Perspectives on Diversity
Human diversity is the differences that exist among people in terms of race, social status, biological and cultural varieties. These perspectives impact the society in different ways. This paper focuses on the different ideological perspectives in the human society and explores the merits and demerits of these perspectives. It also argues in favor of the melting point perspective.
Keywords: perspectives on diversity, ideological perspectives.
Perspectives on Diversity
Human diversity refers to the differences that exist among people in terms of racial, social status, biological and cultural orientation. These orientations impact the society in different ways, depending on how members of the society approach and interpret the perspectives. In effect, the perspectives create an ordered society, where people belong to different social strata. The plurality of human orientations is challenging to holistically embrace, since each perspective has weaknesses and strengths that deserve careful consideration before one selects a particular perspective. This paper focuses on strengths and weaknesses of Anglo-conformity, melting pot, pluralism and separatism perspectives and argues in favor the melting point perspective.
This theory involves the efforts of English colonists or the Americans to pass down certain American values to other people who are not nec
essarily Americans. According to Healey (2012), this method is known as Americanization. This perspective gives no room for equal sharing of individual unique cultural attributes. It is always designed to disfavor the immigrants and minority groups, since they are acculturated and forced to adopt the new American lifestyle and culture. In the United States of America, this was done to maintain the dominance of the English language to the advantage of Americans (Healey, 2012).
The Anglo-conformity perspective is disadvantageous to immigrants and minority groups in the USD, since it demands of them to shed off their heritage. As they undergo Americanization, they often feel demoralized, develop anxiety and resentment. It makes them victims of deliberate prejudicial relationship in almost all spheres of their lives. For example, the perspective limits their chances of competing favorably with the majority in opportunities available in the society, since participation is based on the level of conformity.
The only advantage the Anglo-conformity perspective is that it enables those with weak attachment to their native cultures with the opportunity to explore and embrace a new culture. Besides, it enables those people to acquire new status and build solidarity of a homogenous society, especially for those who are willing to embrace a new Anglo-culture. However, ideally, this perspective only favors the majority who enjoys cultural superiority and is cushioned against any potential negative cultural influence from foreign or alien cultures.
Melting Pot Perspective
According to Healey (2012), the melting pot is a metaphor used to describe a process where different groups join together, inter-mingle and create a uniquely new culture and society. This perspective encourages sharing of values, beliefs, traditions and cultures among people with different descents and orientations. The result of this process is a new society with unique racial and religious features, literature, art and social orientations and attributes.
The strengths of this perspective is that the equality that results from the melting pot enables the different sub-groups in the society to learn jointly from each other and borrow valuable aspects. This creates a hybrid society which boasts of structural integration. Structural integration enhances sub-groups in the community which interact socially, educationally, politically and culturally without feelings of inferiority, prejudice or discrimination. Furthermore, the groups can freely intermarry and coexist with one another, which limit chances of strained relations and frequent conflicts.
The melting pot perspective, however, has limitations. The perspective promotes corruption of the original traditions. Some groups might also be conservative and have reservations of mingling freely with other people subscribing to a different culture out of fear of losing their valued heritage. The perspective also forces the dominant social group to fade off and get assimilated into the newly created identity. This mutation might lead to the loss of the benefits that come with diversity in identity or heterogeneity (Koppelman, 2014).
This is the process in which separate and previously distinct groups come together, but the individual groups preserve their distinct identities within the same boundaries of their operations (Healey, 2012). In this case, the groups are separate and their traditional differences persist over a period of time. It involves pure diversity in culture. Structurally, the plurality is manifested by maintenance of the native lifestyles and ancestral land with priority given to the need to maintain each group’s social structure. This method comes in handy, especially when Anglo-conformation cannot work as required.
The limitation of this method is that it breeds prejudice of different forms. This can take the form of ethnocentrism, racism, class discrimination among other cultural biases. Therefore, assimilation that leads to social, cultural and structural integration is not achieved. Nonetheless, in pluralism, the sub-groups have a lot of interdependence, are free from the influence of other cultures and they perfectly preserve their cultures and the way of life. It also creates a sense of inclusivity and mostly creates respect from the groups involved, as well as promotes preservation of the native cultures of the various social groups represented in the society.
In this perspective, minor group seeks to sever all the political, geographic and cultural ties with the larger group in the society (Healey, 2012). It, therefore, exceeds pluralism, since in this case, the groups disconnect completely. The main disadvantage here is the revolutions and rebellions which might happen. It may lead to forced immigration, genocide and other dangerous acts. The groups are isolated completely in separate societies; hence they cannot learn from other communities (Koppelman, 2014). The strengths of this perspective include its potential of fostering an integrated society where members from different backgrounds can associate freely without stereotypes, since the values and traditions are homogeneous. The system of life is not altered in any way since all people are one group in the whole society.
The separatist, pluralist, Anglo-conformity, and melting pot perspectives have helped to understand the diversity of human society. Although there are different ideological perspectives, the melting pot perspective shines above the other theories given its ability to overcome the shortcomings of the other perspectives. In the melting point idea, individual groups are able to continue with their cultures and learn new ones as they coexist as well. It thus fosters unity and understanding within the community.