Patrick Juvet – I Love America

A Swiss performer has a disco hit about how great the USA is, back in 1978.

The narrator of the song sings about coming to America, traveling it, and finding great music from diverse people across the land. The common understanding, however, is that the USA is a “melting pot.”

“Melting pot” is a metaphorical concept suggesting that people from different cultures and places blend (are cooked?) into one new, united and harmonious whole.

A more alike population within a given country can make governing less challenging. It can be comforting for a country to have a relatively strong, single, national identity. Yet, the melting pot concept came to be criticized, with multiculturalism, at about the same time as this song was being played under the disco balls at Studio 54. That is, that a melting pot does not respect and encourage differences in people that should be protected, promoted and enhanced. That is, a melting pot is Americanization or assimilation, both frequently pejorative terms.

Were Juvet still wearing bell bottom pants today, he could sing about the similarly homogenizing impacts of globalization.


2 thoughts on “Patrick Juvet – I Love America

  1. Indeed, the variety of ethnicities in America is often claimed to be the best mix in the world. Leonard Dinnerstein and David M. Reimers introduce their book, Ethnic Americans: A History of Immigration and Assimilation, by stating, “Never before – and in no other country – have as many varied ethnic groups congregated and amalgamated as they have in the United States” (1). With such reputation, here is exactly where the famous term “melting pot” arises. This conception has traditionally been perceived as the best expression to describe the multi-ethnicity of America. Its basic idea presents the whole nation as one large pot. Anyone who enters the United States is automatically thrown into this “pot” where, for the following years, a process of assimilation into the American belief systems is taken place. All the cultural aspects that one brings into are blended together, or melted, to form a new culture. The outcome of this massive procedure is the “melted” version of a culture, which is described as characteristically “American.” It is notable that in this assimilation, the identities of each original culture are extinguished to bring out a complete new mixture.

  2. The shortages of the melting pot and salad bowl paradigms can be expressed in the following summarising parables: In the case of the melting pot the aim is that all cultures become reflected in one common culture, however this is generally the culture of the dominant group – I thought this was mixed vegetable soup but I can only taste tomato. In the case of the salad bowl, cultural groups should exist separately and maintain their practices and institutions, however, Where is the dressing to cover it all? Hopefully the solution may be offered by the concept of the ethnic stew where all the ingredients are mixed in a sort of pan-Hungarian goulash where the pieces of different kinds of meat still keep their solid structure.

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