by Ken Howard
Originally published: July 22, 2016
The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles (of which I was a member for a number of years in the ‘90s) sings a song in its permanent repertoire called “Diversity,” singing about how the gay men in the chorus come from many different states and many different occupations, and our “diversity makes us strong.” I was thinking of that theme recently, especially in the wake of the Orlando massacre, and the subsequent flurry of news items and essays. With the current bitter, heated, atomically-divisive election season in the United States right now, one thing (of the many) that frustrates me is that some bigoted Americans really fail to see the beauty in the diversity we find in the American people. Come to think of it, that whole concept of “diversity” is a good thing, applied to so many considerations. Here are some to think about, embrace, and celebrate, for how diversity can contribute to your quality of life:
Populations – In the history of the United States, as a country, we have always benefited from diversity, as represented from the various immigration patterns. This is represented in language, dress, food, customs, and values. Think of the English and Irish who settled New England and Jamestown, Virginia. Think of the Jews, Italians, and Puerto Ricans of New York. Think of the Germans in the Midwest. Think of the Cubans and other Latinos in Miami. Think of the Mexicans, Native Americans, and Asians in the West. Think of the Chinese who built the railroads. There are just so many places in America where the mark of their major immigration group is sensed everywhere. Ever had good pizza in New York City? Ever had good Mexican food in Los Angeles? Ever had Texas barbecue? Ever had Southern cooking? And that’s just the food. Think of the traditions, language influence, values, and skills represented. Without this diversity of historical settlement, our country would be just plain “poorer” overall.