America has been multicultural from day one. Native, indigenous people have populated the Americas for 10,000 years. The first European explorers included people of African descent and African conquistadors who worked the land side by side with their white European counterparts to develop permanent living conditions in this new land.
The first British colonists would not have survived without the help of the Powhatan tribe for food and the Africans enslaved to work the tobacco fields. Tobacco was the cash crop that was essential to the survival of the colony.
Then slavery became the building block of American economic success. According to How Slavery Became America’s First Big Business by P.D. Lockhart (8/16/19 vox.com), “The profits from cotton propelled the US into a position as one of the leading economies in the world.” The American economy was built on the backs of slaves for 250 years until it ended with the American Civil War. Then it took another 100 years for civil rights to be legislated.
America has always been ethnically and culturally pluralistic, even though some believe that America should be a single homogenized culture, it has never ever been. Sadly, America’s white population’s success was based on exploitation. According to vocabulary.com, “…an exploiter is a user, someone who takes advantage of other people or things for their own gain. Being an exploiter is selfish and unethical, to exploit someone is to use them in a way that’s wrong, like an employer who pays low wages but demands long hours.”
I believed that our society had evolved socially and morally in regards to ethnicity, culture and exploitation as a result of time, study and civil rights laws. However, it is difficult for some to relinquish their white privilege. We live in an ever shrinking world in which we are becoming evermore interdependent. We need to learn how to work together for the betterment of the world. We need to stop exploiting others like the immigrant food workers in America and the Pacific Rim garment workers who are both greatly underpaid and forced to work under horrid conditions. And we need to protect the rights of all American citizens regardless of their heritage and all those who work in our country.
Now we have a white nationalist president who has given permission for those with racist inclinations to act out in dangerous and deadly ways. True knowledge of our national beginnings needs to be known by all. America is and always has been a multicultural nation!