The myth of the melting pot refers to the aspect of people originally from minority races being influenced to abandon their cultures in order for them to become ‘American’ instead of fusing their culture with the American culture. The myth of individual opportunity is also illustrated by Eric Liu in which everyone in America is given the opportunity to achieve the desired American dream through any way possible. For the Chinese, they created Chinatown in Manhattan, New York, which is significant for the Chinese because they were able to retain a bit of Chinese culture through trade as much as they were in pursuit of the American dream. With this, this essay will discuss how each of these myths coincides with Eric Liu’s essay ways in which the myths reinforce, contradict or challenge each other and the expression of the same in the text.
America is not a melting pot, but rather it is a compartmentalized society with truer whites being in the biggest compartment while the other ethnic minorities fit in the smaller compartments. Essentially, the melting pot is the assimilation aspect for a person from a minority culture in the dominant culture in the hope of obtaining economic improvement, which is usually at the expense of their own culture (Chandler and Ledru 115). Eric argues that Asians in America have replaced the Jews to become the model minority based on the aspect of assimilation. Essentially, this becomes a myth because as much as the minorities claim to have undergone assimilation, they still experience first hand racism making them not to be part of the white culture that they perceive to be part of. However, in the essay Liu writes: “ My parents, who traded Chinese formality for the more laissez-faire stance of this country. Who made their way by hard work and quiet adaptation” (Liu 664). According to this statement from the essay, Liu’s parents had to assimilate the American