Tag Archives: pointillism

The Columbus Dilemma

Imagine that it’s 1492, and you are Christopher Columbus.  You’ve just discovered this swampy, quaint land that will one day be called America, the most powerful country in the world.  But, instead of being an ambassador to Spain, you (let’s call you Crisco, for short) have been sent by the altruistic joint leaders of the world.  And now you’re being asked to populate America with people from all around the globe.

So, how would you do it?  Would you make it all black, all white, all Australian, or (keep it) all Native American?  Would you make it 62% Caucasian, 15% Hispanic, 12% African-American, 4% Asian, 1% Native American, and 6% Other, the demographic breakdown of the U.S. in 2008?  Or, would you perhaps make it more like a pointillist painting, with various dots of color blended together to form a whole?  There’d be no minority and no majority in your Crisco attempt at Seurat – the country would just be a rainbow smorgasbord.

In today’s society, we all publicly claim to support diversity (except you, Arizona).  But yet, do we really like different all that much?  It’s one thing when different is small, quiet, and non-threatening.  But when different is brash, loud, and taking our jobs/wives/parking spaces, then we need to put a stop to it. 

I don’t like change.  In fact, I’m oftentimes scared of it.  But as a minority in this country, I would support Crisco’s attempt to bake a truly equal pie, reflecting all slices of the world (have I killed this metaphor yet?).   All major races, religions, and cultures would be represented in this new America, where having a black leader is not historic, just commonplace.

I still do understand the significance in having some sense of you: your people, your culture, your experiences.  While I value my diverse friends, the constancy of my ethnicity is always gnawing at me.  It’s forever with you, and as a minority, you can’t escape it.  Recently, I’ve found myself buying a lot of Asian bath soaps, which are purportedly better for my skin.  So, in the end, perhaps I do have one thing in common with the original Christopher Columbus… we’re both fans of ethnic cleansing.

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