A Multicultural Country

Nicholas Grous
Writing 100
Assignment 1
A Multicultural Country
E Pluribus Unum the Latin phrase our country was built around, which
means “Out of many one”. This statement can be interpreted in different ways and
the authors Ronald Takaki and Arthur M. Schlesinger show just that. Takaki wrote
the article, “A Different Mirror” which talks mainly about different situations in our
country’s history that illustrate the struggles minority groups went through when
trying to assimilate. Takaki’s opinion on the matter is that, “By looking at these
groups from a multicultural perspective, we can comparatively analyze their
experiences in order to develop an understanding of their differences and
similarities (548).” So for Takaki education about minority groups is important in
helping keep the country unified. With a polar opposite view on the matter
Schlesinger wrote the article, “The Cult of Ethnicity” arguing not to celebrate and
inform people about the different ethnic groups that make up our population. He
will argue that close ethnic groups are causing are country to shift from Unum to
pluribus (144). In other words people are beginning to identify not as American but
as there ethnic background whatever it may be. This according to Schlesinger was
not always the case. Before we had Self-appointed spokesmen and a crumbling
school curriculum (145) The united States was a shining example of how to
effectively unify different cultures.
Looking at both articles the opinions of the authors are clear and opposing.
On one hand Schlesinger believes that we should not celebrate and educate our
society on individual ethnic groups, and on the other hand Takaki believes we
should. Takaki and I share the same views; education about the history of different
minority groups will benefit our country. Reasons being that we as humans are able
to learn from our past and hopefully not continue to deny minorities their
unalienable rights Also if we can understand other cultures then on some level we
will be able to relate to them, because that is human nature. With education also
comes the disproving of the primordial stereotypes that degrade ethnic groups.
Every ethnic group, from the first Africans to the more recent Hispanics, has
had their problems trying to become identified as American. We have denied in
some way many minorities their rights to becoming an American. Takaki writes
about many in his article; the civil rights movement, rioting of Rodney king, and the
hostility towards the Japanese during world war two are all bumps in the road when
dealing with ethnicity (545). From chain gangs to the oval office African Americans,
are the prime examples for other Ethnic groups still in distress. The civil rights
movement and the Rodney King incident were catalyst in the acceptance of Africans
into our country. The Japanese had their share of problems fitting in as well as is
noted in the article. During world war II Japanese Americans were force to live in
Interment Camps. It did not matter if you were first or third generation, if you
looked Japanese you were put in them. These examples can be used to educate
people; by being aware of these awful times in our country we can then move past
them and avoid them in the future. Hopefully, when new immigration happens in
this country the transition to becoming an American will be easier.
Being an American means many things to many different people. For me
there is no one type of American. Even in my hometown the population is
predominately white I understand the diverse country that we live in, why? It was
emphasized everyday in school growing up. We learned about the struggles our
country went through. One example of this would be when the inauguration of the
First Black President happened our school district had every kid in classrooms
watching. They knew and wanted us to know how big of a deal this was, and we got
the point. Takaki denotes, “we are a multicultural society and that race can no
longer be defined in binary terms of black and white (542).” Being a nation made up
of many cultures the single most import way for us to stay unified is to get to know
the races that make America-America. Knowing the culture, history and economic
situation of an ethnic group will help resolve and deter conflicts between groups.
With many minority groups living within close proximity of each other conflicts are
bound to occur. Such as the Irish banning together to gain political power at the
expense of the chinese and blacks (547). However, there have been examples when
understanding the other guy has helped unify different ethnic groups. The Jewish
community backed the 1917 East St. Louis race Riot that consisted of many African
Americans. Another instance was when the Jewish fans were cheering for Jackie
Robinson when many others booed. It could be said that the Jewish people were
aware of the struggles the blacks were going threw at the time and sympathized
with them. The understanding of Ethnic groups has played and continues to play
apart of the unification of the cultures living in the United States.
Living in a land with different ethnic groups causes people to generalize and
stereotype. For most Americans it’s a natural reaction to look at another and Judge
immediately based on appearance. Takaki’s trip to San Francisco is a quintessential
example. He was reminded by his taxi driver, who thought of Takaki as a foreigner
because of his Asian features, that most people think of Americans as coming from
European decent (538). With that in mind you can see why most immigrants had a
hard time fitting in. To this day you hear people make racist and ignorant comments
based on physical traits. In my town we had a kid that was from Muslim decent and
kids would constantly make jokes about him being connected to the 9/11 attacks.
This means we have work to do and understanding each other is the only true way
to rid society of stereotypes.
Realistically our country will never truly have a totally united population.
Yet, this in my opinion is not a big deal. The reason being is that were all not here to
get along with everyone. It is a sad thought if you think about it but there is always
going to be someone you don’t like. You may never really know why you don’t like
them, and that is the case with most ethnic discrimination. People may hate an
entire population of ethnically similar people because of stereotypes. To eliminate
this hatred we need to educate ourselves about the different ethnicities that live in
our country. Once this happens maybe we will be able to not hate each other, but
help each other achieve the goal of – living the American dream.