Though social and ethnic diversity has always been part of the American landscape it hasn’t always been generally embraced. Much of this nation is still struggling to recognize the richness and contributions that diversity inherent brings. Majority groups often feel threatened by the intrusion of other social influences such as members of the LGBT community or the physically or mentally handicapped or the Black community. Many ethnic groups tend to cluster into geographically isolated areas conveniently tucked away out of sight, out of mind.
Historically this nation has been largely about immigrants and the social and religious outcasts. But even the predominant Anglo-Saxons were once immigrants themselves. This tradition of exclusion has its origins with the English. They had a snobbish superiority towards those not of English blood or skin color. Catholics, Jews, and people of other religions were also looked down upon.
But as a young colony people from England often came here to escape England’s discriminatory laws such as the Pilgrims for there fundamentalists Christian beliefs. Many Europeans came here with the hope of the promise land. The laws in the colonies were far more lax than in England. Land was plentiful and opportunities seemingly endless.
This new nation was created with a vision mirrored in the Constitution reflecting the openness, freedom, equality, and diversity so lacking under British rule. The Bill of Rights further embraces and protects the diversity of man to believe as they wished, speak their mines freely, live their own lifestyles, and peruse their dreams and aspirations. It endows each individual equal rights under law. A just government which represents the population as well as each state was established with the equal division of power with checks and balances to limit the abuses that power engenders, the antithesis of the British Crown. The founders of this nation were visionaries far ahead of their time then as well as now.
Unfortunately the love of power seems inherent in the character of man. With such power comes greed and corruption. So over the decades the vision for this nation has been corrupted. Powerful men have cleverly devised technicalities around the words and intentions of the Constitution and Bill of Rights corrupting the vision they were intended to preserve. Each branch of government has extended its authority and devised laws and redrawn the boundaries of powers making ineffectual the checks and balances once functional to protect against such abuses. So we are now a nation of law that frequently do not serve to benefit the diversity and freedom of its citizenry.
Throughout this nations history laws have been created to subjugate, humiliate, segregate, discriminate, alienate, and eliminate groups and classes of people who were not considered socially worthy of inclusion. This was most blatantly demonstrated after the Civil War when Blacks were supposedly emancipated but Jim Crow Laws in the south segregated them from normal society making things even worst. These laws violated everything the Bill of Rights was intended to protect. These southerners did not consider Blacks people so they were not protected under the Bill of Rights. This was in clear violation of the Constitution and everything this nation was supposed to stand for.
But racism and exclusionism didn’t stop or start with the Emancipation Proclamation. Hispanics, Irish, Italians, Asians, Catholics, gays, the physical and mental handicap, women, and many other ethnic and socially underrepresented groups also had their share of unjust and unequal treatment under the law in spite of the protections guaranteed under the Constitution and Bill of Rights. People were humiliated, flagrantly beaten, terrorized, raped, tortured, shot, hung or otherwise dispensed with often openly while law enforcement turned a blind eye. Such terrorist groups as the KKK ruled the land. It is far better now but still racial incidences of police brutality and shootings of Blacks makes the headlines and subtler forms of exclusion and inequality persist.
The founders of this nation were extraordinarily perceptive in their vision for a perfect nation. They suffered unjust laws and exclusion by the British Crown before this nation was formed and felt so oppressed that they declared their independence from this oppression and devised a new nation free of such injustices. They realized that the diversity of citizens would make this nation great. Diversity in culture, ideas, and beliefs can complement each other gaining the greatest advantage of each to make a society stronger. The diversity of each ethnicity, culture, lifestyle, and belief in a free environment in totality makes for a far more enriching society. It takes the diversity of mankind to bring out the very best ideas and values that make for a better society. This is a melting pot of people ripe for such a rich and inclusive society.
It has been projected that by around 2040 the majority White population will no longer be. Why not embrace the richness of diversity as the founders of this nation envisioned now instead of waiting after 2040? Why not learn from one another instead of alienating each other towards what ends?