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Ethnic Groups Essay Sample

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Ethnic Groups Essay Sample

The information that has best helped me to understand and relate to others in ways that I may not have in the past is the fact that the United States is a huge melting pot that reflects a variety of races, genders, and ethnic backgrounds. There is no single race or ethnicity that makes up the fabric of society. It has helped me realize that no matter what a person’s skin color, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation is everyone deserves to be treated as equals and should be given the same opportunities to live their lives without being stereotyped or discriminated against just because they are different in some way. Every person who lives in the United Stated has a right to good jobs, affordable housing, and decent healthcare and no one should be denied these rights because their shin is a different color or they have different religious or ethnic backgrounds. I have also realized that people have suffered a great deal in the past to obtain these rights and our society has come a long way in the last 200 years and the lives of millions of people have a better lifestyle today because of it. Even though we have come a long way we still have a long way to go but we are definitely headed in the right direction. This class has opened my eyes a little more and helped me realize some of the awful things people have had to endure in the past to give their children a chance at a decent life today.

I have always known that the Native American cultural has been treated unfairly in the past. That they have been massacred by the hundreds of thousands, been forced off of their native hunting grounds and forced onto lands that supported little or no wildlife or plant life they were accustomed to survive on. I did however learn that they are one of the minorities that are being treated unfairly today. They are still being forced off of their lands and the drinking water is being polluted by the mining industry. Radioactive waste dumps are being built close to their reservations and the number of cancer cases has risen. I believe that Native Americans have had to endure the worst kind of discrimination in the past and still have to deal with it on a daily basis today. You do not hear about their struggles in the media compared to other minority groups these days. As far as Native Americans are concerned we as a nation have a long way to go towards making thing right for them and their struggles. A high rate of immigration will have a huge affect on the U.S. population between now and the year 2050.

According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census the number of immigrants arriving in the United States has more than tripled over the past three decades, rising from 300,000 a year to over one million, U.S. Bureau of the Census (2012). It also noted that the Non – Hispanic white population would be as low as 53 percent in 2050. This would mean that the majority and minority rates would be greatly affected which would change the racial tides in the United States. Some of the challenges the United States will face due to the diversity of its people will be to be more open-minded and accepting of other people’s beliefs, their rituals, and traditions. Indigenous cultures may foster resentment towards the new coming culture while trying to form a cultural pluralism. We as a society need to understand that we are all one people and need to get rid of the hyphen-American labels we tend to use. As long as ethnic groups keep themselves segregated this creates a “fruit bowl” not a melting pot, which leads to resentment not acceptance. We will have to accept the fact that we are one country and need to be one people. Until people start seeing themselves as equals and rid themselves of the old labels of under-class/victim class, this country will not foster a climate of acceptance for one another.

Some of the benefits of such a diverse society would help us grow as individuals and as a nation. Our minds would be open to different ways of living. By exposing ourselves to different lifestyles you are offered a chance to better understand other cultures and become less closed to the thought that we are all different in some ways and more accepting to the fact. Diversity also promotes more tolerance which will help us accept other cultures and we may even adapt some of those rituals and lifestyles into a new and improved culture. We can use the diversity between each culture to strengthen society as we know it. It will give us the opportunity to learn from each other, grow, and understand different styles of living. Without diversity the world would be a very boring place to live. When we are exposed to diversity we learn tolerance and acceptance which in the long run will lead to a decrease in racism and discrimination. * I think the best way to foster a climate of acceptance and cultural pluralism in the United States would be to teach tolerance and be respectful to one another. We need to keep an open mind towards each other and try to learn from one another’s differences.

People need to try and understand one another and realize that we could become a better society because of it. Once we give in to our fears and leave the stereotypes behind then we can begin to foster a climate of acceptance and cultural pluralism in our society. * Stereotyping and prejudice is perpetuated by the media in several ways. Mass media has played a huge role in the way African Americans and Hispanic Americans are perceived by white Americans. They are depicted as gang members, drug dealers and thieves. When people watch these programs they get the idea that all African Americans and Hispanic Americans are that way. Another stereotype we see in media is woman’s dependency upon men. They depict male characters supporting female characters and the female characters being homemakers taking care of the children and the house. Some examples of these types of shows from when I was growing up are The Brady Bunch, The Dick Van Dyke Show, and The Nanny. Old people in mass media have often been portrayed as old-fashioned, weak, cranky, and senile. Magazines and advertisements employ thin models to display their clothing and other products for sale.

This gives the impression that you have to be thin to be accepted in society. * The media fosters appreciation for diversity by introducing us to different types of people we may not encounter on a regular basis. Programs on the History Channel give us the opportunity to experience other people’s ethnic backgrounds, lifestyles, thoughts and feelings. This allows people to get a better understanding of other cultures and societies. Media can give a better understanding of customs, religions, and the diversity of other cultures. It can break down the barriers between minority and majority groups and give incite to other social structures. It may lead to a common interest or point out facts about other cultures we find interesting and give reasons to want to better understand other cultures. Programs directed toward young children are teaching them to be more accepting to people who are different and helps to break down the cultural barriers. They help to teach the benefits of diversity and that all people are created equally.

* Some ways that society can work together to reduce prejudice and increase appreciation for diversity would be to make a commitment to speak up when we hear racial slurs or remarks against others. Parents could teach their children about other cultures and integrate different traditions with their own. Encourage and help institutions to find ways to contribute to eliminating racism in its policies and practices. Educate yourself and others around you about other cultures and people who are different from you. Learn from the mistakes we as a society have made in the past and move on to a better understanding of each other. Teach children and young people to be more accepting towards diversity and respect others.

Write letters to your local government encouraging them to enforce laws or create new laws to end discrimination. * Ways I could change my own behavior to be more inclusive and pluralistic would be to think critically to avoid misconceptions and stereotypes. Realize that each person is an individual and treat them accordingly. Avoid situations that participate or encourage discrimination and take on the responsibilities of my own behavior. Stand up to people who are speaking against others in a racist or discriminatory way. Let them know it is wrong and that they are being hurtful towards others. Avoid judging others based on their physical characteristics such as age, skin color, ethnic background, or gender. Value diversity and accept others for who they are and do not be afraid of someone because they are different.

References

http://www.census.gov/prod/2002pubs/censr-4.pdf

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