What does it mean to “celebrate diversity” in the new Trump era?

November 14, 2016

It is upon us. We are now about to embark on a new era as Americans. A new era led by Trump. Many are afraid that his divisive campaign strategy could trickle down into his policies. On the other hand, many are anxious for change, any kind of change.


However, what is being challenged now, more than ever, is a central value embedded in the Americana spirit, that is, diversity. Now you may subscribe to a “melting pot” perspective, while others may feel drawn to the “salad bowl” comparison, but no matter how you view diversity in this country, it’s an inevitable subject that will be revisited frequently.


“E pluribus unum” – “Out of many, one.” A former American motto established in 1782 that appears on the Great Seal of the United States indicates to us that there is nothing new about the pluralistic nature of this country!


Though we have seen recent waves of immigration from less “familiar” regions, one must remember that American culture, in many ways, IS immigrant culture. I know, for being one of the great empires of the modern world, that may be a tough Mcdonalds’s chicken nugget to swallow. But history is clear. Burgers are German, pizzas are Italian, and they are not fries if they are not French! Ultimately, the proof is in the (tapioca) pudding.


Now beyond our global food selection, celebrating diversity in America’s new Trump era is going to take a lot more intentionality, and a lot less complaining.


After accepting the reality of our many international influences, we must be sure to allow our own realities to reflect that. Celebrating diversity does NOT mean stay safe in your bubble of comfort and familiarity.

If all your friends look like you and think like you, you are doing a great disservice to yourself and missing out on one of the most beautiful things this country has to offer: choices.


For me personally, it took me some time to branch out and explore the incredible range of humans, cultures and communities thriving in this country. I was raised in a tight knit, sheltered community of my own. But that discovery makes it all the more beautiful.


Celebrating diversity means taking time to get to know your neighbors and learn about their personal journeys. Celebrating diversity requires more listening and less assuming. It means feeding your mind with more than one perspective. Celebrating diversity also requires a boldness to be vocal when you encounter a bystander enduring unjust treatment due to prejudice. And vice versa, choosing to be the bigger person if you become a victim of such prejudice.


Now it’s okay to be real with ourselves here. Everyone has some form of bias or slight ethnocentrism flowing through his or her veins. We were not all necessarily raised with the ABC’s of intercultural competence. But the more we incorporate the above practices, the more we slowly remove subconscious layers of judgment in our own minds that we sometimes don’t know exist.

The new era is indeed upon us and we have two choices. We can choose to live in fear, or we can choose to step up as leaders of our own. And when we choose to prioritize celebrating the diversity of this country, we are actually choosing to be patriotic in the purest form. We are choosing to preserve our unity. We are choosing to protect the unique fabric of our American society.


You may or may not be comfortable with the new president-elect, but remember, ultimately, he may be the face, but we, we are and will continue to be, the pulse.

-Loureen Ayyoub ll @la_loureen