Celebrating diversity is a good way for Americans to better understand the customs, cultures, and languages of their fellow Americans and others who live amongst us. To some, celebrating these differences is a respectful way to acknowledge diversity; to others, promoting these differences are threatening to their own identities as Americans. There are plenty of feelings scattered in between, too.
Whatever your sentiments and whatever your experiences, there are different ways of celebrating diversity. As a generic concept, observing holidays, watching documentaries, and learning more about peoples and cultures different from your own are ways to celebrate. On a much deeper level celebrating means acknowledging rich histories, creating critical dialogues about those histories, and weaving meaningful futures together as a strong collection of peoples. And, while that sounds fine in theory, what does this all mean and how may it be practiced?
Acknowledging rich histories means seeking a better understanding and appreciation for the histories of different peoples with whom we share community. Acknowledgement may come from learning about these histories, providing each of us with a fuller and more solid conception of how different cultures and peoples existed in the near or distant past.
Creating critical dialogue about these histories is essential because it carves out time and space to really examine how this history shapes the present. While this may be a difficult at times, speculative even, it is vital to explore these narratives. Critical thinking and awareness promote a stronger sense of community, understanding, and overall general wellbeing. These conversations may happen inside or outside of a formal classroom setting, and with many different opinions.
Weaving meaningful futures together as a collection of peoples represents a more peaceful harmony whereby cultural differences are accepted and celebrated. Democracy allows for the expression of different points of view, each possibly offering to strengthen the institution itself. In the United States, we have safeguards in place to protect diverse viewpoints and experiences even should they conflict with our own. As proponents of democratic government, we should all be interested in making certain the true appreciation of diversity is a priority.