The United States of America is made up of several different races, religions, and ethnicities, as well as men and women of different ages, and sexual orientations. This makes the United States one of the most diverse nations on earth. It is estimated between the years 2010 to 2050 minorities will increase from 36% to 54% of the population. (Schaefer, p. 4, 2012)(p. 4). Immigration is the main reason for this estimate. It is estimated that in 2050, 67 million people will be immigrants and another 47 million people will be the children of immigrants. The “Pew Research Center”) (2012). While there are benefits of such a diverse nation, the United States still faces many challenges, because of prejudice and discrimination. With the rising population of immigrants, the population of people living in poverty will also rise. With the rise of people living in poverty, there will also be a rise in crime. The reason for this is, people who live in poverty have less access to high paying jobs are more likely to participate in illegal activities, such as dealing drugs to make money.
Minorities and immigrants are statistically paid less than whites, for doing the same jobs. So this is what leads to poverty. The rising crime rate among minorities and immigrants also leads to the separation of families. Many children in poverty ridden neighborhoods are raised by single parents. The rising number of crimes in these neighborhoods leads to more parents, mostly men put in prison, therefor leaving the women to raise the children on their own. Another disadvantage is more prejudice and discrimination.
Prejudice and discrimination can be seen in the workforce, neighborhoods, and schools. Minority workers are paid less for their skills, than natural born works, neighborhoods are segregated, and minority children are lacking in education. While these are all disadvantages of a diverse nation, there are several advantages as well. The advantages of being such a diverse nation are, economic gains, more skilled labors, a higher number of young workers in the workforce, and increases the standard of living for immigrants and minorities.
The rising number of immigrants coming to America can bring about many economic gains. Many would debate about the economic gains brought about by immigration. Some people believe that the increasing numbers of immigrants are taking jobs from workers born in America, and others say that minorities are taking jobs less desirable to others. No matter what the truth is immigration has brought economic gains. This is seen in spending because more workers make more people to spend money. It is also seen in the number of young workers entering the workforce.
This is important because between 2010 and 2050 the elderly population in America is expected to grow from 37 million to 81 million. (The “Pew Research Center” (2012) website) Leaving fewer workers and more people drawing from social security benefits. Immigration also brings more skilled labors to our nation, often times their skills are in high demand, which also brings more people into the workforce. Immigration also increases the standard of living for immigrants, because there is “power with numbers”, the more immigrants that come to America, the better housing that will be available.
Another issue that leads to prejudice and discrimination in America is the media. The media has a long history of perpetuating stereotypes and prejudice, by labeling minorities and other people in a prejudice manner. A good example of this is the hit television show The Sopranos. The show portrayed Italian Americans and nothing more than criminals associated with the mafia. This show is only one example of the stereotyping against Italian Americans; there are several more television shows and movies that do the same.
In recent year we have seen more television shows and movies that portray Italian Americans as more than criminals. A more accurate portrayal of Italian Americans can be seen on a television show called The Cake Boss. The show is about an Italian American man named Buddy Valastro, who owns his own bakery in Queens. The television show portrays him to be like every other hard working American, with family values. Another stereotype the media uses that portrays stereotyping and prejudice, is against Hispanics. Hispanics are portrayed as being lazy and uneducated.
The television show George Lopez even uses these stereotypes, even though the show is about a Hispanic family. They are mostly used in a joking manner, but it still stereotypes Hispanics in a negative way. Another example is the way the media portrays women. Women are often times seen only as homemakers and mothers, who depend on men to take care of them. Look at some of the television shows from your childhood, the mother is often seen as anything else. In recent years you are beginning to see more women as high powered individuals that balance careers and family.
While the media continues to make gains that portray minorities in a more insightful manner, there are still many stereotypes in the media that lead to prejudice and discrimination. Prejudice and discrimination is something that we see too often in America, we need to learn to foster a climate of acceptance and cultural pluralism. Our differences should not set us apart but bring us together. Every person is different no matter what their race, ethnicity, religion, age, gender, or sexual orientation is. People need to be more aware of stereotypes and learn to be respectful and understanding of others.
By being more aware of stereotypes we can break down barriers that stand in the way of acceptance. We need to realize that stereotypes are often untrue portrayals of others, and by seeing past stereotypes we can lean to accept people for whom they are not what they are. Immigrants come to America for better opportunities and freedoms they do not have in their own countries and by displaying prejudice and discrimination we are taking those opportunities and freedoms back. The state of Colorado has several programs that help foster acceptance and cultural pluralism, by bringing people together.
They offer acceptance workshops, which give people the opportunity to interact with people of different backgrounds. This works because it gives people the chance to see past stereotypes and see people of different backgrounds as who they are not what stereotypes say they are. Another example of how Colorado encourages acceptance to reduce prejudice is in schools. Children learn about differences early on and are taught that it is good to be different and that everyone has the rights to their own beliefs. Children grow up in schools of mixed races, religions, and ethnicities.
This helps them to grow up and not see the differences in each other; they learn to accept each other for who they are. In the article “What growing diversity will mean for America. ” Katie Sweensy quotes Roderick Harrision, a sociologist and demographer saying “The school population diversity is where the general population will be 10 or 15 years from now. ” (According to Sweeney (2004)(p. 16). This is why teaching a child to value differences at a young age is important. So, while there are benefits of being such a diverse nation, The United States still faces many challenges because prejudice and discrimination.
Immigration will cause our nations minority rate to increase dramatically by, 2050 and we need to learn to foster a climate of acceptance and cultural pluralism. We need to learn to appreciate that we live in such a diverse nation. If not for diversity our nation would lack many of the things that people value, such as the food we eat, the homes we live in, and the clothes we wear. Once people learn to accept one another and forget about stereo types, we can learn to live together and leave prejudice and discrimination behind.