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Eth/125 - Wk 9 - Final - Diversity in the United States

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Diversity in the United States
Leslie Parvin
ETH/125
September 8, 2013
Demetrick Pennie

Diversity in the United States The information about diversity in the United States that was covered over the course of this class was very informative, and helped to better understand and relate to the many races that exist in our country in ways that I did not in the past. Furthermore, since my ancestors on my Father's side immigrated from Ireland, I learned more about the trials and tribulations they had to endure upon arriving to this great nation. In addition, the trends in immigration will continue to shape the demographics of our nation while we continue to face the challenges and benefits of such a large diverse nation. More important, although the United States is a nation built on immigrants our history shows we have a long way to go in order to foster a climate of acceptance and cultural pluralism. As a result, this course has helped me to understand how diverse our nation really is. Before taking this class, I had not really given much thought to how diverse our nation has become. However, after completing this class it has helped me in many ways to understand and properly identify not only the many races, but also the incredible uniqueness of their various cultures. According to Schaefer (2012), he stated, "In 2010, approximately 17 percent of the population was members of racial minorities, and another 16 percent or so were Hispanic" (p. 4). With this said, I did not realize how close the minority groups are to becoming the majority. Furthermore, I always grouped all Asians and Latinos together, not realizing how many different cultures exist within each minority group. More important, during Week 3 of this course we did an assignment titled "Who am I?", where I learned about the prejudice and discrimination my Father's Irish ancestors experienced after they arrived in the United States during the Irish Potato Famine of 1845. I did not know how much the early Irish settlers struggled and felt threatened by African Americans over employment. At this point in American history when there was such a large Irish population that immigrated to the United States during the potato famine of 1845 in Ireland, the Irish were considered the lowest of the White race, even lower then African Americans at the time. While trends in immigration will continue to shape the demographics of our nation, I believe by the year 2050 the White population will become the minority in the United States. Armas (2009), writes, "For as long as the United States has been in existence, whites have been a clear majority. But according to the Census Bureau projections, that's a story that is changing; by the year 2050, minority groups are expected to account for 49.9 percent of the population" (para. 1). Along with what was learned in our reading during this course and the research conducted on the internet, if the current trends in immigration continue to grow as predicted, I believe the population in 2050 will consist of more Asians and Hispanics. The reason I believe this is because they are the majority of the minorities in the United States, and if the current trends continue they will eventually become the majority race. Furthermore, according to Armas (2009), the Census Bureau expects the non-Hispanic white population will decrease slightly because of the large number of baby boomers who are expected to die between 2040 and 2050 as the average age by 2040 will be at least 76 years old (para. 7). With the current trends and predictions in immigration, the challenges the United States faces due to the diversity of the many races and cultures that exist in our nation are many. Some of these challenges include discrimination and prejudice against things such as religion. People from all over the world practice different beliefs and cultures in the United States, which makes this country so attractive to those who are not able to do so in their own countries and why they seek a better life in the United States. However, these people leave their homelands only to experience some of the same types of prejudice and discrimination when they arrive here. This is because many people who were born and raised in the United States believe that people who do not share their religious beliefs and cultures are inadequate or "below" them. Until people are able to set aside the differences of our parts and respect each other for our strengths that each culture offers to our country, this will continue to be a major challenge. People need to start treating others with the respect and dignity they deserve no matter what their religious beliefs and cultures are, and also start teaching our children the same. Another major challenge facing our nation is overcoming the racism of the past that has plagued our country since it first began. As a result, all of these biased opinions about minorities are molded into our history and must be broken if we are to overcome the racism of the many generations that came before us. On the other hand, with the diversity that exist in our nation there are also many benefits. People who keep an open mind are able to learn about new cultures and religions first hand that they would normally not have a chance to. Furthermore, it would go a long way in helping to minimize prejudice, racism, and discrimination because when people are exposed to different types of beliefs and cultures, they then begin to view it as the norm rather than strange. More important, if adults, especially parents, can set aside their own personal bias against a certain religion or race, and not project those upon their children it will also give them a chance to be exposed to the many different cultures that exist in this world, some without even leaving the city or town they live in. Therefore, if we would all keep an open mind about people who are different from us we could not only learn something useful from each other, but also experience all the wonderful things like different dances and foods. Moreover, in order to foster a climate of acceptance and cultural pluralism in the United States, it will take the actions of many types of people to change the current standards in today's society. We find easy to poke fun at someone because of their appearance or the color of their skin, however, we find it even harder to be the one willing to stand up and stop it. In addition, if e can change the culture in America by the way we as individuals view ourselves. If we can accept color blindness, and notice the positive things that every person has and what they have to offer regardless of their race, color, religion, or sexual preference, only then will the United States have a chance of moving past the hate and work toward the acceptance of all people as Americans, rather than Black, White, Hispanic, Christian, Jews or Muslims. With this said, the media plays a big role in perpetuating stereotyping and prejudice by always noting the race of a person who has committed a crime, especially if they are from a minority race. For example, when the killing of the Australian man by a group of three teenagers happened in Duncan, OK on August 16, the very first suspect our local media spoke about was the black teenager. Keep in mind, there were three of them, one who was white and one who had a white mother, but it was a the black teenager they focused on first. However, the media can also help foster appreciation for diversity by developing stories about how diversity in our culture can help us become better people. For instance, the city I live in, Kansas City, MO, recently had an Ethnic Enrichment Festival where over 60 countries were represented by their different dress and foods. The event was a huge success in large part because our local media did a good job advertising it on the news, and in addition, did a follow up story to how and why it was so successful. Hence, I believe it should be the obligation of the media to spread stories that inspire people, and maybe not point out at the beginning of a breaking news story that a black teenager, along with two others has been accused of shooting an innocent man in the back because they were bored. The United States and the individuals that live here could work together to reduce prejudice and enjoy each other's diversity by doing what is hardest first, and that is to change their way of thinking. When we can refer and see each other as individuals, and not as collective members of a certain group, and take responsibility to foster those beliefs then maybe it will become more common. Thus, when people start working together with each other, and stop judging based on the color of their skin, only then can we as individuals help reduce prejudice and enjoy the diversity each and every one of us brings to this country. Without a doubt, I believe the biggest change that I need to make to be more inclusive and pluralistic is to be more open minded when approaching people and complex diverse situations. Like most others I have always based my views on the morals I was raised with. Although I was not raised to be prejudice, I was also not taught how to handle issues when it comes to culture diversity. As a result, I have learned to research and understand more about different cultures than my own before forming and acting upon an uneducated opinion. In conclusion, learning more about the diversity of the many cultures in the United States enables a person to explore other cultures, ethnic groups, religions, and life styles. Moreover, the trends in immigration will force those who refuse to accept the minorities as part of our society, because by 2050 they will become the majority. As a result, our nation as a long way to go before we can foster a climate of acceptance and culture pluralism.

References
Armas, Genaro C. (2009, February 11). America's face is changing. Retrieved from www.cbs.news.com/2100-201_162-607022.html
Schaefer, Richard T. (13th ed.). (2012). Racial and Ethnic Groups. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.…...

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