American Diversity

Posted on July 4, 2011 by

America is a diverse country. It has always been very diverse, and it is becoming more so. There were the Colonistas and the Natives, the Pilgrims and the Indians, the Southerners and the Slaves, the Railroad Tycoons and the Asian Workers, the Cajuns and the Anglos, the Sharecroppers and Jim Crow, the Immigrants and the WASPS, the Germans and the Japanese, the Texans and the Mexicans, the Apaches and the Settlers, and so on and so forth.

Some like to say, “Fifty years ago, America was white!”, but that falls flat in any less-diverse country. It’s only a convincing argument to Americans. They seem to forget that Germany renamed itself a “land of immigration” with less than 10% non-German. So the American numbers — even at their “white hegemony” peak — are absolutely astonishing in comparison. Do you realize that there are people in Europe who have never even seen anyone who wasn’t white? That there are people there that have never even seen anyone who wasn’t from the same ethnic group?

Do you also realize that even the whites in America are very diverse? It is not merely that there are many different ethnicities represented here, but that they are often represented in the same individual person. They come from all over the world, and their ancestry description reads like a travel guide. When they begin to rattle off their respective lists, my mind reels and I can barely keep it all straight, “So your great-grandmother was Iroquois, your great-grandfather was Irish Catholic, your other great-grandmother was French Canadian… or was that you great-grandfather? Oh yes, he was Polish and married to a woman from British India…”

America is a country in constant flux, yearly on the verge of a breakdown into chaos, and its diversity is one major reason for that. Things never really settle down here. Life doesn’t just plod along, and the only thing constant in America is change. America didn’t just have a Wild West, America is the Wild West. The human churn comes at a high price, as we see today, but it has also offered opportunities for those willing to take the risk and jump into it.

America has long been considered the Land of Opportunity because its diversity makes it easy for newcomers to plow a new path. Take Dirk Nowitzki: a reserved, well-manned German man who made it to the top of the NBA through quiet determination and hard work. What about Marlene Dietrich, Heidi Klum, or Albert Einstein? What drew them to America? Why not Canada, England, or Australia?

It’s the diversity, stupid. You follow where your ancestor’s went, or you go someplace so diverse that having a strange accent or unusual appearance doesn’t immediately make you an outcast. There aren’t actually many such places out there, and America is definitely one of them. I know from experience, as does my mother, and my husband, and my cousin.

Things are getting harder in America right now, people are pessimistic, sentiment is down. I pray Americans can hold together during the trying times ahead, and tribalism doesn’t break out. It would be a real shame for such a great country to decline into ethnic fiefdoms. Let’s not forget that our ancestors came here to get away from places like that because they’re stifling. A place where everyone is the same, is a place where no one is allowed to be different.

For now, a glimpse into the future: