[FOUNTAIN]A melting pot or mosaic?Many Koreans think America and Canada are similar countries. My Canadian friend pointed out that the conception is wrong, and the two countries are quite different. According to him, while the United States can be described as a “melting pot,” Canada is a mosaic.
Both countries are made up of immigrants, but while America has tried to “melt” each member into society and create “one America,” Canada has recognized and accepted the differences and diversity of its immigrants. My friend guaranteed that Koreans can freely enjoy kimchi in Canada, whereas the smell could offend some Americans.
The melting pot was a metaphor for the American Dream at first, popularized by the title of a 1908 Broadway musical. In a work based on “Romeo and Juliet,” Israel Zangwill, a Jewish playwright born in London, depicted the birth of America in a love story of a Russian Jew and a Russian Cossack.
Dozens of European ethnic groups entered the melting pot of American values such as democracy, liberty and civic responsibility, and were born again as Americans.
Until the early 20th century, immigrants came mainly from Europe, and the immigrants were quite willing to assimilate into the Anglo-Saxon Protestant culture.
When racial discrimination led to the civil rights movement of the 1960s and Central American and Asian immigrants started to pour into the United States in the 1970s, the melting pot theory could no longer hold.
People began to say that the social pressure to discourage diverse ethnic identities and cultures was not advisable. In a 1998 series, “The Myth of the Melting Pot,” the Washington Post reported that the United States could no longer be a melting pot and had to become a diverse society.
Largely because of the coexistence of the French and English languages, Canada had given up the idea of the melting pot long ago and chose the mosaic model instead.
In a mosaic, each component can maintain its color and shape, but when combined, the elements create a bigger picture that is both beautiful and unique.
Korea has no ethnic divide, but generational, social and regional confrontations exist. Some even consider anyone who does not share their ideas as an enemy.
Is Korean society a melting pot or a mosaic?
by Lee Se-jung
The writer is a deputy business news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.
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