiring in American life.”   He pointed out how the immigrants have participated in American society by learning English but while still preserving their culture and traditions.  Kallen felt that by allowing immigrants to keep their culture and traditions, we were actually being more democratic than if we had imposed an Anglo-conformist attitude on them.  Kallen came up with the term “cultural pluralism” in later essays in which he rejected the Klan, the Red Scare and other attempts at ultra-Americanization and stated that cultural pluralism was the “cure for these ills.”

Diversity, Pluralism, Multiculturalism!?| National Catholic Register

As you’ve grown up, you’ve probably come to realize that America is a land of immigrants; you may be the first generation of your family born here in the United States.  In this blog response, describe at least two examples of where you’ve seen or experienced at least two of these three immigration theories in action.   Talk to your family and ask older relatives about what kinds of stories have been told about the history of your family.  If applicable, please include your own family’s stories in your response.

Your response should be a minimum of 300 words. Due Sunday, March 10 by midnight. 

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Posted March 6, 2024 by geoffwickersham in category Blogs

63 thoughts on “Blog #166 – Final Exam – Immigration and Assimilation Theories

  1. Felipe Serrano

    Many different theories on immigration and how immigrants settle in the U.S. all can be seen it’s just a matter of perspective. The most obvious one I’ve seen is the melting pot. Spanglish in Hispanics and Latinos is the best example of cultures blending and making something new. Our Spanish language sticks but it is modified to include English words too. It’s a bridge language and over 40 million people speak it. Most Latinos in the U.S. use Spanglish sometimes including me with my friends. Another time I have seen this theory is in food. Fusion restaurants of many kinds have popped up in all regions of America. Tex-Mex is very popular and common but there are also fusions of Italian, Chinese, Mexican, and European foods. Another widespread immigration theory, cultural pluralism, is prevalent and seen all over America. Most major cities, for example, have Chinatowns where the majority of Chinese-descended people live. Chinatowns in L.A., New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, and Seattle all consist of a variety of Chinese shops, restaurants, and temples. Cultural pluralism can be more evidently seen in Miami where 70% of the population speaks Spanish and about 75% are Hispanic or Latino. Every time I go to Miami it reminds me of Latin America with all the people that look and sound like me. It is no secret that South Florida has a great concentration of Spanish-speaking people. Even the mayor of Miami is Hispanic. An example of this locally is in Dearborn which is the greatest concentration of Arab-Americans in the U.S.. Every time I go to Dearborn I see many Arabic-owned restaurants, businesses in Arabic, and Arabic people. An arab community has been built to model and try to replicate the arab world in the US which makes new immigrants feel much more welcome and at home. It is really impressive to see the Islamic Center of America, the largest mosque in the U.S.

  2. Corinne

    As the granddaughter of two Iraqi immigrants who made their arrival to America in the 1960s, I have often had the privilege of learning firsthand about the varied experiences they and my first-generation father have lived through over the years as they attempted to begin a new life in America. My grandmother gave up hopes of a prestigious European college to settle down with my grandfather in Michigan, traveling miles from her home country of Iraq to fulfill her dreams. She gave up many of the customs familiar to Iraqi Muslims after moving, forgoing the hijab and quickly making the switch to accented English in order to better fit in with the white majority. In a matter of years, she had adopted a hippie lifestyle and incorporated various American tendencies and technologies into her everyday life. Her life had completely transformed after leaving home, but some things would remain forever static. Even today, my grandmother is fully fluent in her first language, Arabic, and speaks it with my father daily. Though not as strict about religion as she was in Iraq, she continues to practice Islam and celebrate holidays, such as Eid, down to us. Thus, she serves as living proof that both the melting pot and cultural pluralism theories can coexist in a single person. These theories present themselves in her descendants as well: my father, my sister, and myself. My father, though still a mostly fluent Arabic speaker, has fully melted into American culture, fitting in completely and retaining only a miniscule amount of his parents’ original culture. My sister and I are an even more extreme example of the melting pot’s power multiplying over generations, having little to no connection to our heritage, language, family’s religion, or culture. However, this doesn’t mean we show no signs of cultural pluralism ourselves. Despite being estranged from my cultural identity, I find myself particularly proud of where my family once came from, even attempting to learn Arabic on my own when I can. When I meet someone whose family also hails from Iraq, I feel an instant sense of relatability and deeper connection with them, no matter what previous level of closeness we might have had. Though the both of us may find ourselves far from our culture, the second generation experience is unique enough in its own right to foster a long-lasting bond. All in all, the Americanization of immigrants is a subject filled to the brim with nuance, and no one theory can encompass a full human life. While some may be lost along the way, there will always linger a sense of identity that society can never strip away.

  3. Landon Lamb

    I experienced the Cultural Plagiarism immigration theory in Hamtramck when I went to watch a Detroit City FC(DCFC) soccer game. There were a ton of people of Middle Eastern descent that were living there and hanging around. Also, there are a ton of Middle Eastern restaurants, stores, and other Middle Eastern influences that could be seen or experienced all over the city of Hamtramck. There are also a lot of Muslim mosques that people commune at. I have also experienced Cultural Plagiarism in Boston, there were a ton of Irish bars and restaurants around the city alongside all the historical sites about America’s history and how it became a state. When I went to Arizona, Florida, Texas, and New Mexico there was a lot of Mexican and/or Spanish influence on the places that were in the cities. There were a ton of authentic Mexican restaurants and a ton of Spanish speakers. I have experienced the Melting Pot theory every day because of all the various groups of people that have DNA from different countries. I have learned from my parent’s blood tests that I am German and Swedish. Also, I see the different cultures in the foods I eat because they are way different than the typical American food or diet that most Americans eat. Whenever I visit a new state or city there are vast amounts of different cultures and different types of people that have different countries in their DNA. For example, I have friends that come from South America, Europe, and the Middle East. All in all, America was greatly influenced by the second and third waves of immigration that brought cultural differences to a dominant European-influenced country. Whether you were born in America or not, there is a ton of different cultures within this country and can be seen everywhere you go.

  4. Molly Heller

    My family descent comes mainly from Poland and Germany. My moms side of the family includes mostly Polish descents and my dads side of the family includes mainly descents from Germany. I predict that when our family came to the Americas, they were influenced by the salad bowl theory. When I talked to my mom, she said that growing up, the west side of where she lived was known as the Polish side. Because my Grandma is Polish, my mom went to school on the west side, but did not live there because my grandpa is not polish. She said that although my grandparents and their parents changed their lives to be a part of American society, they also continued to follow some of their own traditions, which is why I think their life is related to the salad bowl theory. Some traditions that we continue to follow are Saint Nicholas Eve, which is a German tradition, as well as the Polish tradition of the oplatek Christmas wafers that you break and pass out at Christmas dinner. Typically at holiday dinners with my moms side of the family, we eat some common Polish foods, like pierogies.
    I think that we can see ideas of Cultural Pluralism through places like ChinaTown where people of one culture or descent are together in their own place representing their home country, but still being influenced heavily by American culture. I think that this shows the Cultural Pluralism theory because it shows that the immigrants from other countries would continue to practice and follow their own customs, religion, and cultures with other people from their home country. For example, ChinaTown is not the only place where people of a certain descent can go to be with others who are also of that descent, similar places include Little Italy, Little Tokyo, and Greenpoint. In current times, these places are typically referred to as “ethnic neighborhoods”. This shows cultural pluralism because it shows that people grouped together with others who followed their similar customs because of where they came from and how they were raised.

  5. Sofia B

    I have come to notice that all of these immigration theories are present and active in America and in other countries as well. Personally, I am Albanian and Circassian. Circassians are a perfect example of cultural assimilation into the countries in which they have immigrated to. The Circassian peoples live in the western part of the greater Caucasus which is nowadays located in southern Russia. In 1817, the Russian Empire invaded the then multiple independent states of the Caucasus starting the 47 year long war known as the Caucasian War. During this war, the Russians carried out the Circassian genocide in which around 3.500.000 Circassians were either murdered or expelled out of their homelands. Due to this large emigration of Circassians, now, around 90% of the Circassian population lives outside of their ancestral homeland making them the largest diaspora group in the world. Another staggering fact is that less than 20% of the total Circassian population (including myself) speaks the Circassian language making it an endangered language. This is because of cultural assimilation into places such as the Ottoman Empire and the U.S. where there is a large pressure to fit in. Thankfully, there is a large initiative to teach native Circassians and anyone willing to learn the Circassian language (I’m currently doing this) in order to reverse the effects of assimilation and save our dying culture. As for Albanians, there is a joke that states that you cannot meet an Albanian for the first time and have a conversation with them for more than 10 seconds before they tell you that they are Albanian. This is somewhat true as Albanians are extremely proud of who they are. In fact, I was at a Model UN tournament and the kid next to me asked me about my ethnicity and when I told him I was Albanian he said a lot of kids from his school were Albanian and would die for Albania before the U.S. I’m honestly not sure what it is with us Albanians that makes us so proud of where we come from but Albanian-Americans definitely represent the cultural pluralism and clumping immigration theories. Wayne County is actually the third largest Albanian community in the U.S. and there is actually an Albanian Islamic Center less than 10 minutes away from my Dad’s house in Wayne County. There are a good amount of Albanian restaurants (Jakova Grill is supposed to be really really good) in Wayne County as well attesting to the large Albanian population there. Dearborn is another prime example of population clumping. My step-dad is from Lebanon and we go to Dearborn about every weekend. Whenever I go to Dearborn, I know I’m there because all the signs are in Arabic, some with no English at all and no one really speaks English (my step-dad only speaks English to people who don’t speak Arabic who are relatively few and far between in Dearborn).

  6. Robert Nelson

    My grandmother on my mother’s side has gone through cultural pluralism and still does today. Her family migrated from Ukraine and came to Michigan a long time ago. My grandparents now live in Troy, and they have mixed in with other cultures around them. However, my grandmother has been with the Ukrainian Catholic community for decades, and my mother and her siblings grew up with the Ukrainian Catholic church called IC which is in Hamtramck. This church is special to my grandmother because it is associated with a school system which she teaches in, and she takes part in the choir group to sing on Sundays. She has a lot of good friends there. Almost the entire population of IC is Ukrainian, and ever since the Russian invasion, the number of people part of the parish has skyrocketed. Ever since I was little, I also have been going to this church with my family, and whilst I am unable to communicate with the majority of the people there, I still find a place with my family in the pews. Ultimately, IC Ukrainian Catholic church has been the most important location for my grandmother, and now it is the most important place for me.

    My dad’s grandparents came from Finland, England, and Scotland. They were persecuted as serfs in Finland, and became miners and shipbuilders in America. They moved to areas of commerce which included mining, lumbering, and auto manufacturing around the year 1900. The opportunities of America provided them with the ability to purchase land, travel, move, start businesses. They were able to build a resort on the Tahquamenon River. They rented about a dozen boats with motors and a minnow tank for fishing bait so that tourists could come and vacation and stay at their cabins, as well as spend time on the river.

  7. Maddie Z

    Being a first generation American, I grew up with stories of my moms immigration here from a young age. My family history has a lot of immigration with my biological grandfather immigrating here from Puerto Rico, however he is no longer a part of my family so that is all I know about him. My mom, on the other hand, immigrated from Romania to Michigan with her father when she was five. She grew up at a time where Romania was led by the very communist president, Nicolae Ceaușescu. With conditions in the country basically unlivable, anyone who was able to get out of the country did so. My grandma had escaped to a refugee camp in Austria and shortly after immigrated to Dearborn where we see the first example of immigration theories in society. My grandmother went to Dearborn because of a church in the area that helped recent immigrants get on their feet and because of the already established Romanian community. The theory of Cultural Pluralism is shown here through the fact many of the Romanians who immigrated to the state, moved to Dearborn to be in a community that they could feel safe in and a part of that reflected the culture they grew up with. Shortly after, my mother and grandfather were able to leave Romania and join my mom in Dearborn. To this day, that Romanian community still exists and some of my favorite memories are visiting my extended family in the area. The other theory that we can see is one that I have observed. The American Melting Pot theory. I am proud of, and enjoy sharing my moms immigration story but what I have noticed is I am not alone. Many people I know have similar stories to share about their families. Especially in Birmingham we can see the mix of cultures and ethnicities we are lucky to have. We live in such a diverse area that showcases how different cultures have come together to form America and that shows America can be a country where you can find many different types of people depending on the area you’re in.

  8. Ashley Glime

    I know from what i’ve seen growing up Cultural Pluralism is a real thing. From my understanding it is groups of similar types of people joining together. Although we may go to school with all different ethnicities and races or just spend day to day life with all sorts of different people. I still notice divisions in certain parts of cities based on where people live. For example, in Troy there is a pretty heavy population of Asian decent people. They all live in neighborhoods together and are spread across Troy pretty heavily. I also know that Jewish people in our area tend to live in the West Bloomfield-Bloomfield area. When I go into these cities I either know people of these ethnicities, religions, races etc. Another thing that I have experienced is the melting pot of America. After interpreting this idea I noticed that people who may have been born in America still celebrate ideals from their parents or generations ago of family members from different cultures and countries still celebrating their own ideals within America. In all of the states there are so many different cultures around that we all are one big jumbled up mixture of different types of people and that is one thing that makes things so unique. After talking to my dad about where my family came from I learned so many things. We don’t have a really exact full picture on who exactly game here because the name “Glime” became more americanized. What we do know is that our ancestors came here from Germany and came to San Francisco. Then I talked to my mom about where her ancestors came from and they came from Ireland. Her maiden name is “Rhatigan” She said that it was the more americanized version of what it was before. She is unsure of where exactly they came to when they got to America unfortunately.

  9. Carl

    As a Chinese immigrant, I have seen many examples of immigration theories. One example of Anglo conformity can be seen in the pressure on Chinese immigrants to adopt mainstream customs and values. This assimilationist approach encourages immigrants to conform to the dominant culture, often characterized by English language proficiency, embracing American traditions, and adopting Western lifestyles. Many Chinese immigrants find themselves trying to preserve our cultural heritage while assimilating into the broader American society. For instance, many Chinese immigrants emphasize English acquisition, both for economic opportunities and social integration. Additionally, they may prioritize English language education for their children to ensure they can fully participate in American academic and social spheres. On the other hand, cultural pluralism can be seen in the existence of distinct Chinese American enclaves and the preservation of cultural practices within these communities. Chinatowns, for instance, serve as cultural hubs with language schools, community organizations, and cultural events providing a space for immigrants to retain their identity. My family also serves as a good example of cultural pluralism’s emphasis on slow immigration. My siblings and I, having grown up in America, are much worse at Chinese compared to our parents. The melting pot theory can also be seen in the blending of diverse cultures to form a unified national identity. Within the Chinese American community, this is evident in the fusion of traditional Chinese practices with American values. This is most visible in the popularity of Chinese American cuisine, such as General Tso’s chicken or fortune cookies. In summary, the experiences of Chinese immigrants in the United States are multifaced. Anglo conformity pressures individuals to assimilate, the melting pot theory showcases the fusion of diverse elements, and cultural pluralism allows for the coexistence of distinct cultural practices.

  10. Nauman

    I have seen the superiority theory in play in real life. I have seen people say that American culture is superior to every other culture in the world and that many other cultures are barbaric or uncivilized. I think, in many instances, such views are openly racist/bigoted and very openly express American exceptionalism. I have also heard these types of people argue that if immigrants choose not to assimilate into American culture, then they should be deported. They also argue for deporting immigrants who can’t speak English. In my view, these arguments are highly bigoted and absurd. An immigrant should have a choice to accept or not accept American culture, and just because he/she has a different culture does not make them inherently barbaric or uncivilized. I think the best way to counter these views would be to allow the people who make arguments such as these to experience different cultures. I think them having a real-life experience would make people who make arguments like these more open to different cultures and other points of view.

    I have also seen cultural pluralism in real life. I have seen many immigrants who have come from different nations integrate into American society while keeping cultural customs and traditions from their home country. In my view it is completely possible to integrate and participate in American society while still retaining cultural customs and traditions from your home country. My parents, for example, came from Pakistan and went to the US. They both respectfully abided by the laws of the US and eventually earned American citizenship. They have done this while still maintaining many Pakistani cultural customs and traditions, including food. They keep up with Pakistani politics, talk to relatives from Pakistan, cook Pakistani food, keep up with Pakistani sports, and more. All of this has been retained while integrating into law-abiding American citizens. I think this is a clear example of how keeping cultural traditions and customs from a native country as an immigrant and integrating into a new society are not mutually exclusive.

  11. Ari Blank

    My great grandfather came to America when he was a teenager. He went to Europe before coming here to learn how to speak English. He did learn how to speak English, but when he arrived in America, he felt more comfortable hanging out with his friends who were Russians. He was able to speak Russian to his friends from Russia, and they were able to act the same way they did before they came to America. My great grandfather’s actions exhibit the cultural pluralism take on immigrants because he was able to adapt to the American ways by learning English, but he much preferred to clump up with his Russian friends and speak their native language. My great grandfather eventually married another Russian who was living in America. She also spoke Russian and didn’t fully adapt to American customs. She never drove a car in Russia, so when she came to America, she never drove a car as well. In her life, of over 80 years, she never adapted to learn how to drive a car.
    Over time, one generation after another has gained a little more American into them. My grandparents became more American than their parents who came from Russia. My grandparents grew up in America, unlike their parents. This caused my grandparents the learn to speak English without a foreign accent and also adapt to some American customs. One big thing that my grandparents picked up was American football and other sports. They became huge fans of American football, which only exists in America, as well as learning how to play “The American Game” of baseball. These cultural traits were then passed down to my parents and then me and my sister. I am a big mixture of the culture my great grandfather brought and the other cultures brought to America by people from other countries. The melting pot expresses my culture while living in America. I have many pieces of culture from all over the world, as well as right here in America. I do activities that are not just American because America is a big mixture of cultures from all around the globe.

  12. Matéo Milanini

    I, myself, am a first generation immigrant, being born in France and coming to America 7 years ago. With this, I can say that I have witnessed multiple of these immigration theories, here in Michigan. In fact, when I first came, I lived in Bloomfield Hills, close to the French school, and realized that most of the other French immigrants were also clumped together in this area, as described in the Cultural Pluralism theory. This is very interesting, because I see this a lot more, especially with Mexican immigrants in the Southern states who tend to form whole immigrant neighborhoods. Another thing with the naturalization of immigrants that I have observed with the French community is that a lot will start only talking English, even with friends who are also French. I myself talk English to all my friends but am still fluent in French and speak it at home. I think overall, there is a very visible difference between immigrants in Elementary and Middle schools, and High school, because the older they get, the more they will be exposed to native Americans and will be pulled toward forgetting their culture and language. For second generation, native born immigrants, it is once again different, however, since these kids will most likely speak English as their first language and have all American friends, being pushed away even more from their culture. Relating to the Melting Pot, I think there is a lot of mixing up that happens, which is good to see. In fact, when I visited the Death Valley, we met an American-French couple, with the man being a first generation French immigrant. This is very interesting to see, because it shows that America is able to welcome immigrants and live just like the others if they wish. This acceptance of different cultures and mixing them is most likely a result of America being a land of immigrants.

  13. Eli

    Example one: My grandfather on my Mother’s side

    Immigration Theory: Anglo Conformity

    My Grandfather was born in Hungary in February of 1936, he lived in a Jewish household in eastern europe. In Hungary, the people hated and committed violent acts against Jewish people even before the Nazis came. My grandfather told stories of how people in his community, especially older children, would attack him. My grandfather was lucky and his parents knew that the Nazis would come and it would be bad, so they went into hiding before most of the other Jewish families and this allowed the entire family to survive. My grandfather and his family grew up well to do and had connections so they were able to move around and stay hidden, when the war ended in eastern europe, there was nothing left for them so they headed west to england where they caught a plane to canada and took a train to new york where they became citizens at Ellis Island. My grandfather was forced to change his name from Moscovic to Green and his family moved to Pickney michigan. My grandpa’s family went from a very wealthy family to dirt poor farmers very quickly. At the time that my grandfather arrived in Pinckney, he was 12 so he was enrolled in school immediately. My grandpa told stories about how the teachers knew that he couldn’t understand English very well and would beat him with objects ranging from thin bamboo sticks to full on canes. The kids were no better as they would all assault him just because he was different. Furthermore I vividly remember one story about how when My grandfather would get an answer wrong he would be forced to kneel on corn kernels for hours at a time while the other students would pick on him. There are many other stories about how the W.A.S.P. the majority would do harm to my immigrant grandfather, however the best part is that we just celebrated his 88th birthday and he is now enjoying life and free from much of the anglo supremacist actions from others in his childhood.

    Example two: My Elementary School Classmate

    Immigration Theory: Melting Pot

    In elementary school, I had a classmate, his name was Daniel, Daniel came here from Pakistan. I didn’t really know anything about his life before coming here but when he arrived, naturally he didn’t really know anybody and when we met we got along. As time went on he started to become Americanized, but I will never forget the first time that I went over to his house for dinner. It was a really cool experience for me because I love food and especially trying new foods so I got to experience some traditional Pakistani food which was all really good. This is a minute example of a melting pot because Daniel over time gained an American identity, however he shared part of his culture with me and I just thought that that was really cool.

  14. Libby Knoper

    Both my dad’s side of the family and my mom’s side of the family were immigrants, both came through Ellis Island and both had their last names changed when they came to America. My dad’s Mom and Dad came through Ellis Island in the 3rd wave of immigration, they both came here for economic reasons. My Grandma’s family came from the Netherlands, and my Grandpa’s family came from the Netherlands and Germany. My 4 great-grandparents came through from my Grandpa’s side. On my Grandma’s side, my 3 to 4 great-grandparents came. My family found out that Knoper was German as well as Dutch, we always thought my dad was 100% Dutch when he was Dutch and German. My mom’s dad’s side (LaRue) originally came from Luxembourg, then there was a scandal and they fled to France. Once they got to France, the original spelling went from Laroux to LaRue. From France, the family went to Ellis Island. This side of my family came during the 2nd wave of immigration. My mom’s mom’s side (Fricke) immigrated from Germany around the 1920s in the middle of the third and latest wave of immigration starting in the 1960s. Only one person from my Grandmother’s side came through Ellis Island. My grandma’s grandfather (my 2 great-grandfather) came to New Jersey, moved in with my great-great-grandmother, and got a job. He then met my great-great-grandmother and got married. He came by ship. William Illg (who was the grandfather who came) had 3 children, one of those children got married, became a Fricke, and had 11 children. My grandmother had 10 aunts and uncles only on one side of her family. The only theory that my family can connect to was the Melting Pot. The Knoper side thought there was more economic advantage in America rather than in the Netherlands and Germany. I haven’t experienced any theories but I have seen Cultural Pluralism. I see neighborhoods that have a majority of the same race, religion, or language. My dad grew up in a mostly white-Dutch community and my mom grew up in a white-Pennsylvania Dutch community next to the Amish. I didn’t see Cultural Pluralism in my neighborhood until I moved to the house I’m living in now, we were the only white kids in the neighborhood. But I had the opportunity to learn about different backgrounds. I don’t have lots of information about my family’s experiences of coming to this country but I do know how they came here and where and I’m glad that I got this opportunity to learn more about my heritage.

  15. Hadley Kostello

    My family have both experienced Anglo-Conformity and Cultural Pluralism. My Grandfather on my Mom’s side was snuck into America from Romania during World War II. His father was a successful plane engineer, making fighter jets such as IAR-80. When arriving in America, they were given immediate citizenship and quickly had to adjust to the different lifestyle. Both of my great grandparents were highly educated–for Romania–and spoke several languages, including English. They quickly gave up Romanian and spoke English in their home, adhering to the English lifestyle. Additionally, my Grandpa changed his name to satisfy his America counterparts, going from Mircea Grossu to John Mircea Grossu. This cultural erasion to fit into the American lifestyle is also seen on my fathers side. When his father came to America, our Croatian last name was quickly changed to attain easier jobs and face less oppression. We went from Kostelić to Kostello–attempting to mimic a common Italian last name, “Costello.” Both of these instances represent the deletion of my cultural identity to fit within the American standards.
    I see cultural pluralism with the surrounding areas of our community. For instance, there is a high French population in our community. This is mainly due to the Detroit French School running through our school district. Though, this easily depicts the cultural pluralism in our area with the French community. Other areas where this is seen is Dearborn and Hamtramck. Personally, I find positives in cultural pluralism, and even wish I was able to experience this. It is amazing how these cultural groups are able to maintain their traditions and language, all while being in a completely different country. Today, Cultural Pluralism is often referred to as ethnic neighborhoods. Though, many of these ethnic neighborhoods struggle financially. Importantly the spirit and culture still thrives, showing the vast cultural diversity in this country.

  16. Mia R

    When my grandparents came to America from Italy, they didn’t know English and were very immersed in Italian culture. They both came over when they were very young, and as they grew up, they lost parts of their culture. Because of this, my dad is even less immersed in the culture and although he can understand and speak some Italian, he isn’t fluent like my grandparents. My sisters, my cousins and I, as the third generation, don’t speak any Italian. My family still follows some Italian traditions such as eating seafood for our Christmas Eve dinner. We also tend to eat more traditional Italian food when my family is with my grandparents or at family gatherings. We still know about Italian culture and are partly immersed in it, but we don’t speak Italian at our house. Another example of immigration theory that I have noticed is cultural pluralism, nationally, but also locally. Major cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Seattle and San Francisco have things like Chinatown, Little Tokyo or Little Italy. These towns are made to feel like the country they represent, having cultural food, shops, etc. However, some cities are dominated by certain ethnic groups, races, or religions. Some local examples of this would be Dearbon, Troy and West Bloomfield. Dearborn has one of the highest concentrations of Arab-Americans in the nation. In Dearborn many businesses are owned by Arabic people. Troy is populated by many Asian-Americans across the city. West Bloomfield and Bloomfield are where many of the Jewish people who live around here live. There are also larger city examples of this. For example, Miami, Florida has a high population of people from Latin or Hispanic descent. These communities are typically referred to as ethnic neighborhoods, and thought of as places where people of certain descents can live together.

  17. Robert Morgan

    I think one of the most prominent types of these Immigration theories is cultural plagiarism, and just in Michigan we can see a lot of these areas. Areas in Metro Detroit like the Mexican/Latino population and their restaurants and stores, as well as the German population in Frankenmuth. These areas with certain populations where immigrants would stick together usually also have those types of restaurants and stores, implementing their culture into ours, just like the theory of the Melting Pot. The area most related to me is Dearborn with its middle eastern population, where my grandmother used to live as a child back then. My Grandmothers GRANDPARENTS were immigrants from where Lebanon now is, although she was born here. Her grandparents went to Ellis Island by boat, they had to stay there in quarantine for at least 2 months to make sure they weren’t sick, and then they were segregated by their towns. While my grandma lived in Dearborn probably around 14,15,16 years old, the population was mostly just Lebanese, with some other Arab countries. Back then, the Yemenites did not like the Lebanese and there were a lot of fights between them, so they took over 2 of their churches, in the North and South ends. When my grandma was a teen, the south end of Dearborn was so bad and violent with these fights that she wasn’t even allowed down there, and the only way she could go was with her parents. Now, the Lebanese and Arabs from the old country mostly moved to the West end of Dearborn. Nowadays, most of America has a melting pot of different cultures and ethnicities, almost anywhere you go you will find different towns or areas with different immigrant populations, and even the United States’s culture is a melting pot, like our school system, our holidays, and even our food.

  18. Lana O

    From what I have seen when it comes to me personally, I see one of the biggest immigration theory I come across more often is the Superiority. Yes, we have many different cultures and traditions in America. Which is one of the many things that makes America so unique, but it also seems to be forceful when it comes to making others comply with their modern ways of living. I can see this plainly when it comes to my family specifically. I carry an Irish last name, which is where on my dads side many of my ancestors came from. Not only do I have the last name but I also carry many of the physical characteristics that the Irish had, like very pale skin, freckles , blonde-reddish hair, and light eye colored. Contrary to stereotypes, Ireland is not the land of redheads, sorry to burst your bubble. But where as many have blonde hair (like my dad) but some do fit into that red hair category (like my uncle and to and extend, myself included.) My mom’s side, I have English (to Canada and eventually the U.S) and majority German (which is also where I get my paleness and light colored eyes). What I have seen growing up was the definite detachment of culture when it came to the Irish and German side. Their cultural and traditional ways were too different when it came to America’s sort of normal. Not only their cultural ways but their Religious ones as well when it came to Catholicism. The efforts of Americanizing and Anti-Catholic culture ways, eventually wore down on them, as not much of any Irish or German culture, traditions or language got passed down to me or my sister. What I worry most about is completely losing that as if we both in the future were to have our last names changed, our last name stops with me and her completely. Which present time follows into the Melting Pot, as time went on with more generations learning english and not practicing their native language, it soon became irrelevant to use it at all. That also seemed to follow with their traditions, as becoming an American seemed to take over the importance of their own culture. What I can see now and how the Irish influenced America, was the establishments of pubs and bars that are “Irish” themed. Take Duggan’s and Brady’s Tavern that have certain Irish Esq. decor. While I may not know much about my past ancestors, I am determined to learn more about it and educate myself on how I can spark cultures and traditions to keep them alive in my life.

  19. Daphne Breen

    My Mom is an immigrant, who moved here from Europe, (she is from Brussels, Belgium but she traveled with a professional dance company all over) to live with my Dad. It was much easier for her to move to the United States because she already knew English, and she was able to open her own business with more ease compared to Europe. Along with English, she is also fluent in French and Dutch, and after many years in the United States, her European accent has faded. This can be seen as part of the melting pot theory, as today, I am told it’s still prominent by many others, however, I don’t notice it because I grew up around it. The melting pot theory is prevalent here for many reasons. When she first came to the United States, my Mom was very determined to try every single type of cereal they had in stores(Lucky Charms, froot loops, and whatever crazy sweet stuff there is), as well as other types of foods, because it was very different from what she was used to. This was one of many culture shocks for her, but over time this changed her way of doing things and assimilated her into American culture. At the same time, Cultural Pluralism can be seen as well. An example of this is how my family celebrates Christmas. Similar to how my Mom grew up, we make a bigger deal of Christmas Eve rather than Christmas morning, and of course, eat some good cheese because it’s not a holiday in my house without cheese. Another example of cultural pluralism is the United State’s tendency to sell or offer extremely large quantities of a lot of things, including at restaurants. Here, if we don’t finish a plate or a drink at a restaurant it is ok, but my Mom grew up in a culture where if you buy it you finish it. When she first started living in America, specifically New York, she and my Dad went to an arcade of sorts, that also served food. My mom, wanting to try everything, asked for a cherry Coke, and revived a two-liter bottle of it. My Mom almost started crying because she knew she would never be able to finish it, and my Dad explained to her that she didn’t have to. To this day she prefers to finish or completely use the things she buys, and has taught her children to do the same.

  20. Maggie W

    Part of my family’s history is my great grandmother Erna Pries who came from Germany to America through Ellis Island. Erna’s parents came to the United States first and sent for her after they arrived. When she came over on the boat she was alone and was just 16; I am 16 years old and I cannot imagine being in her shoes. A few years ago I visited Ellis Island and was able to tour the building and learn about the immigration center like we have in class. We found my great grandmother’s name inscribed on the metal panels at Ellis Island and we were able to make a rubbing of the engraving. It was very interesting to me to be standing in the same place my great grandmother had, even if I didn’t know her I felt connected to my family history, and the millions of people who immigrated through that very building.
    When I asked my dad he said he believed our family was like the Melting Pot theory of immigration because his Oma would speak German and cook German dishes for celebrations and holidays they spent together but also incorporated new American ways.
    A second example goes with the theory of cultural pluralism because in communities around where we live such as a large city like Detroit there is evidence of the cultures that populated and settled the area. Hamtramck is a good example of cultural pluralism in a city near us. Hamtramck had a large Polish cultural identity because of discrimination against Polish people, after a while the culture changed and is now primarily Middle Eastern. Similarly in many cities there are places such as Chinatown and Mexicantown, cities which originate from Cultural Pluralism. These cities exemplify the Mixed Salad theory of immigration because of how people join together in America and “mix” but their culture remains intact.

  21. Ashlyn

    I would say that I have definitely seen Cultural Pluralism and Anglo-Conformity in my life at school and outside of school. The idea of Anglo-Conformity and the Anglo-American institutions try to americanize people into the “American Culture” and away from the immigrants culture and traditions to make them forget who they are and where they came from. It also takes away from the pasts of immigrants and always shows America in a better light that it should be. I see this in school because when learning history in earlier grades, we learn how amazing of a country we supposedly live in and they sugar coat our past and specifically the bad things that have taken place that have been America’s fault. I have also seen Cultural Pluralism and definitely understand it. I understand wanting to stay with similar people that look like you or have common things as you because it makes it a more comfortable environment to be in. I have seen this in different parts of the country that I have traveled to but have never taken the time to think of why this is or how they chose the place that they are now.
    I have always been curious about where im from and where my family has come from to get here we are today. From asking around, it sounds like my Great Grandma Jerry, who is my Grammies mom, came from Irelad when she was a little girl. So that would make me a little bit Irish. Also, when I asked on my dads side, my grandfather told me that a distant relative was an English Red Coat across the ocean. Apparently he never fought here in the war but came after we achieved our independence away from England. Hopefully someday I will take a test to fully understand where I am from.

  22. Kabir Kapur

    As someone who moved to America from India in the first grade, I have experienced first-hand how it feels to settle in to America. I have also heard stories from my parents on their experiences settling in. One of the immigration theories that I have personally seen in America is the Melting Pot theory. I see this theory everyday through the culture of my homeland and American culture blending together. For example, while my parents and I speak Hindi, we often find ourselves slipping in English words to complete sentences. On the other hand, sometimes while speaking English, my parents need to find a filler word and refer back to their native language to find it. Another example of the melting pot theory is seen through holidays and celebrations. For example, in India, my family would celebrate things such as Diwali (The Festival of Light). When we moved here, we brought that tradition with us, but we also integrated American holidays into our practices such as Thanksgiving. Before we came here, we had no idea what Thanksgiving even was. Another cultural theory I have seen is cultural pluralism. When we moved here, we lived in Novi. I noticed that my parents still often go to Novi or Troy to hang out with their friends. Something I’ve realized is that in all of these places, the Indian-American population is very high. I’ve also noticed this in Chicago every time I visit. This is also a reason that my parents love going to Chicago at least once a year. Because of this, every time I go to any one of these places, I see Indian restaurants and Indian grocery stores that represent our culture and show how many Indians clump together in certain groups that are based on language, culture, and region.

  23. Charlisa Penzak

    I believe that all of these immigration theories are true to some extent and coincide with each other. It also largely differs on a case-by-case basis, and there is a lot of nuance depending on the specific culture or time of immigration. My family is almost entirely made up of immigrants. My mother is an immigrant from Thailand, and just became naturalized this year. I’ve seen the Cultural Pluralism theory because when we first moved here, my mother was isolated from her culture and language. Since then, she has found close friends in other Thai immigrant mothers, and we frequently meet at large Thai social gatherings. Even though there isn’t a large Thai population in Michigan, the shared cultural heritage has brought them together. Even as a mixed Thai-American child, I’ve made close friendships with the children in that group because we have similar backgrounds. Immigrants who come to America can sometimes feel isolated, especially if they don’t speak English or understand American customs. I think that the presence of other people who come from the same native culture can make them feel more comfortable, which is why immigrants like to cluster in groups. For example, there is a large Chinese/Indian population in Troy, Arab population in Dearborn, and there are Chinatowns (or similar cultural gatherings) in large cities. My dad’s side of the family is also made up of immigrants. Two of my great-grandparents came from mostly eastern Europe (Poland, Czechoslovakia) in the 3rd wave of immigration. They experienced Anglo-conformity and cultural assimilation: my last name was originally spelled Pençzak, but it was Americanized to Penzak when they first arrived. They also spoke Polish, but they didn’t pass it on. My family has largely lost connection to our Polish culture except for celebrating Paczki day and occasionally making Pierogis or eating Polish sausage. My other great grandmother came from England, while my great-grandfather was Native and Canadian. In fact, there’s a story passed down in my family that we are descended from a line of Chiefs from the Blackfoot Tribe – until a daughter of a chief married a Canadian, giving birth to my great (great?) grandfather. We weren’t sure if this was true until we took a DNA test and found that we indeed had heritage from the Blackfoot tribe (although whether we actually had any relation to the chief is uncertain: we have no written records, just the story passed down). The melting pot theory is also true — my dad somehow has heritage from all over Europe: Poland + England primarily, but also Scandinavia and even France/Italy. If you ask an American about their ethnicity, they’ll likely list multiple countries/ethnicities — not just one. I think that the fusion of cultures is what makes America so unique, and it’s interesting to see how the cultural remnants of our immigrant ancestors still affect us today.

  24. Max s

    My family descent on both sides is German and as a first generation American I have seen many examples of all of these types of Immigration and Assimilation theories. I feel like I see the Melting Pot every day. No matter where you go everyday you are always going to run into people who have different beliefs than you, people of other races, ethnicities, nationalities etc. This country has been built off of countless numbers of other traditions and customs and has implemented these into our lives. I think a great example of the Melting Pot is when you visit a big city like New York and Chicago and you can see all the different cultures blended together within a few miles. You can try foods from every part of the world and see art and clothes from different countries and cultures. You meet so many new people from all over the world and it truly does shape the way America is today because it manages to blend all cultures together.

    I also see many examples of Cultural Pluralism. When I went to San Francisco over midwinter break I realized that they aswell as countless many other cities have different parts of the city where a huge population of one nationality/ethnicity reside and where there is an abundance of stores and restaurants from a specific culture. I’ve seen this with Chinatowns and Latino Districts of cities where it makes it easier for these people to live and work since it’s a smaller community made up in a city which functions with the help of each other. I see this in a less expansive way also, because my parents have found a close group of German and European friends that live in the area that they usually gravitate to instead of finding new American friends. I think that it helps create a tighter community and to make it feel like a home away from home for many of these people and I know that’s why my parents find comfort in friends from Germany.

  25. Ella K

    On my mom’s side of the family we have found in our research that most of her family came to America and Canada during the first wave of immigration, from France, Ireland, and England, and that there is some Native American ancestry from the Huron and Cherokke nations. I think that this is an example of the melting pot theory since over generations the culture of those who originally immigrated has been lost and forgotten, to the point where we did not know where we were from without doing research. On my dad’s side his family immigrated during the third wave of immigration. My grandpa’s grandparents were immigrants who came to the United States from Hungary and Poland, and my Grandma’s parents were immigrants from Poland. My grandma told me about examples of Anglo Conformity and Cultural Pluralism from when she was growing up as a first generation American. When my grandmother was born her parents gave her the Polish name, Janina (pronounced Yanina), but when she went to Catholic school the nuns who taught her refused to say her name and switched it to Janina with a J sound, and eventually shortened it to Jane, which she continued to go by through college and her career. Her parents’ last name had already been modified to become easier to pronounce when they came through Ellis Island, and my grandma told me she had many friends whose last names were changed to become easier to pronounce, or shortened to become simpler. When my grandma was growing up she also attended a Polish church where most of the children were also first generation Americans. She took classes there where they were taught how to read and write in Polish, and also learned traditional Polish dances where they wore traditional Polish clothing, and as a way to continue and pass on the culture of where their families immigrated from even once in the United States.

  26. Vishwa Charabuddi

    As a first-generation Indian-American, I’ve witnessed elements of both the melting pot and cultural pluralism theories within my own family and community. One example of the melting pot theory in action within my family is evident in our cuisine. While my parents and older relatives were born and raised in India, they have adapted traditional Indian recipes to include ingredients and cooking techniques from American cuisine. This culinary fusion represents the melting pot ethos, where diverse cultural elements come together to create something new and uniquely American. On the other hand, cultural pluralism is apparent in the way my family maintains connections to our Indian heritage while embracing American culture. Despite being born and raised in the United States, my parents have made a concerted effort to pass down our Indian traditions, language, and values to me and my siblings. We celebrate Indian festivals like Diwali and Holi, speak our native language at home, and participate in cultural events within the Indian-American community. Additionally, my parents have instilled in us a deep appreciation for diversity and respect for different cultures, encouraging us to embrace our Indian identity while also appreciating and learning from other cultures. Furthermore, I’ve heard stories from my older relatives about their experiences immigrating to the United States, which reflect both the challenges of assimilation and the resilience of cultural identity. Despite facing barriers like language barriers and cultural differences, they found support within their ethnic communities and sought to preserve their heritage while adapting to American society. These stories illustrate the complexities of the immigrant experience and the ongoing negotiation between assimilation and cultural preservation.

  27. Chloe Nemeth

    One immigration theory that I can relate to is the melting pot. My Papou (Grandpa) came to the United States from Greece where he lived for his whole life. At the time of coming here, he only spoke a bit of English and he and my Nana had to change a lot and fit into society. When my Papou and Nana moved to the United States they moved to Ypsilanti and had my mom and aunt in the United States. My Nana and Papou contributed to the community by sharing their Greek food and traditions with my mom and aunt’s friends. I still celebrate Greek Easter and all the traditions every year with my Nana. Another theory I have seen is Anglo-Conformity. My Nana lived in Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Greece, and Italy, and when she moved here she experienced many people telling her what she needed to change about herself. One story that my Nana told me about her childhood stuck with me. When she moved to the United States at age 12, she attended her first day of 7th grade. When her teacher walked in the room she quickly stood up, all the kids laughed at her but she didn’t know why. My Nana was used to always having to stand up when a person of authority entered the room, and she didn’t know any difference until she moved to the United States. I have heard many stories from my Nana about her time traveling the world and living in so many different places. She has told me stories about when she lived in Egypt, at one point she had two pet cheetahs, and she has many pictures of her as a kid with them. My Nana speaks, French, English, Greek, and a little bit of Spanish. I’ve also been told by my dad that my last name, Nemeth, is very popular in Hungary and that my ancestors came to the United States a very long time ago.

  28. Josh Peltz

    As you’ve grown up, you’ve probably come to realize that America is a land of immigrants; you may be the first generation of your family born here in the United States. In this blog response, describe at least two examples of where you’ve seen or experienced at least two of these three immigration theories in action. Talk to your family and ask older relatives about what kinds of stories have been told about the history of your family. If applicable, please include your own family’s stories in your response.

    I have seen the Cultural Pluralism theory in action many times in today’s age. I have seen this theory specifically with the Jewish people. Growing up as a Jew, I went to summer camps made up of mostly other Jews. I have noticed that Jewish people tend to stick together and also often send their kids to overnight summer camps made up of mostly Jews. The same goes for other religions, such as Christianity, which often has church camps. Another instance of Cultural Pluralism being in play is within small towns in which their population is dominated by mostly one ethnic group. For example, the town Dearborn is made up of mostly Arabs, Bloomfield Hills is made a lot of Jews, Grosse Point has a lot of Christians, and Detroit has a majority of African Americans. The other theory, Melting Pot, is also seen in today’s age. I would say the Melting Pot theory has affected almost every American who has immigrated to the U.S. to a certain degree. For example, Chinese food, Mediterranean food, and many other foods from other countries that are in America have been altered to fit American culture and taste interests, often reducing unique spices and flavors from other countries. The melting pot theory has been used to change the clothing and appearance of many ethnic groups. For example, my great-great-grandfather, a Jew from Poland, had a long beard and Jewish hair but had to cut the hair when he came to America partly to assimilate and escape anti-semitism. My family came from Poland and Czechoslovakia and has experienced the melting pot theory as I mentioned but also the Cultural Pluralism theory as well. One of my great-great-grandfathers was a Carpenter from Poland who went to the U.S. to send money back to his family but didn’t bring his family with him. However, his wife died, and his son, my great-grandfather was 4 and he and his brother had to be taken care of by their 12-year-old sister. Then when my great-grandfather was 16, his dad brought him and his family to Boston where he had been working. However, his father had been re-married and his wife didn’t want the kids so the kids got jobs as cooks. Then my great-grandfather moved to Detroit for a job in an automotive factory. He had experienced antisemitism in Poland and Detroit, even though there was less in America. Back in Poland, he had been thrown off a bridge at 8 by other non-Jewish kids because he was Jewish. And in America, he was called Rabbi by the other factory workers none of whom were Jewish. However as part of the Cultural Pluralism theory, outside of work he lived in an area with a lot of Jews and immigrants and tried to keep as much of his religion as he could, while he had to become mostly Americanized and had to learn English and get rid of the culture of him from Poland.

  29. Margaux Nollet

    1)One of the immigration theories that I have seen and experienced is cultural pluralism. For example, in order to attend the French School of Detroit, French immigrants need to live within the Birmingham Public Schools district. As a result, they often end up living in close-knit neighborhoods. Plus, many families who move here don’t speak English fluently, so they naturally gravitate towards the other French families. This isn’t just because of the language barrier but also because they share similar experiences and many work at the same places, making it easy to relate to one another. Another instance where I have seen this is at school. At my old elementary school, we had ESL classes, which stands for English as a Second Language. We would go to this class while American kids learned grammar, spelling, and reading, and since most students in ESL were French and were beginners, we usually ended up becoming close friends and stayed together. However, this theory can also be observed in major cities with neighborhoods like Chinatowns and Koreatowns, where immigrants from those communities tend to go shopping or sometimes live to stay connected to their culture and language.

    2) Another theory that I have seen is the melting pot theory. For instance, one of my friend’s dad is American, while her mom immigrated to Michigan from France. Her and her sisters weren’t taught French and didn’t celebrate any French holidays; instead, they celebrated American ones such as Thanksgiving and Independence Day. Another aspect of American culture that they adopted was traditional American cuisine and their meal times. In America, people, for the most part, eat early; for example, they eat dinner at around 6 p.m., while in France, we eat it at around 9 p.m. However, as I have lived here for many years now, I’ve noticed my family gradually adopting certain parts of American culture too. For instance, we dress more casually and celebrate certain holidays and sports events now, such as Thanksgiving and the Super Bowl.

  30. Logan Albritton

    We’ve moved five times since I was born and lived in three different states. The places I remember the most are here, and Illinois. When we moved here, even in fourth grade, I noticed that there were a lot more Jewish people here compared to Decatur Illinois, where I used to live. When we would drive around, I saw more temples for Jewish worship and at school more people celebrated Jewish holidays, like Hanukkah and Yom Kippur. So much so, that they talked about it over the P.A. system and teachers weren’t allowed to give homework on those days for the people observing. This is an example of cultural pluralism. More Jewish people came here for whatever reason, as compared to Illinois. Here, people are free to worship however they want, and not forced to forget about their culture and their values. The second thing I’ve seen is how the Irish immigrants in Pennsylvania changed the way the culture there is. I have relatives in Pennsylvania and I know from them that St. Patrick’s Day is a big holiday there. We were there one year and they made us a bunch of Irish food, which was super fun and enlightening. Everyone dresses in green, goes out to bars, and there’s even a parade in Philadelphia dedicated to it. They’ve told me all about how fun it is and how much they love it. This is an example of the melting pot theory. The Irish culture from immigrants in Pennsylvania, caused the culture to combine and change, becoming more than just one or the other. Everyone comes and celebrates St. Patrick’s Day there and it is a way for multiple cultures to build off one another. This also happens in New York, with the biggest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the country being held there.

  31. Safiya Mahmood

    As a first generation American I’ve witnessed many of these theories. My parents came in 1999. My dad came from Pakistan and my mom from Belarus. Growing up I mainly embraced my mother’s culture as my father wasn’t embracing his. Coming to the US from Pakistan he faced the Anglo conformity theory. He checked off the box white when filling out any forms, he even went by the name “Max” instead of Azar, in feeling the need to conform with this new society. Especially during 9/11 with some people having strong feelings towards Muslims he completely abandoned this part of his life. Due to my Dad’s suppression of his culture I grew up with a mix of American and Belarusian culture. I celebrated all the normal American traditions like Labor Day, Independence Day, Christmas, etc… I still celebrate Belarusian traditions like New Years and Orthodox Easter. I don’t speak Belarusian but I do know a good amount of Russian and still visited my family every summer when I was younger. My mother made sure I kept up with her traditions and language from back home but she also has forgotten some Russian words and only knows them in English now.This mix of cultures that I embrace is similar to the Cultural Pluralism theory. My mom told me about my great grandfather’s older brother who came to the United states through Ellis Island from Belarus. He started his life in the United States as a factory worker in New York then slowly built his wealth, and married a polish american and moved to California. When he came back to visit his younger brother and family, my grandmother remembered him talking about America as a melting pot “where people with different backgrounds can make a new life.” His children and grandchildren adopted American culture. His kids barely spoke Belarusian and they started celebrating American holidays, leaving behind their culture. His grandchildren ended up not even knowing any Belarusian.

  32. Kaylen C.

    Anglo Conformity-
    Around 1938 my Great-Grandma Dorthy immigrated to the United States from Poland as a young Jewish girl with her family to escape the horrors of World War 2 that were becoming more apparent in the area that she lived in as time passed. In Poland, they spoke Polish and had different ways that they lived their lives. They practiced many traditions that were hard to carry into the United States. She was still in school at this time, we believe around middle school or high school, and she told my father and my grandmother stories of how hard it was for her and her parents especially to learn English and to learn the different customs that were here compared to their home in Poland. She told them that it was hard for her to make friends when she first came here because of the language barrier and that schooling became a lot more difficult for her as well. Since then up until her passing, she spoke Polish at home with her parents but outside of her home, she had to learn English and completely change how she was used to living her life prior to coming to the United States. My dad told me stories of how she told him that it felt impossible for her to live in the United States without changing who she was and becoming “more American” in order to feel like she fit in and could live here.

    Cultural Pluralism-
    Around 1926 my Great-Grandpa Herman moved from Poland to the United States when he was 10 years old. His family came for the new life that had been advertised and talked about in America. His family and he came through Ellis Island and moved to New York. There they stayed in an area of New York where predominantly Jewish families moved after immigrating to the United States. They didn’t have much money and his father worked making bread and baking in New York up until they moved. He and his family lived there for around 10 years before they moved to the Detroit area. Our family has lived here since, and my great-grandpa went on to work in the Detroit area selling insurance up until he retired. This is an example of cultural pluralism because of the place that my great- grandfather first moved to in New York when he and his family first came to the United States, it was a place where many Jewish people who immigrated to America lived.

  33. Rocco firth

    One example of the immigration I experienced first hand was when I lived in waterford. My neighbors were an Italian and Swedish couple who had a huge family that would always come over to their house for dinner every so often. We would have parties at our house and invite them over. They would tell us stories about how their families came to America and that one of their grandparents had come in the early 1900s. I was only around 4 at the time so I don’t remember much but my father has told me what he remembers and how they explained it to us. They explained that their grandparents came from Italy in the early 1900s and started a family in Massachusetts before having their parents in the mid 40s and moving to New York. They lived there for a while then when he and his sister were born they moved to Michigan where he met his Italian wife, who was also from New York. This shows the melting pot. Another example of these immigrants happening in the early 1900s are my family’s history. I come from a lot of Scottish, Irish, and Mexicans, most of whom immigrated here due to the potato famine in Ireland, or for the same reasons most of the other immigrants came here. I know this because of ancestry that my mother has filled out, and most of my family on my dads side can be traced back to Ireland and Scotland up until the 1860s-1920s, which we assumed is when they migrated to America. MOst of them live now in Tennessee and some in michigan. On my moms side, most of my family can be traced back to Guatemala and surrounding areas up until the 1910s. They then migrated and began to live in Colorado and then eventually moved to Michigan and Wisconsin. Now most of my moms side lives in Detroit and some parts of Texas. I think the fact that most of my family has stayed together for so long with other mexicans/scottish people that it could be used as an example of cultural pluralism.

  34. Em Rito

    As we discussed in class when we were first introduced to what happened during the third wave of immigration, Hamtramck is a great example of Cultural Pluralism, Cultural Pluralism being the idea that people of the same culture/race/ideologies/religion will bond together for benefits and comfort. Considering that Hamtramck’s population was all primarily Polish to begin with and stayed that way for a considerably long time for switching to be a different example of Cultural Pluralism built on Islamic people, it is a great example of people of the same ethnicity and belief banding together to create an environment that is comfortable for them and that allows them to stay close to their culture and keep the next generations of their family in a safe space that keeps them connected. Overall, Michigan is a great example of Cultural Pluralism, considering that we have such a high population of Jewish people because a large number of Jewish people came up north, together.

    Another thing that was more heavily implemented in the United States during the third wave of immigration was the idea of the Melting Pot. The Melting Pot was an idea that all ethnicities found in the U.S. are kind of melding together and combining and being shown in every human because we are all taking on different parts of other cultures due to all of the waves of immigration. Good examples of this are food. I know that this is an absurd idea, but the combination of either ‘American’ cuisine and Chinese or Chinese and Mexican that I have seen recently is incredible. Places like Disney have even included things like ‘cheeseburger egg rolls’ or ‘crab rangoon nachos’ in different restaurants and food carts around their parks, showing how the U.S. is truly combining all different cultures together, not just through food, but in every aspect of life.

  35. Isabella Franco

    Cultural pluralism is the most prominent immigration theory that I have noticed in Michigan. An example that is specific to my family is the story of my great grandparents. Both of my grandmas’ (moms side) parents came from Italy. They took a ship to the United States and settled in Pennsylvania. From my research, I’ve learned that Pennsylvania was an extremely common spot for Italian immigrants to settle, and Pennsylvania still has a very high Italian population. Similarly, in our area of Michigan, there are certain areas where groups of people are more prominent such as the large middle eastern population in West Bloomfield. Detroit is also an area with a large population of immigrants, and this is where I notice the melting pot theory. What comes to my mind first is Mexicantown, where authentic Mexican culture is preserved through restaurants and art. Going back to my family’s story, my grandma (moms side) told me a story about her father that perfectly demonstrates the melting pot theory. My great grandpa’s mother passed away when he was young, and he and his siblings were left to learn to raise themselves. Their neighbors, who were Polish women, taught my great grandpa and his siblings how to cook traditional Polish foods. My great grandpa passed these recipes down to my grandma, who continues to buy and cook Polish foods. So, even though we are not Polish, we still cook and eat traditional Polish foods alongside traditional Italian foods, a perfect example of the fusing of cultures. The melting pot theory is extremely prominent in our area of Michigan. We are extremely lucky to live in a diverse area where we are able to immerse ourselves in different cultures. The first thing that comes to my mind is food. There are plenty of authentic restaurants that showcase the cuisines of different cultures (like in Mexicantown).

  36. Camelia

    Cultural Pluralism
    Growing up my mother was only friends with other Muslims and mostly Middle Eastern women. My father similar to her was only friends with French men. Both my parents are immigrants and so are my two older brothers. My sister and I are the only native-born Americans in our family, and my direct family is the only one living in the US out of my whole family. Growing up my parents didn’t know about the same things my white friend’s parents knew. They didn’t know what a daddy-daughter dance was or why I wanted to have a sleepover so bad. As I grew up I realized my parents were very different from all of my friend’s parental figures. My parents even once they moved here always stuck to what they knew and who they were comfortable. This is my direct experience with the cultural pluralism theory. I grew up only hearing Arabic, smelling warak 3nab (a Middle Eastern and Arabic dish), and seeing women in hijabs when I went to my mom’s friends house. When I would see my dad’s friends they tended to be white French men who also were immigrants from France. Yes, my parents stayed true to their religion and culture even after immigrating here, they still have acclimated to the American culture the longer they’ve been here. They speak English pretty well although having an accent, learning the new social norms, and holidays. This is how I’ve personally seen cultural pluralism in action when referring to immigration to America.

    Anglo conformity
    Over the years ive realized my parents code switch and change the ways they act, talk, express their opinions around white christian people. Especially my mom. My mother being from North Africa is a vastly different culturally from the culture here in America. The same with my Dad whos from France, but in different ways. My parents both make sure that they dont speak arabic or french around certain people as to give people less reasons to think differently of them and me and my siblings. Ive noticed that growing up my parents thought that my sister and I would want to stick more to our american side since we were born here. When talking to my mom about our culture she was surprised to find out i was proud of my Algerian side. I think this has been a result of many things in America. The lack of understanding of cultures outside of North America, different languages, religions, etc.

  37. danedimmer

    I think America as a nation has many different theories on immigration because of the sheer amount of immigrants that have come to this country over its almost 300 year existence. I’ve seen cultural pluralism theory in places like Hamtramck and Dearborn who tend to have a big Arab population but also have a decent amount of Slavic people too. I think the reason this theory is popular is because it’s easy for immigrants to assimilate into the country with people who speak the same language they speak, follow the same religion they follow, and have the same culture as them, it makes the journey for them feel like they aren’t alone and also helps to keep their customs. I’ve also noticed the cultural pluralism theory in other cities in the United States, like with the Mexican town in Detroit, Chinatown in San Francisco, Italians in New York and Chicago, and many other cities. Another theory I have seen is the melting pot theory because America is built off of immigrants. It’s only right that our culture is a mixture, a ‘melting pot’ of many different races and ethnicities. I’ve noticed this with holidays we celebrate like St. Patrick’s Day from the Irish Catholics and some people celebrate Chinese new year, Mardi Gras, and cinco de mayo on top of so many other holidays. There’s many types of foods we wouldn’t have with immigrants, most we even consider ‘American’ food like pizza from Italy, hot dogs and hamburgers from Germany, even the most American thing ever Apple pie supposedly might be from England, the Netherlands, or Turkey. I have experienced the melting pot theory in my own life as my mom’s side are Polish and Slavic and even though i don’t think many of them really practice the customs as seriously anymore, they still have the food and my grandma still speaks Polish sometimes.

  38. Aaron H

    Let me start this off by saying that my father knows nothing about our family history, but my mother does know a bit of information about who originally immigrated to America on her mothers side. She has told me that my great great grandmother, Jane Magee, and her parents, Arthur & Emma Magee (her maiden name was Carson) came over in the 1820s. They married in Ireland & had Jane there, but immigrated to America when Jane was 2 or 3. Though this is all she knows about them, and any culture they had has not been passed down to me. I am quite literally white bread (even though white bread didn’t originate in America), and I know next to nothing about my history. History I do know about though, is the long history of Anglo conformity (which. sadly, is still very alive today). One experience I can reiterate relating to Anglo conformity is the time my grandmother got drunk and started going on a racist tangent to Lauren, another student in your class. It was shocking to say the least, not because I didn’t expect her to be racist, but because of just how crazy (for lack of a better word) the things she said were. I don’t remember what she said exactly, but I do remember her commenting on Laurens hair a lot. Mostly comparing it to mine or her own, or as she called it ‘the standard’ (again, actually crazy). Now, I don’t have a second example of this, mostly because my memory is actively deteriorating, but another example I can give you is from the past, specifically Nazi Germany. The Nazis absolutely loved Anglo conformity as well as eugenics, craniology/phrenology, and many other cruel and outright nonsensical ways of determining what race was ‘superior’. Anglo superiority and the ideas surrounding it have been around for centuries, and is one reason as to why ‘white privilege’ exists as well.

  39. Vidushani Hettiarachchi

    As a daughter of parents who immigrated from Sri Lanka, I have certainly seen these immigration theories taken place. My parents, for example, moved to Minnesota around August of 2005. Sinhalese is the language that my parents speak and grew up with. According to my dad, Pradeep Hettiarachchi, he and my mom started speaking Sinhala and English to my older sister in 2007. After my mom got a job opportunity in Michigan, they moved there in 2008. After I was born, my parents started to notice that language was a problem with my sister because it clashed with her English and school and so they eventually stopped speaking Sinhala. In Sri Lanka, my mom would wear sarees almost everyday but after immigrating to America she adopted American culture and never wears a saree to work. Additionally, she was a vegetarian, unike my dad, and had never eaten meat before until she moved here. Both of my parents would go to the temple and practice Buddhism precepts once a week. I remember going to the temple with my sister when we were very young. After a few years, we would go to Dhama School twice a month to learn about the Buddha and speak Sinhala but eventually stopped in 2020 because of COVID. After the pandemic, visits to the temple became less frequent. I believe that these are examples of Americanization in immigrants because of what my parents dealt with in having to abandon their culture and adopting American culture.
    Many South Asian immigrants mainly moved to Troy and Novi which is an example of Cultural Pluralism taking place in Michigan. This term “Cultural Pluralism” is when minority groups engage in the dominant society while still maintaining their cultural identity. My parents have been friends with other Sri Lankans for many years and their children befriended us when we were very young. In our friend group, three of them live in Troy which helped me gain more relationships with other people from this district from my extracurricular activities, such as Forensic. The people that live in this area are mostly South Asian and whenever I meet them, I feel a sense of belonging. I observed that I am more comfortable because I don’t have the pressure to act differently or hide my identity because we all relate to each other.

  40. Will Reynolds

    Anglo-conformity or superiority is easy to find in today’s American culture. Various examples are present throughout all facets of life whether that be governmentally or just socially. One government policy that we’ve seen in class recently that I think greatly supports Anglo-conformity is the citizenship test. The idea that people must take a test about America’s past and useless knowledge about the country to secure their basic rights in the first place is silly, but what makes it worse is the content of the questions. One question especially that stood out to me was who is the “father of our country?” The answer to that question as stated by the government is George Washinton. Not only is that question completely irrelevant to a person becoming a citizen and the value they will bring as one, it is incredibly opinionated and feels like it is trying to force people to believe in the popularly accepted Anglo ideas. It is forcing people to say that the father of our country was a racist slave-owning white man who only freed his slaves after he died instead of just freeing them immediately. If they don’t answer the question by saying Washington, they are risking their citizenship and the rights that come with that. Another immigration theory that I see often in real life is cultural pluralism. Cultural pluralism is evident because you can see in many places, immigrants of one ethnicity have settled there in large numbers. You can see this most obviously in many of the Chinese towns all over America including here in Michigan where we have Chinatown in Detroit. Another example of cultural pluralism in Michigan is seen in Frankenmuth where a large German population settled so many German traditions are practiced as well as a large German population still living there because of the generations before them.

  41. Hannah Martens

    My immediate family does not know very much about where our relatives are from, but I have heard of or experienced these theories influencing people even today. I’ve lived in three different states, all three having differing populations of certain immigrant groups. I lived in a pretty small town near Denver, Colorado, and since I was so young, the extent of the people I knew was whoever I went to school with and my neighbors. A large majority of the kids that went to my school were white, and when bringing up old memories with my family, I was told that the whole area in general lacked a lot of diversity. Moving to Michigan changed the types of people I could interact with on a daily basis, and it is a very good example of the Melting Pot Theory. In the schools I’ve attended in Michigan I’ve met so many more people from different backgrounds, which I’ve found correlates to how open minded people here are as well. People here, especially at Groves, are encouraged to share their stories and experiences so everyone else can learn from them as well.
    My mom grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, and being so close to Mexico, many Mexican immigrants lived in the area where she grew up. Cultural Pluralism was very present in the area, with most Mexican families living in a different neighborhood from where most white families lived. Even within her highschool, people separated from one another, my mom talked with her white friends separately from her Mexican friends, and most other groups within the school tended to follow that pattern of being made up of one distinct race or immigrant group. The proximity to Mexico was a large contributing factor to this separation, since the area was so populated by Mexican immigrants, and they could get by speaking Spanish and relating to people who also came from Mexico.

  42. Sylvia Duncan

    Cultural Pluralism
    I recently went to Little Havana in Florida which is a community filled with a big population of Cuban immigrants. My family and I went on a food tour where we learned many things about the community in Little Havana and the story of the immigrants who came there. One of the things that was present in Little Havana was a lot of food that was popular for Cuban immigrants coming to America. The Cuban sandwich was invented by Cuban immigrants once they came to America who while on their work break wanted a filling, easy to make meal to eat. Another example of how Cuban immigrants brought their culture and food to America is Cuban coffee and the culture surrounding it. Cuban coffee is very different from American coffee as it is much stronger and sweeter than traditional American coffee. Cuban coffee is also called Cafecito. Along with Cuban Coffee comes a tradition where at exactly 3:05(when workers get off from work), you come to a place that serves Cafecito and enjoy it with friends and family. This is a special tradition that lets the Cuban community stay more engaged with each other and stay updated about what’s happening in their community. The community population in places like Little Havana shows how cultural pluralism takes place. Also this shows how different cultures adapt to their current environment by implementing different aspects of their culture.

    Melting Pot
    I have also done a food tour in Chicago where I learned about how many different cultures live in Chicago and how they all play a part in the popular Chicago foods. For example the Germans brought over the frankfurter which was a mixture of pork, beef and spices. The German frankfurter became a big aspect of what is now called the Chicago hot dog. Along with the Germans came the Italian immigrants who also brought their food over. The italians brought over their love for pizza and decided to make it their own when they made their own version of the italian pizza. They made the italian-american pizza called the Chicago deep dish pizza today. All these different types of cultures that immigrated to the popular city that is Chicago and brought along their cultures and food.

  43. Lynn Meradi

    Anglo-Conformity: Growing up I was always the only one in my friend group to have parents who grew up outside of America, where we have different traditions, beliefs, and customs. I was never aware of the differences between my friends and me until I shared that my family doesn’t celebrate the same traditions as my American friends or that they may have not grown up with more than one language in the house. One instance that I recall was when I was being registered for school and the paperwork asked if the household spoke any language other than English. My parents checked off yes because we spoke Arabic and French and a little bit of English at the time. This led to me going to ESL (English second language) for two years because of my accent, even though I saw nothing wrong with my English compared to the rest of my classmates. Going to these classes resulted in me speaking more English than the languages I grew up hearing and speaking. My parents also began to learn how to speak English fluently, while also keeping their first languages. However, with this conformity to speaking English and becoming more “American”, I began to lose my French, which was frowned upon by my relatives, because even though I was American, I was told that I was “French and Algerian first”. All of this led to my second instance of how conforming impacted me, since my sister and I are the only ones out of our entire family to be born and raised in America. Now, my relatives who live outside the country, view my sister and me as only American and are shocked when we can understand them speaking Arabic or French or even when we speak it. While conforming has helped with day-to-day life, it has affected how my family views me in terms of my culture.

    Cultural Pluralism: I noticed that within my parent’s friend group, they have a community of their own within them to sustain their cultures. My mom’s friends are a majority of women who only speak Arabic to each other and enjoy each other’s company while making the food they always grew up eating during childhood, like couscous, warak enab, and more. This is one way that my mom has of celebrating her culture and traditions with those who grew up with similar ones. Another way is our family visiting each other to stay in touch with one another but also with our culture, from languages to food and holidays.

  44. Helena Zweig

    In recent years, especially now more than ever, where political opponents are blaming many problems on border security, the pressures of Anglo-Conformity can be seen directly. Southern border security has become a critical issue for the Republican platform, particularly Donald Trump, who sees it as a national security emergency that comes with a host of economic negatives. His addresses on these topics boast a host of xenophobic rhetoric, such as in his recent visit to Rome, Georgia, where he discussed an undocumented immigrant who was involved in a shooting. Obviously Trump, by doing this, choses to cherry-pick cases to boost his own image. Forcing the blame of an incident on an entire group of people is entirely ignorant and extremely harmful, as it promotes shameful stereotypes that his fan base spreads. Like the days of old, there are still those lobbying to halt immigration altogether, but these ideas fundamentally rupture the freedoms we all deserve. Trump himself has had a long history of supporting white supremacy, commenting a few years back in the presidential debates that “we have a country where, to assimilate, you have to speak English … This is a country where we speak English, not Spanish.” But his views are extending even further than that, pushing out anyone he deems is “poisoning the blood” (his words) of the nation. So, with this topic now at the forefront of politics, it’s more important than ever to stay open-minded and protect the customs everyone has a right to practice.
    Bump, Philip. “Analysis | the Racism and Ahistoricism of Trump’s “Poison the Blood” Rhetoric.” Washington Post, 19 Dec. 2023,
    Facebook, et al. “Trump Wants Immigrants to “Share Our Values.” They Say Assimilation Is Much More Complex.” Los Angeles Times, 11 Apr. 2017,

    Cultural Pluralism
    This is the idea that should fit with the truest definition of America – that everyone comes from somewhere and should be able to practice their cultural beliefs. Since the United States attempts to serve as a haven from religious, cultural, ethnic, etc. persecution, it should welcome all with open arms to join the wider society of individuality. For instance, when simply going to the grocery store, many languages are spoken throughout the aisles. In some stores, there are even sections for certain ethnic foods, or foods that are permitted to be eaten (depending on someone’s religious identity). However, the farther you go from urban areas, the lower the diversity rate is. When I lived near Traverse City for a period of time, all of the kids in my class were white and Christian (one student even remarking to me: “Jewish? What the hell is that?”). And, while the area was very supportive of the LGBTQ+ community, it was also extremely racially unaware. But living on the Interlochen campus, seeing students from all over the world attending school, was incredible. The art pieces created and shown concerned identity, race, personal history and traumas, and they were all beautiful because they were unique to the storyteller. Students came together to create distinctive work, whether in music, theater, dance, writing, or visual arts, and all of those pieces combined told the story of how America and the world should be, an intricate combination of everyone.

  45. Juliette Shebib

    I spent a lot of time thinking about this, and when I asked my parents I didn’t get too much support in things I could write about. I’ve lived in one area for most of my life, and I don’t really think I’ve personally witnessed any of these theories. If I have or if I currently am, I don’t think I necessarily understand or came to realize what I saw or are currently I’m seeing. The only thing I can really think of as of now, is when I lived in Germany for four years. I was born in Vermont, though my family and I moved to Germany when I was only a couple months old. I was there ages one through four, and I have quite a bad memory of it. What I can manage to remember, however, is that when I grew up there, I never really noticed anything different than when I moved to Michigan and lived there as a kid. What I mean by this is that I lived in a predominantly English speaking area, went to a preschool and learned English, etc. Now, what I’m going to say now is why I questioned writing about this for a while. The reason we moved there was because my dad was in the air force, so we moved close to a U.S base in Germany, which is what leads me to believe that this isn’t necessarily the Cultural Pluralism theory.
    The only other thing I can really think of now are the two friends I made at the library the other day. I was hanging out with two girls, one who was Chinese and moved to America this last summer, and another girl who was Russian. ( not going to refer to them by names ) When hanging out with these two really close friends, I saw them sharing bits and pieces of each other’s cultures in a regular setting. For example, the Russian girl brought out some traditional food her mom made for them to share, while the Chinese girl was teaching the Russian girl some Chinese sayings. Now that I think and write about this more, I think that this would fit into the salad bowl theory.

  46. Alexander Chebl

    For some background, my parents are both born and raised in Lebanon and they came to the US because the Lebanese Civil War tore the country apart. My dad came when he was 14 and my mom came mid college. They both struggled to find parts of the US that were welcoming to people of Middle Eastern descent but as life went on and more people of middle eastern descent came as refugees to America because of the War in Afghanistan and the middle east, they found more communites that were thriving as mostly middle eastern. When my family moved to Michigan we immediately found dearborn as a sanctuary of all my parents beliefs and cultures. My mom works at Beaumont Hospital in Dearborn and brings home every day fresh produces from Papaya supermarket as well as traditional Lebanese foods. Before COVID we used to go to church every sunday in Dearborn and made so many friends because of the cultural similarity.
    When my family went to San Francisco we visited China Town for 2 days. It was almost like going through a portal from the casual American town to the China town. It was decorated with Chinese New Year celebrations and every restaurant, shop, or store was all Chinese. It was so impressive how dense the town was filled with people of Chinese descent. I dont think I saw a single white non tourist. The Chinese people were very friendly and welcoming. We went to a restaurant and they brought us an appetizer for free and the food was amazing. The waiter and the chefs knew how to speak english as well and it was so incredible how they were so interactive and willing to help and make even the tiniest thing better. The food was cooked to perfection and every table in the restaurant was set exactly the same. It was almost as if every chair was placed in the exact same place at every table. The utensils were layed out to the centimeter and the plates were all incredibly shiny without a single scratch. The waiter came to check on us every couple minutes to make sure everything was okay and always asked is their more to get you. The overall experience in China town was like nothing I’ve experienced before.

  47. Gabe Macwilliams

    I believe that the cultural pluralism theory best describes how immigrants have infused into American culture in recent years, but I think that there is validity in both that, and the melting pot theory across American history.
    My family descends from Germans, Scots, Irish, and Brits, all from the Second Wave (I’m pretty sure). In the past, asking friends about their heritage, many had similar responses as mine, many describing themselves as “mixtures” or “mutts”. Heritage loses its value when it becomes mixed, like is so common among Americans. Personally, I claim Scottish heritage because my DNA contains a larger percentage of Scottish genes than any other group, but I don’t feel any connection to Scotland, as some other, newer, immigrant groups feel to their ancestors’ home countries. Because of the lack of outside heritage, many mutts such as me cling on to American heritage, despite the fact that our ancestors have been on this continent for under 200 years. Though many claim America as their country, traditions from the immigrants that came hundreds of years ago still affect American life. For these reasons, I believe that the melting pot theory accurately describes some of American immigration, mainly the second wave and the beginning of the third wave. It is likely that immigrants from this time period mixed together because of their similar cultures and skin color, also explaining why the melting pot doesn’t describe late 3rd and 4th wave immigrants as well.
    Differently from people that have immigrated from Western and Northern European countries, people from Southern and Eastern Europe, the middle east, Asia, and Africa (not including the slave trade) are often closely tied to their cultures. The reason for this is explained by the cultural pluralism theory, which states that immigrants share their culture and pass it down, often in specific ethnic neighborhoods. Ethnic neighborhoods are the largest factor that determines whether a group will assimilate completely into American culture or keep some of their heritage. While ethnic neighborhoods existed with immigrants from the second wave, namely Irish and Jews, they were not a thing in rural areas. This is the reason a New York Irishman often cares more about his heritage than a midwestern Irishman. The 2nd half of the 3rd wave coincided with a time period when rural areas were becoming less populated, and cities were booming. For this reason, newer immigrants were forced to stay in cities, in ethnic neighborhoods, where their culture thrived.
    Ultimately, there are/were too many factors at play and it has been too long of a time period to describe all immigration with one theory. There is some validity to each, and all have been true at some point in American history.

  48. Delilah

    I think that I experience the Melting Pot Theory the most, and it is something that is very easy to recognize. Starting from when I was just 6 months old, I traveled a lot. Going to other countries and even areas of the U.S. you realize how different they are from each other. When traveling to places in Europe, a huge majority of the people living and traveling there are white. In places like Mexico or other parts of Central America, many people are Hispanic. You don’t realize how diverse America is until you go to other countries where there is predominantly one ethnic group. The only people that still live in America that are truly natives to this land are the Native American people. From things like just having a certain type of food, or a way of dress, there are so many differences in culture. It’s very interesting to see the difference in cultures between a few different countries.

    Another theory I have seen in action is the Cultural Pluralism theory. Even from moving a few towns over, I think there is a large difference. 3 years ago I moved from Royal Oak to Franklin, MI. I went to school in Berkley, where there is a very large Jewish population. The district had many of the Jewish holidays off from school. When I moved to Franklin, that demographic changed. Groves and Birmingham schools don’t take off Jewish holidays because there aren’t as many Jewish kids enrolled in their schools. I think that Groves and Birmingham schools have a much more racially diverse student body. In Berkley, most of the students were white, whereas at Groves, there are a lot of different people from many different racial and ethnic backgrounds. Even in just moving a 20 minute drive away, you can see evidence of the Cultural Pluralism theory.

  49. Baity Wagner

    I’ve seen all of these immigration theories present. I think some examples that are applicable to Michigan, that are relatively close to the Groves area is Dearborn. Dearborn has a high middle eastern and Muslim population. In Dearborn they have many Muslim friendly restaurants (Halal food) and Mosques. In the West Bloomfield/Bloomfield area, there tend to be more temples because of the higher Jewish population. In Troy, I notice a higher Asian population. These ethnic neighborhoods that arised during the second and third waves of immigration are still here, maybe not the same culture but the idea still stands. It’s a place of comfort for people to stay in touch with their culture or religion while in America. I saw my mother lose touch with her culture. Her mother immigrated her from Cretes, a southern island in Greece. She spoke Greek with her mother and father as well as her sisters. Unfortunately, she had a falling out with her family. There was no one else in our community who was greek. My mother slowly lost her Greek and only ever wrote to her mother when she could. When her mother passed, she no longer spoke Greek and I only have remnants from what little she spoke. I believe that these ethnic neighborhoods are important and I constantly wonder what my mothers life, and mine, could be like if she moved to one. On my Fathers side however, the family speaks Russian and a dialect of Ukraine called Steppe. None of our family members live in an ethnic neighborhood but our whole family speaks it and that’s how we keep our language and culture alive. I often hear about how lucky I am and how hard my Babushka and Dedushka worked to make sure my Dad, Aunt, and Uncle were set up for success.

  50. Sofia Alrawi

    In my family’s history, both my mom and my dad’s side of the family have had a more evident experience with the melting pot theory than any other. My grandparents on my dad’s side emigrated from Iraq around 1960-70, and they quickly lost a lot of their cultural and religious practices due to Americans being less culturally aware half a century ago. It was simpler to just adopt more American ways of life, and many people were cautious of immigrants and skeptical of unfamiliar religions, cuisines, and languages. As a consequence, my dad and aunt grew up mostly Americanized, and were brought up without strict Muslim practices, listening mostly to American music, and rarely dressing in Middle Eastern clothing. However, my dad’s family still experienced cultural pluralism by holding onto aspects of Arabic culture through cooking, watching Arabic television, preserving their language, and even visiting their home country to reunite with family and embrace their heritage. Still, as a first generation immigrant, my dad is a lot more Americanized than my grandparents, and my sister and I even more so. My grandma still has a bit of an accent from when she lived in Iraq, and her house is full of Middle Eastern patterns, a lot of which are also on her clothes. Her appreciation for her heritage was passed onto my dad, but much like what people in the past observed in children of immigrants, my dad was not as connected and didn’t care to pass on these traditions to his own family. I know less about my mom’s family since they came from many backgrounds, but I do know that few of their European traditions have been passed on to my mom, and even fewer were introduced to me. What I’ve noticed is that I don’t feel connected to the cultures of either side of my family, but I’ve always found myself wanting to know more, especially when I see my grandma speaking Arabic — it makes me wish I could understand what she’s saying and feel more involved. I feel like each generation in immigrant families, being born outside of their parent’s or grandparent’s country, has less reason to feel an affinity for old traditions and practices due to their only experience of them being what their family is willing to introduce them to. In my experience, the melting pot and cultural pluralism theories both have their truths, and each one is intertwined in the preservation and reinvention of immigrants’ heritage throughout generations.

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