Americans and Multiculturalism
I’ve talked with friends and family and have sometimes gotten blank and uncomfortable stares when mentioning words like “bilingual,” ”multicultural“ and ”diversity“. For many, these concepts can seem foreign and strange…an unreachable and unknown destination. But I want to set the record straight…multiculturalism is for everyone! You don’t have to be a globe trotter or engross yourself in every detail of a culture or language.
A multicultural individual is one who strives to be inclusive of a diversity of elements in their life. Whether it be language, cooking, religion or dancing…there is always an opportunity to intersect tidbits of culture into our daily lives. Each of these tidbits exposes us to diverse ideas that can make us more knowledgeable and appreciative of those who are different from us. Beyond diminishing racism, knowing about each other helps us to be more compassionate and understanding individuals…now who wouldn’t want that?
For decades, America has been known as the “melting pot”, a nation that accepts everyone, but at the same time expects individuals to assimilate into popular culture. But our nation, which has a sour history of persecuting those “different” has begun it’s shift into multiculturalism. We’ve come to see that full assimilation is nearly impossible. Each family has their own ways of doing things and many of us wouldn’t be willing to relinquish every bit of our heritage in order to “fit in”. Diversity is growing and Americans are becoming more aware. We love our General Tso’s chicken, Salsa dancing, Rap music and Yoga meditative techniques. So many diverse elements have become parts of our daily lives. America has now become what analysts have deemed the “mixing bowl,” a nation of growing diversity and cultural acceptance. More and more families are keeping their heritage and even relearning what they’ve lost as Americans become more aware and accepting of foreign concepts.
Multiculturalism is the new way of doing things! From bilingual education to ethnic cooking classes, we all want to be in the know. This is great news for parents and children because the number of resources available is climbing. And what could be better for our children? As parents we want them to be considerate of others and we want them to be prepared for life “in the real world”. Well, here’s our opportunity! In a world driven by multiculturalism…this is the way of the future! Our participation gives them an edge in the job market and in their day to day relationships with co-workers, friends and family.
There is an old saying that my husband’s abuelo used to tell him…“We (parents) give them roots to grow strong and wings to soar high”. This means that parents build the foundation and nourish our children with encouragement. They, in turn, take what we’ve given them and build further into their future. The same goes with multicultural learning. Our job is to start them out with a strong foundation and realize that they will take the bits that they value most to build a life upon them for their own children. In short, you don’t have to know it all…but you can start your children out with both roots and wings to build their own unique identity.
Learn more about Multiculturalism.
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