We Are One: Diversity in the United States

Wraith By Wraith, 22nd Jun 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Essays

The United States can boast about having one of the most diverse populations in the world. Because of this, we are a cultural hot pot of everything anyone can imagine.

We Are One

The United States can boast about having one of the most diverse populations in the world. We have everything from Hispanics to Asians, African-Americans to Native Americans. We have people that hail from large countries such as Russia and China, but smaller ones as well like Monaco and Nauru and Tuvalu, some of the world’s smallest countries. We have people of mixed heritage because next to no one cares what a person is, only that they are there. Because of this, we are a cultural hot pot of everything anyone can imagine.

Understanding people is just one step toward cultural understanding. A person’s country not only gives them the ability to have some form of identity, but it lets them have an identity that may have nothing to do with their genetics. One does not need to be a certain ethnicity to be American. In fact, when someone thinks about Americans, they do not think of a certain ethnicity. Our genes say we have ancestors from Europe and Africa, Asia and South America and every country and continent in between, but we identify ourselves as American. How many countries can boast to having that ability?

Diversity is all about having every kind of person involved. According to Vanee Vies of InFocus Magazine, by 2050 the population of Hispanics in America will nearly double in population. The Hispanic population in America is almost 14 percent and rapidly growing. The challenge with having a population as diverse as the United States has is that we cannot always accommodate a certain group. A key point with this is religion in schools. Many groups want to allow prayer in school, but then how are we to respect one group’s wish and not another? It would be unfair to do something of that sort, but still groups lobby for the ability to practice their religion in schools and make other students do so as well. Even though challenge comes with diversity, there are many benefits as well. As was said before, the United States is a virtual hot pot of cultural styles and differences. This lets the people of the United States experience not only their own culture but that of others, and they can experience these cultures openly. Everything from celebrations to food and holidays are openly expressed. In my town (which has an estimated population of about ten thousand), if you shake a stick you will hit a Mexican restaurant, Italian bistro or Asian eatery. You have McDonald’s and Burger King as well, places that make a person think of America, but we also have these authentic restaurants run by people who have had these recipes passed down through the generations. Where else can you get something like that?

Though most people on the outside think the United States is just this land that will accept anyone without question, they do not understand how the country came to be as accepting as it is - or how much further we still have to go. Do not get me wrong, I like the United States well enough and I think that considering who we have had running the country over the last two hundred years, we are doing a pretty good job. There are certain areas where I do think we could use a little work. For instance, everyone is up in arms about people from the Middle East since September 11th. I can understand their hesitancy; many people were lost that day and in the following. That does not give us the right to think that everyone is like that nor has the same ideals as those men. It was just like when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. The United States went so far as to even put most of the Asian population back then into our own version of concentration camps. What gave us the right to think we could do something like that and not be thought of as crazy? The actions of one should not be taken out on the many.

The media is something that we are all familiar with. The newspaper, radio, TV, music, movies, anything that reaches the masses is a form of media and so far when it comes to the media they get a C at best when it comes to stereotypes. The media has a bad habit of perpetuating stereotypes and letting them continue and sometimes even exacerbating the issues. Not all media is like this, sometimes there are stations that will play music that encourages people to think beyond the stereotypes, or there will be a show that goes against the typical stereotypes people have some to associate with certain groups. More often than not though these pieces are so far and few between that if we do see or hear them we simply push them under the rug and forget about them. For instance, most people think that Hispanic people are stupid and never make it very far. Though it was not the main point of the film, the movie Crazy/Beautiful by director John Stockwell, starring Kirsten Dunst and Jay Hernandez, shows that anyone, regardless of race, can do whatever they put their mind to (2001).

The only way we can limit the amount of prejudice in the United States (or by some miracle even get rid of it completely) we have to stop thinking of people as what they are in terms of race, gender, social class and disability. We have to use “person-centered” thinking. By seeing people for what they are on the inside instead of what they show the world on the outside, many things could easily be avoided such as racism and sexism and every other form of hatred. Some people believe we need these things to keep from becoming a stagnant society, but then I have to ask: Why do we need to hate so much to avoid going nowhere? Everything in the world is a balancing act and I get that, but why do we have to hate so much? People cannot change their races and not everyone can change their gender, so why should they be punished for things they cannot control?

We are a diverse nation, the United States, and we have a lot to offer the world in the form of culture and it has a lot more to offer us. Sometimes it is hard to imagine that we could come much further from where we started and it is true that we have come very far. We had a Catholic president and we have a colored president now. We no longer have the idea of separate but equal and we have opened our borders to immigrants and let foreign students come to study, but we have so much further to go in the way we treat people. To do this we have to start with the building blocks. Parents who teach their children that race does not matter will find that these children are the kind of people we want to be. As the saying goes, we are the change we want to see.

Bibliography

Vines, Vanee. HISPANICS IN AMERICA Population Gains Bring Opportunities and Challenges | IN FOCUS, 6.2. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.infocusmagazine.org/6.2/bsoc_hispanics_in_america.html

Stockwell, J. (Director). (2001). Crazy/Beautiful . United States: Touchstone Pictures.

Tags

Acceptance, America, Catholic, Cultural Differences, Culture, Diversity, Hispanic

Meet the author

author avatar Wraith
I'm a 23 year old aspiring novelist from Upstate New York. I love vampires, dystopian worlds and have an un-natural love for music.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
10th Nov 2014 (#)

Well written, Wraith. Though some Americans are quite critical of the political and economic systems, they know no other country can match theirs when it comes to treating their diversified citizens in a fair manner and the freedom they enjoy though it is all still work in progress to fine tune the whole system - siva

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