“Greetings! I am pleased to see that we are different. May we together become greater than the sum of both of us.”—a Vulcan greeting from the TV series Star Trek. It’s another form of E Pluribus Unum. With the extreme polarization contaminating the United States today, many of us wonder how we can ever come together and be “greater than the sum of both of us.”
Years ago, my book Cultural Diversity: Conflicts and Challenges was published. Today some of that book seems naïve with my hopeful message of uniting and celebrating the diverse heritages, cultures, races, religions of U.S. citizens. I wrote about a nation of immigrants overcoming great challenges to become part of the “melting pot,” or the “tossed salad” of the United States.
The book was full of dozens of quotes from young people who were positive about togetherness in spite of differences in cultures. One teen said that “having different cultures is a good thing. If everyone were the same, life as we know it would be extremely boring.” Another teenager declared that people “who ae prejudiced are in need of a lesson, they are worse than kids; they need to grow up and take a look at the world. There is more than one race, religion, etc. and they cannot change that so they need to get over it.” A third young woman said “We should join together to celebrate our American heritage and the heritage of all the other nationalities of which America is comprised.”
In the current political climate, I wonder if those teens (now in their 30s) would be so optimistic about what can be accomplished regarding people of diverse heritage and backgrounds.
Today, the Trump administration and followers have little or no love for cultural diversity. While the month of June is Immigrant Heritage Month (celebrated nationwide each year since 2014), Trump barely mentioned it. Instead he proclaimed June 2018 as National Caribbean-American Heritage Month, noting: “During Caribbean-American Heritage Month, we honor America’s long-shared history with our neighbors in the Caribbean and celebrate the Caribbean Americans who have enriched our Nation.” That’s barely a nod to Immigrant Heritage Month. What happened to celebrating people of Mexican heritage? Muslim immigrants? People of African heritage? People of Jewish faith who have immigrated or are descendants of immigrants?
Immigrants and immigration are cuss words to Trump. Rather than repeat the bigotry, racism, and outright cruelty of Trump’s policies regarding immigrants, please read my last blog “Monsters Are Governing America.”