Our Discussions

the new salad bowl, not the old melting pot

1 (a mother)
(continued from "sleep-over" discussion.
... as a mom who tries on a daily basis to assuage the gap between cultures and religions, I have found being pro-active the most viable means of assimilation. I have thrown "balegh" parties at my daughters' schools to allow their friends the information and celebration of what is important to us. We have invited the social studies teachers to our home for lunch to discuss the teaching of the chapters on the Middle East and Islam at different grade levels and just yesterday, I played host to a group of teen girls who all came to me "Eid-e danee", and included Christian European/Americans, Jewish Russian/Americans and Muslim and Christian Iranian /Americans. The sounds of their laughter and the sight of their bonding, gave me hope. Welcome to the new salad bowl, not the old melting pot. We can each treasure and keep our traditions and beliefs, if we do so with respect and consideration for those of others.
2 (a madar)
I am also against the old melting pot, and really like the term salad bowl for what I prefer in the sense of mixing with other cultures without losing identity. I don't know where the idea of melting pot started (was it in 60's ?) but it sure is not acceptable to many people anymore.
I too invite my children's teachers to our home at least once a year. my children are still very young, but it gives them a sense of pride to introduce their culture, food, etc. to their teachers and helps the teachers see us better in our cultural context. Fortunately, so far my children see their cultural heritage positively and something that they can proudly talk about. Considering the fact that they know they look different and are different, I am glad that they feel good about their differences and I hope it continues this way.

Please send your replies and/or opinions regarding this subject to madar-pedar@surya.eecs.berkeley.edu.

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