Multicultural America


August 3, 2007 by multiracialsky

My husband was driving to work one morning this week. When he turned on the car, the radio was still tuned to the music station he had scanned through on the way home from work the evening before. In the morning, this station was talk radio. He likes talk radio, so he listened for a few minutes, until he heard this:

“We White Christians need to stick together. Multiculturalism is destroying America.”

Whoa! (The long and very well-written article A Kinder, Gentler Racism describes why white supremacist groups believe ‘extremists’ is no longer an accurate label for them, because many of their beliefs–such as the one parroted by the talk show host above–are no longer on the fringe of society; these Euro-centric views are being freely espoused across the country by mainstream politicians, television and radio commentators, and news agencies.)

This does seem to be a common sentiment these days, one that I’m hearing way more often than I’d like (okay, I’d never like to hear this, especially when flipping the dial). I am at the opposite end of this spectrum. I believe multiculturalism is one of the best things about this country, and about my family and our group of friends. Diversity is not only a way to survive (I’m talking about genetic diversity here), but a way to thrive, filling your life with sundry perspectives, experiences, customs, beliefs, foods, clothing, music, and celebrations.

Among this breath-taking array of cultures that encompass our country and our world, I see the pieces from Europe, from Asia, from Africa, from Australia, and from the Americas. I try to un-entwine them back to their beginnings–back to where I can say this part of U.S. culture we can attribute to Ireland, this part to the Cherokee nation, this part to the people of Ghana–but it is impossible to separate and sort the (good and bad) parts of our nation’s culture.

The United States was multicultural before the first Asian and European explorers set foot on this land. (Native American tribes each had their own set of customs and traditions, some more similar than others.) The concept that there is a homogeneous “American Culture” is absurd. We can’t agree on what “Black American Culture” is, and I have friends and family who are both White and Christian who would not group themselves culturally (or any other way) with that radio commentator.

American culture (I just mean the United States, and yes, using the term ‘American’ to signify the U.S. is so arrogant) is multicultural. Again: American culture is multicultural. Our multiculturalism may be the defining element of our culture. We are a nation whose legacy includes people and traditions from every nation. If we can fully embrace our multicultural heritage, it may prove to be the United States’ greatest strength.


6 thoughts on “Multicultural America

  1. HERE HERE! I could not have said it better myself. It is nice to see my sentiments reflected in your blog. Glad I found it. My blog is evolving from an account of my adoption experience to one that supports and explores the multicultural family. Thanks for the great post. Sad to hear about some of the junk on the radio.

  2. Kate says:

    Yes, how true. One of the things that has struck me most as I’m reading more about “Interculturalism” ( as opposed to “multiculturalism”, though of course the terms are used in different ways by different people and groups, so it’s not absolute) is the fact that no culture is monolithic, and in fact cultures are constantly in a state of flux as they come into contact with other cultures and as individuals reinterpret what “culture” means to them. In a country like the US, I think it especially hard to parse out what contributions can be attributed to which cultures, and the mix is truly enriching. If only more people recognized this!

  3. titus2woman says:

    This really bothers me too~I must listen to the same conservative talk show host! LOL! and I always bristle at this thought. (((((HUGS))))) sandi

  4. marie says:

    When my cousins were younger, my grandma decided one year to buy each of the granddaughters (minus me – I was in high school already) an American Girl doll. She asked each mother what their daughters would like, and ordered that doll for them. One of my cousins had asked for Addy, at the time the only non-white doll (we are an all-white family,one/two generations removed from Dutch immigrants). Her mom, instead, had some white doll purchased for her. So at the Christmas party, my cousin is crying out of disappointment, my aunt is trying to defend herself, and I heard my dad say, “By 2025, whites will be a minority in this country. Wouldn’t it be great if [cousin] could say, “My mom was aware of how multicultural a country we are and are becoming, and helped me get ready to be an adult in it.”?”

    It has stuck with me. You are right, this country is inherently multicultural, and it’s sad to see people fear that – and pass that fear on to their children – instead of welcoming it.

    Love your blog, by the way 🙂

  5. Sabrina says:

    I can see that fear with “White American Nationalists” have andit is expressed in this “Anti-Immigration Movemeny”. Some of these “Patriots” *cough* think “Blacks aren’t that bad as we’ve given them our culture and civilization” (Which isn’t true; may be the opposite in some aspect) So imagine how much these people HATE “Non-White” immigrants.
    Also EVERYONE besides Native Americans & African-Americans are immigrants or descendants of. Afican-Americans are an ethnic, not racial, groups descended from slaves brought from West Africa.
    NATIVE AMERICANS are persons native to ALL of the Americas and came here 50,000-60,000 years before Christopher Columbus to his financed journey to the CARIBBEAN (Some North & West Africans had accidently sailed to the Americas before Columbus who was financially supported by Converted-Jewish Christians, voyaged in 1942, the same year the Spanish kicked the Moors out of Spain)
    NATIVE AMERICANS are the one and only true AMERICANS! And I am proud to have some Awarak/Carib ancestry!

  6. Good information. Lucky me I discovered your website by chance (stumbleupon).
    I have book marked it for later!

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