Sunday, February 03, 2008

Jump Into the Melting Pot

The United States is often referred to as a "melting pot" -- a place where people of many different cultures and beliefs live together. Many contend that because of this mix of people, our country is more interesting than it would be if everyone were the same. Some think otherwise. But do most Americans know enough about the different cultures and beliefs of their co-workers and neighbors to ascertain if this is true or not? One thing is for sure, diversity has definitely added another dimension to the presidential election--from both a voter and a candidate perspective.

Having attended many Black History Month programs, I have observed most of them were full of other African Americans. I find these celebrations to be enjoyable and educational. However, it seems to me the programs would also benefit other cultures, other ethnicities.
And, I think it would be enlightening to know more about their history and culture.

The opportunity is certainly there. We celebrate Black History Month this month, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in May, Hispanic Heritage Month in September and American Indian Heritage Month in November. That is just to name a few. If we look around us, there are many opportunities to learn more about the many peoples that comprise our America.

Carter G. Woodson is known as the Father of Black History. He founded Negro History Week, the precursor to Black History Month. His message was Blacks should be proud of their heritage and that other Americans should also understand it. Taking Dr. Woodson’s assertion a step further, perhaps all Americans should be proud of their heritage and other Americans should also understand it. This would likely benefit race relations.

In addition to attending gatherings, many wonderful books and websites present the opportunity to explore different cultures. Many of the websites offer not only news and information but also interactive opportunities:
  • Meet people in your community, express yourself, and find information that reflects Asian cultures and perspectives.
  • Asian Community Online Network Brings together Asian American and Pacific Islander non-profit organizations and concerned individuals to share news and information about the community.
  • An interactive, timely and credible source for news and information covering aspects of daily African American life, featuring a wide array of viewpoints and perspectives.
  • Black Voices America Online source for issues facing the African American community. News from the world of sports, entertainment, health and family.
  • CodeTalk Federal, interagency, Native American Web site designed specifically to deliver electronic information from government agencies and other organizations to Native American communities.
  • An interactive, timely and credible source for news and information covering Hispanic issues.
  • Latino USA Provides diverse audiences with multiple perspectives on issues affecting Latinos while fostering cross-cultural understanding.
  • The melting pot of the worldwide web. The Race Relations section features a collection of the best ethnic websites on the web.

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