Pluralism in the United States
Pluralism in the United States has been a predominant feature of the political and religious factions wince the wining of independence on July 4, 1976. However, even then the country was not a truly pluralistic state. The main influences in the establishment of the Constitution were Anglo-, white, Protestant Americans. Even down to the ways in which liberty and the pursuit of happiness were defined was from a strictly white, Protestant background. Even then the actual types of groups were in great diverse numbers. Every religion, ethnicity, and race landed on the shores of the United States and many continue to flock to this country for higher education and better wages or to escape oppression. The United States is more pluralistic now than ever before in the history of the government, and diversity will only continue to grow and possibly change the way in which all Americans live.
Are Americans really Americans or are they all just integrated diverse factors, such as religions, ethnicities and races? Technically, all Americans have their roots in other countries, mainly Western Europe, which means that while most were Anglo-, white, Protestants, not all fell into this category. There were French, and Spanish Catholics too as well as Eastern European and Asians that came here and settled in communities together. To answer the question are Americans really Americans, the answer is yes. Yes, because the United States government did not discriminate in regards to immigrants. The country has used its diversity to gain more favor and more immigrants (Machacek, 2003; O'Kane, 2001; Proctor, 2006).
The disheartening fact however, is that the different cultures that came to this country hundred of years ago, were more likely to integrate into the community and society than the current and future immigrants of the United States. The growing trend shows that many of the immigrants are creating miniature communities within larger communities. They immigrants are creating their own society rather than integrating into the larger society and becoming a cohesive group as was believed to be the case for ever with the creation of the Constitution and 13tgh Amendment. However, Americans are Americans because of their diversity in politics, religion, class, and races and that is what has made the United States great (Machacek, 2003; O'Kane, 2001; Proctor, 2006).
Many people believe that the Muslims of the world are one big happy family. Many do not realize that there are technically two factions of Muslims and they do not get along as well as one would expect. While this separation is true for Muslims all over the world, those in the United States have broken into even more factions within each of the two major factions. In fact, the Muslims in the United States are less cohesive than in any other part of the world. The American Muslims have come from all over the world, including Middle East, Asia, Eastern European and many Anglo and African Americans have joined the American Muslim ranks as well (Halim, 2006).
In the United States the faction break down into four other categories: Muslims who no longer believe in the American way; Muslims loyal to the American culture; then there is “selective engagement” which means that the pendulum of this groups swings from rejecting and embracing the American culture; Muslims active in the culture but remain true to their faith. These categories come from the fact that many Muslims tried to assimilate into the American culture, but found that it was not conducive to the younger generations understanding and staying within the Muslim group. The Muslims have had to keep themselves separate to a point in the ways of religion and education of their young. Many Muslims separate themselves from mainstream American and yet also want to participate in ways their religion will allow (Halim, 2006).
Pluralism and Melting Pot
Pluralism or the concept of the melting pot is an essential concept for the foundation of American culture. So much of the culture has been integrated and incorporated from other cultures that to say America was not pluralistic would be a major error. For the United States to continue in to the next year, next decade, and next century, a continued effort of pluralism is needed. However, it is not all that is needed. Many of the newer immigrants are not willing to give up many of their home country traditions and many will not condone laws that their religion does not accept. With this in mind, pluralism is not all that is needed; America also needs an acceptance of new ideas, and a dynamic pluralistic government and society (Halim, 2006; Machacek, 2003; O'Kane, 2001; Proctor, 2006).
From the readings and the information found, the United States needs to reevaluate the way in which immigrants are integrated in this country. There is a wide debate about the national language right now with some groups wanting the national languages to be both English and Spanish. Others group themselves and have their own markets, neighborhoods, schools and such. They are Americans but they are also still loyal to their home country. The future of the United States has to take these concepts and ideas to heart and rework the way immigrants integrate into society at large. As long as the government and people of the United States stay ahead and allow those whose religions differ, or ethnic needs are different to feel free to live how they know from their home country, then the United States will flourish and have a more diversified and well-rounded society and people.
Halim, F. (2006, August). Pluralism of American Muslims and the Challenge of Assimilation. Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, 26(2), 235-244. Retrieved December 22, 2008, doi:10.1080/13602000600937747
Machacek, D. (2003, Summer). The Problem of Pluralism. Sociology of Religion, 64(2), 145-161. Retrieved December 22, 2008, from Academic Search Premier database.
O'Kane, J. (2001, April). CLASS, LIBERAL PLURALISM AND COUNTERHEGEMONY. Cultural Studies, 15(2), 295-325. Retrieved December 22, 2008, doi:10.1080/09502380152390526
Proctor, J. (2006, March). Religion as Trust in Authority: Theocracy and Ecology in the United States. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 96(1), 188-196. Retrieved December 22, 2008, doi:10.1111/j.1467-8306.2006.00508.x
Young, F., & Lyson, T. (2001, January). Structural Pluralism and All-Cause Mortality. American Journal of Public Health, 91(1), 136-138. Retrieved December 22, 2008, from Academic Search Premier database.