Sociologists have identified a few major
theories on how newly arrived immigrants integrate
themselves into American society. Over time all new
immigrants adopt some aspects of American culture and
add something new.
According to the Melting Pot Theory peoples
from various cultures come to America and contribute
aspects of their culture to create a new, unique
American culture. The result is that contributions from
many cultures are indistinguishable from one another and
are effectively "melted" together.
||Salad Bowl Theory
According to the Salad Bowl Theory there are
times when newly arrived immigrants do not lose the
unique aspects of their cultures like in the melting pot
model, instead they retain them. The unique
characteristics of each culture are still identifiable
within the larger American society, much like the
ingredients in a salad are still identifiable, yet
contribute to the overall make up of the salad bowl. It
is this theory that also accounts for the retention of
the "something-American" hyphenation when
identifying cultural identity. This theory is also referred
to as pluralism.
Assimilation is the concept that eventually
immigrants or their decedents adopt enough of the
American culture that while they may retain aspects or
traditions of their cultural heritage, they are
identifiable as uniquely "American". Most if
all of these cultural traditions (language, foods,
etc..) have been replaced with "Americanized"
has proven difficult, even over multiple generations for
African-Americans and other physically unique cultural