America has always been perceived as the Land of the Free, the Home of the Brave, and the Land of Opportunity; the place where the great American Dream of prosperity and success could come true for anyone. This great promise land attracted immigrants from around the world. As a result, America soon became known as the “Cultural Melting Pot” of the world.
When calling U.S. the “Cultural Melting Pot,” the intended meaning is that it is a place where numerous amounts of cultures may come together and co-exist. My experience as a Vietnamese person, however, has geared me towards another viewpoint. For me, the “Cultural Melting Pot” means that any culture that joins this great nation is boiled down and then amalgamated into the existing one.
Back in elementary school, everyone was the same to me. Color meant nothing to a child and neither did culture. Everyone was my friend and I was friends with everyone. But as I began to grow older, I had to fight harder and harder to maintain assimilation with my community as well as keeping a firm grasp on my culture of origin. Growing up, I had always known that there exists a large cultural gap between myself and the people around me. However, this was more of a subliminal knowledge. It didn’t really pique my interest until one fateful day.
It all started one cheery summer evening. After a whole day of shopping at outlet malls, my family of four bought some Chipotle rice bowls to take home to eat. We were just so exhausted from all the shopping that day that all we wanted to do was to go home, lounge around, relax, and eat delicious Chipotle. The first thing on mine and my brother’s mind, when we got home, was to bust out the Chipotle bowls. We had skipped lunch that day, so my brother and I were ravenous, but as hungry as I was, I still had a little ritual to finish before digging in. Before eating, I would always mix everything in the bowl together first. Although it may seem a bit weird of me to do...