Categories for Diversification

The Diversification of America Essay

The Diversification of America Essay

The commentary: “Culturally and ethnically, America is now one of the most diverse members of the global village. This remarkable pluralism is transforming Americans’ inherited values and institutions faster than they can adapt to the consequences. Globalization is propelling this country toward an era of conflict and upheaval-and that is precisely what makes Americans such a good reference point for other societies where time-honored traditions are also collapsing. ” is an appropriate observation to the current situation.

However, it is with all hope, as diversity and multiculturalism are unavoidable, that society finds a “broader sense of we” (Putnam, 2007) and creates a new identity that combines all cultural heritage into one harmonious blend.

Multicultural Origins The United States has always been multicultural. The country was built by immigrants. The first African Americans came in, although forcibly, in 1619. During the mid-19th century railroad constructions, Chinese immigrants came in to the country as workers.

Many Mexicans were still living in previous Mexican territories taken over by the United States in 1848.

Especially with the United States rise in power and wealth, it is no surprise that more and more people wanted to enter and live in the country. Today, people of different colors comprise the majority in many large cities and in the state of California (PRA, 2002). Difficulty of Assimilation It took centuries before an African American was elected president and demonstrate a sense of equality in society from their beginnings in slavery and segregation.

Many Mexican immigrants living in the country today cannot speak fluent English. Racial stereotypes also hinder benevolent assimilation. Assimilation versus Multiculturalism In today’s age of individualism and self expression, the trend is more towards multiculturalism than assimilation. Instead of assimilating to existing norms and traditions, immigrants bring in their own, fostering the value of pride for their heritage. Even their own holidays are celebrated nationally like the Irish’s St. Patrick’s Day and the Mexican’s Cinco de Mayo.

Certain ethnic groups also exist, for example the Amish and Hassidic Jews, who have attempted to preserve their unique cultures by resisting assimilation, while living peacefully alongside other communities (PRA, 2002). Evolution of Language The different ethnicities bring in their own language, assemble their own communities where they can talk freely in their native tongue, diminishing the need to learn English. Even when they do, they bring in their own accent, jargon and additions to the language, in a way making their own version e.

g. ghetto speak, double-negatives. As a result, English speakers are the ones to adjust. Even in some states, the inability to speak Spanish is a disadvantage as some employment need communication with both Spanish and English speakers. Instead of English being able to bring together different ethnicity and help bridge diversity, the purely English-speaking Americans are the ones to feel like the foreigner in their own country. The Neighborly Attitude Gone are the days of bringing freshly baked pies to the doorsteps of a new neighbor.

In ethnically diverse neighborhoods, Putnam found that people are less likely to trust each other: not only people of a different ethnicity or race but more so their own (Leo, 2007). People tend to keep to themselves and are less likely to make friends and less likely for community cooperation. This is not just a marginal issue but a mainstream one. It does not just affect certain ethnic groups but the whole country. More and more, people become isolated in their own homes and know very little about the families just living next door. Constructing A New Identity

To diminish the negative effects of unavoidable increase in immigration and diversity, a new identity must be constructed. Some say that contact with others increase tolerance and social solidarity. On the contrary, some say that contact with others make one group stick to their own more, hence the trend of self segregation, where people of the same race move in one place creating their own homogenous community. It is a likely attempt to resist diversity instead of adjusting to it, highlighting more the differences between cultures, thus increasing the gap instead of bridging it leading to social deterioration which nobody benefits from.

A successful society would be one that is able to seamlessly fuse its disparate parts into one new entity. However the era of multiculturalism poses a great challenge to this. Cultural Diversity in British Cultural Institutions Another example of society feeling the effects of diversity is that of the British culture, particularly their cultural institutions. The old cultural elite’s idea of “proper culture” is being revised by multiculturalism. British history and Shakespeare are being replaced by Sikh theater and exhibitions about immigrant histories (Appleton, 2004).

Conclusion Cultural and ethnical diversity happen in most advanced countries where people want to migrate to. Particularly in the United States, considered the superpower of the world, diversity has been rampant with the sharp increase in immigration, especially in recent years and people had a confused way of dealing with it. There had been self-segregation, diminished community cooperation and neighborliness, language barriers and the general inflexibility of adapting to each other.

Even experts like political scientist Robert Putnam do not paint a good picture. He found that ethnic diversity tend to reduce social solidarity and social capital. However difficult it may be, as in the example of African Americans, the fragmentation has to be overcome to create a successful new society by crossing the boundaries, breaking the walls, bridging the gap and merging into one.

References

Appleton, J. (2004, April 7). Art for Inclusion’s Sake. Spiked Essays. Retrieved April 16, 2009, from http://www. spiked-online.com/Articles/0000000CA4BC. htm Leo, J. (25 June 2007). Bowling With Our Own. City Journal. Retrieved April 16, 2009, from http://www. city-journal. org/html/eon2007-06-25jl. html Political Research Associates. (2002). Immigration and Racial, Ethnic, and Cultural Diversity. Retrieved April 16, 2009, from http://www. publiceye. org/ark/immigrants/CulturalDiv. html Putnam, R. D. (2007). E Pluribus Unum: Diversity and Community in the Twenty-first Century The 2006 Johan Skytte Prize Lecture. Scandinavian Political Studies, 30. 2, 137-174.