22 October 2002
There are many things that affect the way that Americans live today.
Racism, discrimination, and prejudice are extensive in our American
culture. Although racism and discrimination are not accepted as they were
in the 1940’s through the 1960’s, these things still exist in our society
and are still being used socially today. Racism is a belief that race is
the primary determinant of human traits and capacities, and those racial
differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race. In
addition to racism, Americans also tend to be ethnocentric. Americans tend
to believe that their race is superior to any others and tend to judge
other racial backgrounds from the perspective of their own ethnicity. On
the other hand, multiculturalism can be a possible solution to problems
like ethnocentrism and racism.
Cultural minorities experience racism as a part of their everyday
life. They are treated differently and discriminated against as if they
are not American. They experience verbal abuse and slander from people of
majorities. Racism and discrimination go hand in hand, as racism leads to
discrimination. Discrimination is the treatment given based on the class,
race, religion etc. of a person. Even if racism and discrimination are not
legal anymore, they still haven’t been eliminated from today’s society.
For example, a few decades ago blacks weren’t allowed to go to the same
school as whites, they had to sit in the back of the bus and were not
treated as equals. Minorities were not allowed to go to the same school as
others. These are some instances of the ways that the government
discriminated against blacks. Racism in those days was exploited to
such an extent that only whites were treated in a respectable manner. The
Italians, Irish, and Jews were also victims of racism and discrimination to
some extent. Thus, so much racism is unhealthy for a nation’s progress as
it creates tension in a society and a nation, and keeps us from maintaining
unity, keeping peace and helping each other.
Ethnocentrism is the belief that one’s culture is superior to that of
others thus judging other cultures as substandard compared to their own.
Americans tend to cocoon themselves with their own culture so that no other
culture can penetrate it and open their eyes to a new dimension. This
makes them less accepting of others and their culture and ethnicity.
Narrow mindedness on our side could create confusion, misunderstanding, and
thus leading to conflicts in the future. If one could look at other
cultures from a different perspective and a broad standpoint there would be
more understanding amongst us as a nation.
Multiculturalism is the solution and the bright side to be focused
on. If all the negative aspects like racism and ethnocentrism were to be
overlooked, adding the best of other cultures can enrich American culture.
American culture is so diverse and consists of so many cultures and
ethnicities all over the world. Multiculturalism is bound to eliminate
racism and making one more accepting of others and their culture. This
would welcome more immigrants, which not only contributes to cultural
enrichment but also technological progress. Learning about other cultures
and accepting them is bound to broaden our horizons and makes us more open-
minded. Thus, for the reasons mentioned above multiculturalism can help
eliminate racism and ethnocentrism.
There is an evident need for Americans to come out of their shells,
look at the bigger picture, and cease being judgmental. This could
advocate many positive beliefs in future and get
rid of the negative tenets like racism and ethnocentricity. Therefore,
multiculturalism should be promoted which with any luck will eventually
abolish all the cultural negativity in America.
Alongside, Americans shouldn’t judge people by their skin color or
religion but accept them for whom they are, and what background they come
from. They should not be so judgmental in the way that they think and see
people. Everyone in America is an American, and should be recognized as
such. Nobody should be excluded from or looked upon as being different
because of their background or ethnicity. America is supposed to be “The
Land of the Free,” if Americans continue to discriminate against people of
different ethnicities, then America is not what it is said to be.
Americans should embrace all cultures, races, and ethnicities. This would
make America a better place for all people.