I grew up in a time when history and social studies taught that the United States was a “melting pot.” It is a founding metaphor for the United States that may have been in use since the 1780’s. In recent decades that metaphor has been challenged because the homogenous culture that most imagined was one that combined those of European descent. I can’t argue with that as a reality, but I still like the ideal of a more balance “melting pot.”
More recent metaphors have included mosaic or salad bowl. These consider the variety of cultures that make up the citizens of most of the Americas, but let’s stick the United States. Call me a child of the age, but my personal preference is for “mosaic” without completely discarding the ideal of melting pot. For me, mosaic honors each person’s heritage and the melting pot honors ideals of equality and unity. They are not exclusive.