Ellis wrote about the fact that “The Melting Pot” never really happened. In the sense that in this melting pot old customs would be left behind, languages would be forgotten and differences would be melted together. I appreciated the shout out to the fact that teaching immigrants to read and write English was an incredibly difficult task that had never been attempted before. They did this so that the disadvantage of not knowing the language could give them the tools to rise above the lower stratum. In essence to get better jobs, and it isn’t for the faint of heart to challenge this idea.
So during this time (late 1800’s early 1900’s) it looked like this melting pot might happen! Ellis contributes a few culturally damaging circumstances out of this zeal for assimilation, like negative stereotypes, racism, discrimination, and segregation (Ellis, 4). I appreciated his honesty in saying that perhaps the teaching profession is that of a reactive and defensive posture. That “Teachers have been demoralized by tight budgets, declining enrollments and increasingly hostile public” (Ellis, 5). He does offer some hope in our ability to understand, and therefore increase of understanding through exposure.
This note from him about Robert Muller was particularly touching, as it relates to my future profession:
United Nations official Robert Muller recently noted that a child born today into a world of 4 billion people will, if he or she reaches the age of sixty be sharing the earth with three times that many human beings. Muller goes on to say that “A child born today will be both an actor and a beneficiary or a victim in the total world fabric, and he may rightly ask: ‘Why was I not warned? Why was I not better educated? Why did my teachers not tell me about these problems and indicate my behavior as a member of an interdependent human race?” (Ellis, 7).
P.S. I wish there was an end of chapter “culture inventory” questions posted as the paper suggests.