Salad bowl or melting pot?

Via a link in Neal Boortz' Nuze today, I had just gotten done reading Herbert Landon’s column describing his fears of the Balkanization of America, as opposed to the melting pot we've come to know.

Coincidentally, the Detroit Free Press ran a front page story this morning on the area's growing Hispanic population in an area of southwest Detroit, its being undercounted in the census, and its struggle to exert influence in citywide affairs. The area has a thriving business community, and not many locals can pass up the area's shops and Xochimilco restaurant.

But I found two segments of the column interesting. Near the beginning of the article...

What's even more surprising, Arellano (who moved to southwest Detroit 11 years ago) said, is that he speaks more Spanish now than when he moved to Michigan ... The familiar red, white and green of the Mexican flag, storefront signage in Spanish and competing southwest Detroit Spanish-language radio programs tell Arellano that much of what was familiar in Mexico can be found in the Motor City ... Even a Blockbuster Video store in Mexicantown is responding to the changing demographics by offering the largest selection of Spanish-language films of all the chain's stores in Detroit.

And much further down in the article:

Often marginalized by elected officials and political pundits over the years, the largely Hispanic population in southwest Detroit has rarely factored into major policy decisions in the city.

Hispanic residents have yearned for representation on the Detroit City Council, which has never had a Hispanic member, as well as on other levels. But some political observers have argued for years that Hispanics are effectively shut out of decision-making at City Hall because of the difficulty of electing a council candidate in a citywide vote.


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Anyone else getting tired

Anyone else getting tired with the premise that it takes someone of your race to be able to represent the interests of your race? Ideas can be held and formulated by anyone, regardless of experience.

A distinction should be made

A distinction should be made between language and culture. The example of the Blockbuster, a major "distributor" of American culture, is particularly telling. While there may be many Spanish language films, I assume that they are straight out of Hollywood. Neither the metaphor of the melting pot nor the salad bowl fits the bill quite right, but cultural assimilation is inevitable at some rate, although universal acceptance of multiculturalism and diversity is still valued.