Downside to Diversity

I found this article, what do you think?

"It has become increasingly popular to speak of racial and ethnic diversity as a civic strength. From multicultural festivals to pronouncements from political leaders, the message is the same: our differences make us stronger. But a massive new study, based on detailed interviews of nearly 30,000 people across America, has concluded just the opposite. Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam -- famous for "Bowling Alone," his 2000 book on declining civic engagement -- has found that the greater the diversity in a community, there are fewer people who vote, people volunteer less, they give less to charity and work less on community projects. In the most diverse communities, neighbors trust one another about half as much as they do in the most homogenous settings. The study, the largest ever on civic engagement in America, found that virtually all measures of civic health are lower in more diverse settings. The study comes at a time when the future of the American melting pot is the focus of intense political debate, from immigration to race-based admissions to schools, and it poses challenges to advocates on all sides of the issues. The study is already being cited by some conservatives as proof of the harm large-scale immigration causes to the nation's social fabric, reports Michael Jonas in the Boston Globe. But with demographic trends already pushing the nation inexorably toward greater diversity, the real question may yet lie ahead: how to handle the unsettling social changes that Putnam's research predicts. "Diversity, at least in the short run," Putnam writes, "seems to bring out the turtle in all of us." If ethnic diversity, at least in the short run, is a liability for social connectedness, a parallel line of emerging research suggests it can be a big asset when it comes to driving productivity and innovation. In high-skill workplace settings, says Scott Page, a University of Michigan political scientist, the different ways of thinking among people from different cultures can be a boon."

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...initial reactions:

* immigration isn't the problem - assimilation is. Our country is better because of immigrants - but only when they assimilate into our culture, weaving their threads into the national fabric.

* there is a difference between celebrating our differences and prioritizing our differences. None of us wants to be just like the others, but we want to know that we share some commonalities... Many believe that our differences make us stronger by providing contrast and alternative perspectives. However, it is our shared values (or what it means to be 'American') that will hold us together when those contrasts are great...

History shows us that when the waves of immigrants came to this country and set up enclaves there was reactions very much the same as now.

And many years later the enclaves broke down and diversified.

It all takes time.

As long as I can remember there is always someone who is trying to tuck some other ethnic, religious or racial group under them. Take the United States for instance. Frankly, the Europeans stole it from the Native Americans. When they objected, the Europeans slaughtered them by shooting them or giving them blankets infested with smallpox. Its the same throughout history. When you want to steal someone's possessions or treat them badly the first thing you do is try to make the case they are inferior and if you want to exterminate them you try to make the case they are not human, so its okay. Well, its a new day. When someone comes into my driveway and says I just discovered this ford explorer, and there is nobody around to say different so it must be mine, I will strongly disagree using whatever legal method is effective at the time.

Those people who say diversity is bad are just trying to set themselves up or maintain themselves as the ruling class. Some of us don't get ruled that easily anymore, so they better embrace diversity or get left behind.

The column in today's Blade explains it a bit differently, and sums up the author's findings, as quoted below. I have to agree with his findings - Ohio is pretty much accomplishing all that he's talking about, the smoking ban was the final nail in it's coffin. We are perfect examples of the second paragraph I pasted - completely different than how we were a year ago.

Today's Blade, De Bour's column - "....
His findings show that

And further down in the article the new "we" is mentioned,

"If diversity has a negative social impact, Mr. Putnam views it as a short-term consequence. His hunch is that eventually we

I have yet to see that new 'we'. If there's one thing the smoking ban accomplished (and yes, I know this is not just about the smoking ban, but it contributed hugely to the end result) - it's that it has divided people more than ever. I don't see that healing anytime soon, because the antis have come out of their nasty ass attitude closet so to speak, and have no tolerance for anybody different than they are.

And this too shall pass, history shows us this, maybe not in our generation but if we look back at the immigration waves that we had here earlier, there were the same reactions.

And the prophecy of some, including Black Elk appears to be coming true.

It's pow wow season. Sing, dance, eat and meet new friends.

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