Author(s): Hakan KIRMIZIELMAOAzLU
Even though the total population of the United States is more than 300 million, the “American race” is only 20 million. If we are to think America as a huge cake, the ingredients in the cake or each slice of the cake represents a various race, and “American race” is just only one slice of this cake. Therefore, it can be said that it is the immigrants who constructed the United States. Today, with its population, America is an enormous and the third largest country in the world. One of the main reasons why the population is so high is that it constantly receives immigrants from every continent of the world to fulfill “American Dream”, which inspired millions of people to migrate United States for better life conditions and for more democracy. Naturally, there are debates and even conflicts on religion, language, race, ethnicity in the country. Among these debates, the problem of racism is the most important issue. In America, racism gave result in a new type of literary expression which is known as the Black-American Literature. The fact that racism is still effective in America is due to its relation with American nationalism. American nationalism, on the one hand, suggests a conception of national identity, where there is no ethnic limitation and cultural values prevail as once referred as “Melting Pot” by James Hector St. John de Crevecoeur in his “Letters form an American Farmer (1782)” writings. This term was also used as “smelting pot” by Ralph Waldo Emerson in his “The Complete Journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson”, and "fusion, as of elements in solution in a vast hot pot" by Henry James in his travel narrative “The American Scene”. Melting pot was used as a metaphor for the ideal process of immigration and colonialism process in which various nations, cultures and races were involved and adhered to a new, virtuous community and to core Americanism. On the other hand, American nationalism contains dynamics of ethnic discrimination within itself as a result of cultural assimilation of melting pot. Therefore, the aim of this study is to make a relation between “melting pot” and who are Americans exactly by applying its use in the literature. The study argues that even though America includes many different races, religions, ethnicities and cultures referred as “melting pot”, it does not embrace all these races, religions, ethnicities and cultures. From our contemporary point of view, the melting pot implies to a racist ideology; because it does not contain as part of formula for the proper mix the truly culturally different groups such as Afro American, Chicanos, Indians etc. These groups have never been given status as a complete human.