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THE AMERICAN MELTING POT: ITS MEANING TO US
J. M. RADZINSKI
Am J Psychiatry 1959;115:873-886.
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Abstract

A review of ethnic mingling among the peoples of Europe demonstrates that the process has been associated with cultural dislocations and decline. Eventually, after centuries of incubation and biologic fusion, new cultural patterns became established, often superior, but at times inferior to the ones they displaced.The immigration of many millions of people into the U. S. A., particularly during the past 80 years, has brought together here the greatest assortment of ethnic stocks in the world and probably in history. If the lessons of European experience have any meaning, such a conglomeration of racial and ethnic elements renders a serious cultural decline inevitable. Symptoms of the decline are already apparent in the deteriorating state of some aspects of our culture, in the irresoluteness and confusion of our national leaders and in the virulence of frank antisocial behavior among our people far in excess of that encountered in west European countries, Canada and Australia. In short, we must face the unpalatable truth that the present American society is sick.Much time will elapse, measurable in generations, before a biologic fusion among the White elements of our population is attained. Many more generations, measurable in centuries, will be required to effect a biologic integration with the non-White segments of our people, provided, of course, that the problem is not perpetuated by further infusions of large numbers of immigrants of any race. Biologic integration cannot be hastened by an executive fiat.If there is one practical lesson to be derived from the present status of the American melting pot, it is that we should be extremely circumspect in our immigration policies. A political or an economic crisis abroad is not an indication for the relaxation of our restrictions no matter how much we may sympathize with the victims. The U. S. A. can no longer afford to be the foster home for the unfortunates of the world. Biologically, there already are present here so many human types that further additions can hardly enhance the genetic end product. But such additions will tend to postpone indefinitely the salutary fusion necessary for a harmonious society. Today, in excessive homicide, treason, juvenile delinquency and other crimes with their tremendous cost in suffering and treasure, we are paying the price for our reckless generosity to peoples of other lands. Politicians, who for reasons of expediency and false humanitarianism press for the relaxation of our too liberal immigration laws, are, in effect, asking for the perpetuation of this high tide of confusion and lawlessness.Education and propaganda will not sever the ties between our new citizens and their people abroad. They will not extirpate the deep rooted prejudices, antagonisms and tensions carried over from their respective homelands and surviving for generations here under hyphenated dualisms. Only a long inbreeding period can give real substance to the now nebulous concept– American.

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