The information that I have learned about diversity in the United States has helped me better understand our society and relate to different people. I think that diversity is a beautiful thing that we should embrace instead of looking at negatively. The United States has come a long way in terms of discrimination and prejudice against different people from different cultures, backgrounds and races. This class has helped me gain a better understanding of what some people went through in order to gain the respect of people that looked down on them because they were of a different descent. Looking back at the way African Americans were treated in the 1950s and 1960s truly makes me cringe. To me it’s unfathomable that people can have so much hate towards a group of people because of the color of their skin. Martin Luther King said it best in his “I have a dream” speech when he stated that he ‘dreams of a day where his four little children will be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character’.
I think that from then, we have come a long way because as a whole, society is a bit more open to diversity; but we still have a long way to go. Learning about diversity has made me embrace my own culture much more. I am an American of full Dominican Descent, and although I have always been proud to be a Hispanic living in America, diversity has taught me that it really is a beautiful thing. The way some people discriminate against minorities makes you almost a bit ashamed to be from another country, but I don’t see it that way. I love being Dominican and I will always be proud of where I am from. I think that by the year 2050 the United States is going to be much more diverse than it is now. The minority population is going to be much more diverse, resulting in larger amounts of interracial marriages. The Caucasians will no longer be the ‘majority’. Right now, in 2013 we are so diverse and you see people from all over the world in the United States, and I feel that as time goes by that is just going to increase dramatically. I think that the racial issues that we face today will always be there, because there will always be people that are closed minded and living in the past.
I do however, think that given how diverse the United States is becoming, society will learn to be more accepting of diversity and different cultures and interracial marriages. Today, you don’t see the same concern for race and skin color that we saw in the 1950s and 1960s; people today are more accepting of diversity. The fact that we have the first African American president today is a major turning point in our nation, one that has changed a lot of people attitudes towards African Americans and different minority groups. According to Joel Kotkin (2010), ‘racial and ethnic identification will be as important as it is now. Now more than ever, ethnicity is intertwined with identity and shapes the way people grow, what they believe and their perspectives on a variety of topics’. (What will American look like; Liane Membis, 7/2/2010). The biggest challenge that the United States faces because of diversity is amongst the people themselves. Americans need to get rid of the hyphen and accept and understand that we are all Americans and one nation.
The pledge of allegiance states that we are ‘one nation under god, with liberty and justice for all’, it’s ironic how so many people forget that we are in fact ONE nation and instead of pointing fingers because of where someone is from or the color of their skin, we should come together and embrace the diversity in which we live in. The challenges that this nation faces in regards to diversity our challenges that we have created ourselves. In a perfect world, we would all live in harmony there would be no racism, discrimination or hate. We would all get along and embrace the fact that we come from all over the world to America and live here together. Diversity is such a positive thing, and I wish that more people viewed it this way. In today’s society, where we are the epitome of diversity, a lot of people view it as a good thing. Diversity is beneficial because it gives a lot of people the opportunity to experience different things with different people. Some people don’t really pay attention to the things that go on outside of their comfort zone, or simply just choose not to participate in things that will help them better understand different cultures and people. “Studies show that the lack of cohesion between races, sexes and cultures is due to mistrust, stereotyping, and more within culture conversation and language problems” ( Sarah T., Missouri City Tx; The importance & Benefits of diversity).
I think this statement is absolutely true, and is a major factor in the divide that people create in the United States when it comes to diversity. We have a long way to go before we are a diverse society that values the differences in the people that make up our nation. Another benefit of diversity in America is that it prepares our children for the real world. One of the things I love the most about how diverse our nation is and growing up here you see it the most. Our schools are filled with children from all over the world and country, and our children are taught at an early age to not see the color of their friend’s skin, but who they are and how well they get along. I think that by raising consciousness we can foster a climate of acceptance and cultural plurism in the United States. If we as a whole were able to just be a little more open minded we would be able to knock down the walls that keep us from getting to know people from different cultures and accept them how they are. Given, that the United states has gone through situations like 9/11 with the terrorist attacks that made people a little more guarded against middle eastern people and that brought on a lot of discrimination against the Muslim Americans living here. I don’t think it’s fair to put them all in that category, because not everyone is the same. There are good and bad people from every part of the world, and if we were a little more conscience of this we would be able to accept diversity that much more.
Diversity isn’t just where you are from or your religious beliefs, it’s much more than that; physical appearances, where you grew up, but all of that is irrelevant if we accept each other and come together as a whole. The media contributes to the perpetuation of stereotypes and prejudice in the way that they show people from certain backgrounds in television, newspapers and the way that they talk about people on the radio as well. I think that the way certain racial groups or cultures are portrayed in the media, has a significant impact on the way viewers and listeners see them. For example, the attacks with 9/11 were something that moved our nation and impacted the United States significantly, but the way the media went after the terrorists also made the way viewers and Americans viewed Muslims living in America negative. People began to hate Muslim Americans and discriminate against them, as if the attacks were their fault.
The media helps foster appreciation for diversity, for how diverse it is itself. You see people on television from different backgrounds, and different cultures working together. Whether it is on television shows, newspapers or in music; the media promotes diversity by showing just how diverse it is itself. For example, the Ellen DeGeneres show is very diverse. The fact that she is a gay woman is a fact that some people look down on to begin with, but she brings people from all over the world and a very diverse bunch of celebrities on her show without discrimination against anyone. I think this is the perfect example of how the media helps foster appreciation for diversity, because it applauds the fact that there is such diversity and it is brought together in a positive way. I think that if individuals in the United States were to be a little more open minded than we wouldn’t have any divides at all, and we could reduce prejudice and increase the appreciation for diversity in our nation. The problem is that a lot of people do not realize just how beautiful diversity is. They look at it as something negative and that is the mindset that we need to work on changing in order to reduce prejudice. We live in a country that welcome differences and gives people the choice and right to be themselves, and to be proud of where they come from.
Personally, I am a very open person to other people and diversity and I embrace it because I feel that we are all different and that is what makes this country beautiful. I have a very diverse group of friends, and I have never judged people based on the color of their skin, but who they are as a person and I try to carry that way of thinking every day of my life. I have a son, and I would never want people to discriminate against him for being Dominican, or ‘brown’, and so I will instill in him the same values my mother and father instilled in me as a child, that I carry with me today. I mean think about it, if we all walked around being told what to do, what to think, and to act the same then we would complain about that.