American Culture - Melting Pot, Salad Bowl, or Something Else?
American political leaders of all kinds throughout history have pointed out that American identity revolves around a common set of ideals – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In his most famous speech, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. described America’s creed as an unfulfilled “promissory note” based on the idea that everyone deserves freedom, fairness, and equal opportunity to pursue happiness and advancement. People of good will often fundamentally agree, yet we struggle to find ways to effectively work together.
In this conversation, you and other participants will explore questions around America’s common identity, as well as the diverse composition of the American citizenry. By practicing the conversation agreements and sticking to the three-round structure, you’ll learn more about how you and your peers think about whether America today is more of a melting pot, a salad bowl, or something else!
These are the agreements that you will follow during the conversation.
- Be Curious and Open to Learning. Listen to and be open to hearing all points of view. Maintain an attitude of exploration and learning. Conversation is as much about listening as it is about talking.
- Show Respect and Suspend Judgment Human beings tend to judge one another. Do your best not to. Setting judgments aside will better enable you to learn from others and help them feel respected and appreciated.
- Look for Common Ground and Appreciate Differences In this conversation, we look for what we agree on and simply appreciate that we will disagree on some beliefs and opinions.
- Be Authentic and Welcome that from Others Share what's important to you. Speak authentically from your personal and heartfelt experience. Be considerate to others who are doing the same.
- Be Purposeful and to the Point Notice if what you are conveying is or is not “on purpose” to the question at hand. Notice if you are making the same point more than once.
- Own and Guide the Conversation Take responsibility for the quality of your participation and the conversation by noticing what's happening, and actively support getting yourself and others back “on purpose” when needed.
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