Diversity. That word has been tossing around my head more and more these days. The third definition in my android's app, "Dictionary," says diversity is "the inclusion of individuals representing more than one national origin, color, religion, socioeconomic stratum, sexual orientation, etc."
With the upcoming presidential election and the seemingly resurgence of white supremacist groups stoked by Trump and his followers, I am asking myself 'what's up with that?'
Eight years ago when now President Barrack Obama won the presidential race, those in power and mostly people of European descendants saw this as proof that racism is no longer an issue. With that mentality we have witnessed threats of dismantling many laws, policies, and guidelines supporting affirmative action under the guise that minorities no longer need protection since the playing field is now "even."
Unfortunately recent events shows that racism is still alive and kicking in the USA. The easiest way to check on the advancement of minorities is to look at statistics. When linking demography to poverty levels it clearly shows a direct correlation to the lack of progress in areas populated by people of color. We can choose to ignore the history of why certain segments of our society have not been able or allowed to progress but by doing so nothing will change.
This brings me back to the subject of diversity and the importance of consciously reflecting and celebrating the different people that fabricate our country into our everyday life. If we do not try and make the effort to include those who are and have historically been excluded we will continue to be weighted down by our past and moving forward will become more difficult.
Our country was taken from the indigenous population and built by slaves and indentured servants as well as other immigrants who willingly came here for more opportunities and a better life. Do we still owe the descendent of these unwilling participants anything? The emancipation proclamation ultimately was no more than a velleity that was never fulfilled. So the answer is yes, we do still owe them.
For as much as some would like to believe that reparations were made, the sad reality is that many honest efforts were crushed and attempted advancements by people of color, specifically blacks and indigenous people, were purposely destroyed. Just look into the Jim Crow laws, the re-zoning laws (specially during elections), the destruction of thriving black towns by either burnings or redevelopment and displacements (such as in Greenwood, Tulsa, Oklahoma "Black Wall Street," the Rosewood Massacre, and the Fillmore district to name a few) and a pattern can be seen.
I felt impelled to write this article after looking through the contributors section of a series of interior and architechtural magazines, the racial divide was clearly apparent. Magazines that label themselves as hip and cutting edge but are not inclusive are parasitical and delusional because they do not see themselves as part of the alienation process that excludes large segments of our society at the risk of repelling potential subscribers.
The practice of disenfranchisement that intentionally and unintentionally permeates our culture only serves to harm us as a society. We should learn from our past and take note of what happened to Americans of Japanese descendants during World War II and the current atmosphere toward Americans of Arab descents.
The road ahead is not easy but we must work together on breaking down these walls of ignorance created by our forefathers by being proactive in making an earnest attempt at educating ourselves regardless of our ethnicity, faith, or economic status if we are to move forward. Perhaps understanding that none of us are immune to the subliminal messages put out by the media may be a starting point and a source of discussion. Whites and those in power should own up to the actions, policies, and laws of their ancestors that created our current society and minorities should question some of their choices and also put in the necessary effort needed to empower themselves.