Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Multiculturalism In America

By: D. DiFrancesco

“Definition Multiculturalism: is the coexistence of diverse cultures, where culture includes racial, religious, or cultural groups and is manifested in customary behaviors, cultural assumptions and values, patterns of thinking, and communicative styles.”

I think it is disingenuous of Americans to decry multiculturalism when this nation is and always has been the poster child for multiple cultures living within the same border.

This country is comprised of people from every nation and every religious faith on this planet and that to me is what makes this such a wonderful and rich place to live.  Take Little Italy, Chinatown and any other culturally segregated community within the U.S., they are rich with the cultures of the peoples from which they came and no one is attempting to change that.

Unfortunately, many Americans have given in to abject fear and have condemned an entire religion and all of its 1.6 billion people as contrary to what America stands for.  Some of our presidential candidates have done nothing to calm those fears and ground those individuals back in reality, instead
they have stoked the fires of prejudice, racism and hate to the point of barbarism.  How sad it is that a nation of immigrants is now turning their backs on the latest iteration of those looking for protection and a better life.  I am not advocating open borders, nor am I saying that we should allow an unlimited number of individuals to enter as we will need time to absorb them.  This also doesn’t mean that they should not be vetted as best as humanly possible before allowing them to enter the country, but even with this there are no guarantees.  I do however, take exception to denying all peoples of a particular faith from entering simply because of their faith and our irrational fears.  This is just as much religious persecution as Christians are claiming they suffer and it is not the American way no matter how one tries to spin it.

We have always accepted immigrants, as a matter-of-fact my great grandparents were immigrants to this great country and though they never learned english in their lifetimes well enough to make it their
spoken language, their children did. Initially they were not welcomed with open arms to this country, instead they were treated as something lesser, but over a generation they did learn the language and assimilated.  Today, we don’t give Italians a second thought and I’m certain there are dozens of other nationalities that could make the same claim.  To take this a step further, there were Italians that committed terrible acts of violence in this country yet we did not deny every immigrant from Italy entrance. Though I am comparing nationality with religious belief, they are similar and in the end people are people.

Whether we like it or not, we live in a much more connected world, our lives are much more intertwined and distances between peoples are not as great as they once were. This intertwining is only going to accelerate in the coming years.

I propose that foreign policies both diplomatic and covert that meddle in the affairs of sovereign countries with little to no repercussion have clearly come to an end.  Everything we say and everything we do is almost instantaneously broadcast to the world via television and the internet.  The days of America exploiting other countries for their natural resources, namely oil for corporate profit is rapidly coming to a close as well.  Could it be that this greed along with our dismal foreign policies over the past decades have finally caught up with us?  Could it be that these very things are what have created ISIS and other radical factions throughout the world?  To deny this possibility would show nothing more than ignorance and a blatant disregard of the facts.

We cannot go back to the white picket fences and “Leave It To Beaver” times of the 1950’s, technology has taken us too far forward.  Maybe it is time that we embrace multiculturalism instead of fighting it tooth-and-nail, changing the hearts and minds of our adversaries by example instead of bullet. This
does not mean we should not defend ourselves when the need arises, but it should not be our first response to every crisis.  I also do not advocate making every accommodation to a particular culture if it is contradictory or dangerous to our way of life. No, this change won’t happen overnight as much as we would like it to.  We do however, have to start someplace for the sake of our children and our children’s children lest we perpetuate this hatred and violence for generations to come.

I welcome your thoughts on this important issue, but please be courteous as we are all friends here.