Thursday, April 7, 2011
As a result of a news report I saw this morning, I researched a few definitions of the word ethnicity and here is what I found:
1. The fact or state of belonging to a social group that has a common national or cultural tradition.
2. Relating to or characteristic of a human group having racial, religious, linguistic, and certain other traits in common.
3. Relating to the classification of mankind into groups, especially on the basis of racial characteristics.
4. Identity with or membership in a particular racial, national, or cultural group and observance of that group's customs, beliefs, and language.
Now, nothing jumped out at me initially, but the more I thought about it, the more I was bothered by the earlier news report. I began thinking about how much progress we have made in the USA, and in much of the rest of the world, in the area of race and cultural relations. I was not raised with prejudice or bigotry, so I have been pleased over the years to see the progress we made as a society. In America, we have not solved all our problems. However, we ended segregation and put a huge dent in discrimination. As a nation, we have worked toward equal opportunity for citizens - without distinction.
So why did I hear a news report this morning that Crayola has now produced for our children markers that are ethnic-sensitive? It sounds like we are back to stressing insignificant differences among us.