A Better America Through Multiculturalism

The wide array of cultures in the United States is part of what makes it great. Unfortunately, in the past few decades, a surge of intolerance to cultures other than the one of the dominant one has swept parts of the nation. Many Americans have taken to the newspapers, podiums, and internet forums speaking a message of conformity and assimilation. In order for America to remain great for the immediate future and beyond, the citizens must educate themselves on not just tolerance, but the reason why they should value those cultures.

America was founded on the ideals of the rights of the individual and freedom from the tyranny of the majority. Escaping religious and ideological persecution in Britain, the first Americans sailed to a new beginning. Over the next few decades, people of all races and cultures flocked to the fledgeling nation in hopes of finding their new beginning as well, often escaping from the very thing the original Americans escaped from.
Over time, America developed its own culture as one of democracy and freedom. Slavery was toppled and women’s suffrage was instituted. Wars were fought and many more were threatened over the ideals of democracy and freedom. A lot of that spark of benevolence and philanthropy has been lost recently. The United States instead remains steadfast in nationalism and the “American Way,” which is best described as white and English-speaking.
The country which once embraced the motto of “E Pluribus Unum,” or “Out of Many, One,” has seen many of its citizens embrace not only intolerance, but hatred of people different from the American mould. Immigrants are turned away or called thieves by the people whose ancestors traveled from the other side of the ocean just a few centuries ago.
This really is a major problem. The United States is no longer the absolute leader in world affairs like it was a few decades ago. China, Japan, Russia, and a large majority of the EU are becoming very powerful countries militarily, scientifically, and economically. Performing the diplomatic equivalent of flexing every time they have relations with another country, the US will quickly shut itself out of the global conversation. Shutting itself out of the friendly politics of the world would not be a good thing for the United States. When countries cooperate, they can often share amazing ideas and great amounts of trade. Barring itself from these relationships would be a foolhardy action to take. If America expects to remain a powerhouse in global affairs, it must learn to accept other cultures. While this is a big problem, there are many solutions.
As with most issues, change must come first from within. Cultural education must go beyond social studies in middle school. More diverse and interesting language and cultural studies must be offered at the high school and university level. Tolerance must start at an early age if it is to take hold. Much discussion of multiculturalism in the United States has been had in recent years. Some argue that it is divisive, while some embrace the diversity that it gives us. No better example of this can be found than in the reaction to the Coca-Cola ad aired during the Super Bowl just a few weeks ago. While some may find this silly, debate over a Coke ad played during the Super Bowl is about as American as something can get. Intolerance, which some previously would have said was non-existant, was thrown around by both average citizens and major political figures on social networks and other communication avenues. Some are saying that the many languages spoken in the ad are an example of the “balkanization of America.” (Killough, 2014) As a nation of individuals joining together to further a common purpose and set of ideals, balkanization just does not seem to be the situation. No one in that ad was angry or warring. They were joined, singing one of our most prized songs, all seemingly rejoicing as Americans. Better immigration policies and an easier naturalization process would help greatly. If a person from outside the United States is eager to be a United States citizen, they are probably eager to help the interests of the United States. Why make it difficult for that person to come here and bring their skills and willingness to use them?

Another issue found with Sen. Sessions’ argument is the very obvious bias. He almost mentions democrats and Obama more than the issue at hand. As immigrants are more likely to vote for Democrats, it is easy to assume bias on the part of Sen. Sessions. Better cultural education and immigration form are just two ideas. There is a vast number of possible ways to increase cultural sensitivity and tolerance. The potential for improvement internally as well as externally demands the United States begin to alleviate the issues causing this intolerance and insensitivity. The alternative is decline and eventually, irrelevance on the global stage. In closing, America is a single country, yet it is also a country of many. The United States has always been a nation where the many joined hands and stood for democracy, freedom, and the rights of all.
Without that cultural glue, the country does not stand to make it into the global affairs of tomorrow. While the situation has worsened in recent decades, it is far from irreparable. Better cultural education and and immigration reform are but two of the many ideas that could help mend our cultural infrastructure. As a country that always seems to look forward, these ideas will surely flourish in the near future.
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