- READ THE STORY AND ANSWER THE 2 QUESTIONS in a 1 page, double spaced, 12 pt times new roman word document.
Lessons from American Experienceby Harlan Cleveland Harlan Cleveland, former president of the University of Hawaii, is president of the World Academy of Art and Science. In this selection, Cleveland explains how Hawaii, the most diverse of our fifty states, achieves ethnic and racial peace. He argues that the Hawaiian experience is no different from the experience of immigrants to the mainland; the ability to tolerate diversity is not unique in the world.We Americans have learned, in our short but intensive 200-plus years of history as a nation, a first lesson about diversity: that it cannot be governed by drowning it in “integration.”I came face-to-face with this truth when, just a quarter of a century ago, I became president of the University of Hawaii. Everyone who lives in Hawaii, or even visits there, is impressed by its residents’ comparative tolerance toward each other. On closer inspection, paradise seems based on paradox: Everybody’s a minority. The tolerance is not despite the diversity but because of it.It is not through the disappearance of ethnic distinctions that the people of Hawaii achieved a level of racial peace that has few parallels around our discriminatory globe. Quite the contrary. The glory is that Hawaii’s main ethnic groups managed to establish the right to be separate. The group separateness, in turn, helped establish the rights of individuals in each group to equality with individuals of different racial aspect, ethnic origin, and cultural heritage.Hawaii’s experience is not so foreign to the transatlantic migrations of the various more-or-less white Caucasians. On arrival in New York (passing that inscription on the Statue of Liberty, “Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me”), the European immigrants did not melt into the open arms of the white Anglo Saxon Protestants who preceded them. The reverse was true. The new arrivals stayed close to their own kind; shared religion, language, humor, and discriminatory treatment with their soul brothers and sisters; and gravitated at first into occupations that did not too seriously threaten the earlier arrivals.The waves of new Americans learned to tolerate each other—first as groups, only thereafter as individuals. Rubbing up against each other in an urbanizing America, they discovered not just the old Christian lesson that all men are brothers, but the hard, new, multicultural lesson that all brothers are different. Equality is not the product of similarity; it is the cheerful acknowledgement of difference.What’s so special about our experience is the assumption that people of many kinds and colors can together govern themselves without deciding in advance which kinds of people (male or female, black, brown, yellow, red, white, or any mix of these) may hold any particular public office in the pantheon of political power.For the twenty-first century, this “cheerful acknowledgement of differences” is the alternative to a global spread of ethnic cleansing and religious chivalry. The challenge is great, for ethnic cleansing and religious rivalry are traditions as contemporary as Bosnia and Rwanda in the 1990s and as ancient as the Assyrians.In too many countries, there is still a basic (if often unspoken) assumption that one kind of people is anointed to be in general charge. Try to imagine a Turkish chancellor of Germany, an Algerian president of France, a Pakistani prime minister of Britain, a Christian president of Egypt, an Arab prime minister of Israel, a Jewish president of Syria, a Tibetan ruler of Beijing, anyone but a Japanese in power in Tokyo. Yet in the United States during the twentieth century, we have already elected an Irish Catholic as president, chosen several Jewish Supreme Court justices, and racially integrated the armed forces right up to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff . . . .I wouldn’t dream of arguing that we Americans have found the Holy Grail of cultural diversity when, in fact, we’re still searching for it. We have to think hard about our growing pluralism. It’s useful, I believe, to dissect in the open our thinking about it, to see whether the lessons we are trying to learn might stimulate some useful thinking elsewhere. We still do not quite know how to create “wholeness incorporating diversity,” but we owe it to the world, as well as to ourselves, to keep trying.Reflective Questions
- To what degree to you think America has moved forward since Harlan Cleveland offered these statements? Name some specific examples to support your opinion.
- Do you agree with Cleveland’s assertion that “equality is the cheerful acknowledgement of difference”?
Excerpted from Harland Cleveland, “The Limits to Cultural Diversity,” in Intercultural Communication: A Reader (12th ed.), eds. Larry A. Samovar, Richard E. Porter, and Erwin R. McDaniel (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 2009), 431–434. Reprinted by permission of the World Future Society.