Thoughts on Equality and Acceptance



America is made up of 50 states, 20,000 cities, more than 100 million households, and over 313.9 million individuals, all completely different. We call it diversity, a noun representing each of those 313.9 million faces and their unique stories.

Most people in the United States celebrate the eclectic cultures that make up the “melting pot” but others simply ostracize and attack it. Most of the hatred that has swelled in our history as a nation has branched from a lack of competence and awareness of different cultures.

Strong proponents of this idea are the massive stereotypes that characterize our social media sites, dinner conversations, and even personal thoughts. Look at Twitter, for example, and scroll down the timeline of the “Typical White Girl” account. It has almost become a cliché that every girl who walks out of Biggby with a pumpkin spice latte becomes so-called “typical” and gets a tease from one of her friends.

However, what if that simple action is innocent and has nothing to do with a stereotype – I mean those lattes are actually really good. Even without purposeful negative connotations, stereotypes are unwarranted and simply immoral.

Take the recent Miss America pageant for example. As Indian-American contestant Nina Davuluri was crowned Miss America 2014, social media sites like Twitter erupted in a fury of anger and contempt for her race. Comments involving 9/11 terrorist remarks and other dense, ill-defended stereotypes surrounded her moment of being the first woman of Indian heritage to take the crown.

The ignorance of those derisive remarks stemmed from the belief that Davuluri was from a country in the Middle East or Muslim just because of her skin color, which is unwarranted since she is of Indian descent and is Hindu. Davuluri, a born and raised American, is just as patriotic as any one of us – which explains why she was voted to represent the country as Miss America. In 2010, Rima Fakih, an Arab-American Miss USA, received similar remarks from the media.

People around the country went so far as to accuse both women of being Al-Qaeda- planted terrorists. Not only are allegations like those completely ridiculous and hurtful, they are also simply ignorant.

It is no secret that diversity not only advocates different cultures but also different beliefs and values. In America, families raise their children differently and parents teach differing assumptions about certain cultures.

Sylvania is not the most diverse of places, which is shown in our own high schools. In 2010, in a U.S. News report, Northview reported having a 9% minority enrollment and a 91% Caucasian enrollment – that means that in a room of ten individuals less than one person would be of some ethnicity or race other than Caucasian.

It is no wonder that many of us do not have a full grasp on more complex cultures. Do those numbers really mean anything in the big picture though? Not really. Just because our surroundings do not thoroughly represent the diversity of America does not mean that it isn’t important to learn about it.

Through current events, school lessons, even social media, it is easy to see that contributions from all over the world compile American culture. Our cars, computers, phones are prime examples of the way other cultures influence and create our own. It is the people, though, that make the difference.

America is the “melting pot,” the land of opportunity and freedom for all 313.9 million of us and it is time to make it look that way.

While heritage and culture can define a person, race should never separate someone from a crowd, especially when portrayed in a negative light. For so many people of different races, America comes first and their country of origin comes second.

In the case of Davuluri, a girl born and raised in America, it is clear that she holds this country as her priority and she should not be ostracized for that. The same goes for any individual- Caucasian, African American, Asian, Pacific Islander – everyone deserves the same respect.