Understanding Cultural Diversity in the United States

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The United States of America is a perfect example of cultural diversity. Starting with the Mayflower landing in Massachusetts Bay in 1620, to the Great Migration from 1915 to 1930, to the continual immigration into our country today this country has seen its culture grow and reshape itself over the years. The culture of the United States is diverse but understanding and appreciating various cultures does not always exist within today’s classroom or in today’s society. Understanding or even defining cultural diversity , identifying the challenges cultural diversity brings, or how to face cultural diversity are all issues educators face in today’s classroom. If different people were asked to define cultural diversity there would be a varying degree of answers provided. One formal definition is: n ethnic, gender, racial, and socioeconomic variety in a situation, institution, or group; the coexistence of different ethnic, gender, racial, and socioeconomic groups within one social unit (Lexicon, ). Another formal definition is: the variety of human societies or cultures in a specific region, or in the world as a whole (Wikipedia, Cultural diversity, 2009). One of the main commonalities between the two definitions is the variety of society. To simply define cultural diversity would be variety. Whether that variety is language, skin color, gender, economic situation, or even ethnicity the basic breakdown is variety. The United States started with variety. When the Pilgrims boarded the Mayflower they had variety. There were 35 members who were members of the English Separatist Church and approximately two-thirds of those making the trip aboard the Mayflower were non-Separatists, hired to protect the company’s interests; these included John Alden and Myles Standish (Britannica, 2009). Pilgrims met the Native Americans and soon found there to be several different Native American tribes. The Great Migration was the movement of 1.3 million...
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