What information about diversity in the United States has helped you better understand or relate to others in ways that you may not have in the past? Have you learned something new about your own racial, ethnic, or cultural history? I have learned much about diversity in the United States throughout the past nine weeks, and what I have learned is that even though there is so much diversity in the U.S., we actually are not that different from one another. According to Chapter 1, of Racial and Ethnic Groups, the term race lacks scientific meaning. The idea of biological race is based on the mistaken notion of a genetically isolated human group.
There are no mutually exclusive races (Schaefer, 2012). If there are no truly pure races, then why do people create these barriers between each other based upon race? I have learned much about my own racial, ethnic and cultural history. This is a broad topic in my case because of how many different racial backgrounds that my family comes from. My father is Italian and Spanish, and my mom is Navajo and Caucasian (not familiar with her Caucasian background). I learned that Italian people used to experience discrimination during their migration to the United States like many other “white” races that we see today. I have learned about how the Europeans made treaties with the native people that inhabited the United States during the time and violently forced them to move from their sacred land on to reservations that were barely inhabitable. Trends in immigration will continue to shape the demographics of the United States.
What will the U.S. population look like in the year 2050? Why do you think so? Miscegenation has for long been a sort of taboo in our society, but more and more couples are breeding with people from different races. I recall from one of our chapters regarding mixed races, there was a picture of a very cute young girl that was from African decent but had very light skin and blonde hair. This is an example of what I think our community will start to look like, maybe not as soon as 2050, but maybe sometime in the distant future. I also stated in one of my discussion question posts that maybe one day there will no longer be “distinguishable races”. What I mean by this, is maybe one day there will no longer be Asian people that we are used to seeing because of the trends of miscegenation. What challenges does the United States face due to the diversity of its people? Racism and ethnic discrimination has been a major issue since the colonial era and the slavery era. Many challenges have rooted from this discrimination such as violence between racial groups, discrimination in the work place and much more.
Diversity goes way beyond race, color and religion. Diversity is the many differences between individuals including race, culture, gender, sexual orientation, age, physical abilities, socio-economic, jobs, education, geographic locations, personalities, and even diversity of thoughts. Diversity is what makes you and I different from one another. I like a discussion question that one of my fellow classmates, Seth mentioned regarding “isms”. One major challenge that we face with diversity is overcoming the “isms” such as racism, ageism, sexism, and homophobia. These issues can cause many conflicts and hinder success in a workplace because they often prevent employees from reaching their work goals (Andrade, 2011). What are the benefits of such a diverse society?
Our society benefits very much from the diversity we face. Diversity in our society helps us grow as individuals and remind us to keep an open mind towards the different ways of living. Diversity promotes more tolerance and being more accepting of other cultures. We learn about different parts of the world, and can even adapt some of their customs towards our own life. We can learn different ways of cooking, fashion, music/entertainment. Diversity opens our minds towards different cultures, and without it, we would be enclosed in our own world and think that it was the only way to live. When you are exposed to the different ways of life, this teaches tolerance and can start to defeat “isms” such as racism. How can we foster a climate of acceptance and cultural pluralism in the United States? In order to create a society that accepts different cultures, we all need to work together.
We need to teach our children to be more accepting, but in order to do this, the teacher (parents) need to be more accepting. Children mimic what their parents do, and if we are showing them how to be closed minded and less accepting of other cultures, then our children will do just that. We need to stress to our children at a young age how it is completely unacceptable to tease, or make someone feel as if they are not as good because they may appear different. If we teach these lessons to our children at a young age, the lessons will become life-long morals that our kids will teach to others. The message will be passed on. This is what I can do help foster a climate of acceptance and cultural pluralism.
In what ways do the media perpetuate stereotyping and prejudice? The media plays a very big part in creating and give prominence to stereotypes and prejudice. In movies, when you see a janitor or a cook in a restaurant, the person playing the part is usually a Latino. When we see a person playing a successful business person, they are usually male, and Caucasian. When we see a criminal playing a role in a movie, they are usually African-American or Latino. The movie, Boyz in the Hood (1991) is a perfect example. Our society’s main source of entertainment is the television. When we see a pattern in certain roles people play, we start to believe that this is the way things are in real life. I believe the media plays the most significant role in creating stereotypes. In what ways do the media help foster appreciation for diversity? Our society is evolving ever so quickly and becoming more multicultural. More news reporters are from different races and we are seeing more appreciation of different cultures on television. Non-white individuals are acquiring more careers with authority. When we see more ethnicities doing things white Americans look up to, we appreciate these cultures more because we see them being a productive part of our society. While the media can perpetuate prejudice, it can also teach acceptance as well.
How might individuals in the United States work together to reduce prejudice and increase appreciation for diversity? One of the most salient factors in reducing prejudice is high quality intergroup contact. When we can work together in a calm environment, any prejudices they we may have had before, are usually reduced. Like most young people, I can admit to having certain prejudices when I was younger. I probably inherited these thoughts from my father. When I went to school, I noticed that the previous thoughts that I had about certain racial groups were not as accurate as I had previously thought. When I was around different cultures and ethnicities, this made me realize these people are not as different as I had thought beforehand. High quality intergroup contact helped reduce my prejudice thoughts.
How might you change your own behaviors to be more inclusive and pluralistic? I have very much enjoyedthis class and how much I have learned about different cultures as well as my own. I have learned much about the LGBT community, white/Caucasian, African-Americans, Irish, Italians, Germans, Arabs, Native Americans, women, religions, and people with disabilities. I learned about prejudices that I never knew existed. All of this wonderful information that I have learned throughout the past nine weeks has made me a more understanding individual because of the similarities that I have learned. Instead of accentuating the differences we have between one another, we should notice the similarities. When I am having a prejudicial thought, it stands out, and I will correct it.
Even though this essay is about diversity, it really makes me realize how similar we are from one another; or at least that is what I have taken from the lesson. I have learned that we can prevent horrific incidents from happening if we take a stand and stop prejudice and discrimination from happening. We need to take responsibility as individuals and control this problem we have in our society. We can reconstruct our society by teaching these important life lessons to one another.
Andrade, S. (2011, May). Diversity Challenges. Diversity Cafe, (), . Retrieved from http://technorati.com/lifestyle/article/diversity-challenges/ Schaefer, R. T. (2012). Racial and ethnic groups (13th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.