The era of diversity

Posted on January 21, 2009. Filed under: diversity |

Obama’s inauguration has ushered in an era of multicultural awareness for America. He is part of a new generation that understands the power of diversity. “For we know that our patchwork heritage is strength, not a weakness,” he said in his inaugural address. “We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth”.  The world is too connected now for Americans to continue being monolingual and ethnocentric.

Unlike Bush, Obama realizes that the US is not the only but is one of many cultures. Obama has the cultural competency to know that you can’t just go into another country and say, “Here.  Adopt my culture. It’s better than yours.”  Obama walks a fine line. He is multicultural (he once referred to himself as a mutt), but is also uniquely American. He embodies the American story and the American spirit. In his address he tapped into what Americans take pride in most: optimism, hard work ethic, volunteerism, pursuit of individual satisfaction and our diversity.

Throughout his speech, Obama touch on the cultural traits I discussed in an earlier post (1/11) which are listed again here.

 Individuality/personal responsibility 
materialism/consumerism  (Obama also touched on how we have hurt ourselves through these)
goodness toward humanity/volunteerism/charity

He used these traits to energize his audience, and connect with them on a fundamental level. Some examples include:

“Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America” (future oriented, optimistic, hard working)

“The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit (optimism); to choose our better history (self determination, personal responsibility, individuality) ; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness”

Now, what American wouldn’t get totally psyched up over that?


Americans celebrated a great achievement yesterday. Now we are being asked to sacrifice and control our materialism and consumerism. What do you think? Will Americans step up to the plate and do what needs to be done or will they keep on with their same ways?




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