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Response Paper - America a Big “melting Pot”

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Tsedenya Haile

Eng 102 – 1506

Dr. Kelly Steele

July 9, 2015

I always hear that America is a big “melting pot” of different cultures, races, and religions, but I think that it is more of a tossed salad. Although there people from all kinds of backgrounds, they do not leave their differences to come together and become one. People of the same cultures tend to stick together in little clumps as they like to be with people of similar upbringings. Because of theses clumped groups of people, different groups tend to ostracize others due to perpetuated stereotypes. This is evident in “Just Walk on By: Black Men and Public Space,” Brent Staples says, “It is not altogether clear to me how I reached the ripe age of twenty-two without being conscious of the lethality nightmare pedestrians attributed to me” (302). To me, this shows that Staples grew up not letting his color define who he is. He was oblivious of the negative association of being a black person because he thought of himself as just another person. I can relate to this because one day, the people in my class were asking each other what their ranking was trying to figure out who was in the top five, and nobody bothered to ask me – probably because they didn’t think I would be up there, but I was number two. Another reading I can relate to is “Leave Your Name at the Border” by Manuel Muñoz. Muñoz explains how the names people bring with their cultures “stood as barriers to a complete embrace of an American identity, simply because their pronunciations required a slip into…the otherness that assimilation was supposed to erase” (91). I face this same problem outside of my house as nobody can pronounce my name correctly. Most people ask me if I have a nickname, which I don’t, to make it easier for them, but I am proud of my name, and I won’t let anyone call me anything else.    

        Children have the most brain development in the earliest years of childhood, so I am not surprised to hear they are no “stranger to moral reflection” as stated by Coles in “I Listen to My Parents and I Wonder What They Believe” (360). Although they are told what to believe and what is wrong or right, they will develop their own views as they begin to mature. I grew up following the same beliefs as my parents, but now that I am grown, there are things that I don’t see eye to eye. For instance, the issues with gay people, recently, has had a big turn as they gained marriage rights. My family including myself are Orthodox Christians, so my parents are not supports of gays. I, on the other hand, have a neutral view. In my view, people of the gay community are human just like myself, and I believe that everyone should have the same essential rights. No one should be able to take away someone’s happiness to keep their own.

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