Various immigrants flock to the United States in hope of pursuing a better life, because in their own countries they face opposition such as poverty, no rights, and discrimination. When people think of America they think freedom, equality, equal opportunity, and diversity. However author David Brooks puts a emphases on diversity in America in his article ‘People Like Us.’ Brooks argues that diversity is not what people may think it is in America; in fact he says that people in America don’t care about diversity. Brooks also argues that Americans self-segregate themselves both geographically, politically, and in their values, Brooks admits that people just want to associate with people similar to themselves. However is this acceptable, what does this say about the “melting pot”, and what does this say about America. I think that this is not good for society, however I agree with Brooks’s views that we should not try to make environments or institutions diverse, but peoples live should be diverse in order to live healthy lives.
Brooks says in actuality, people want to associate with people similar to themselves. Brooks says that we should admit that although diversity is important in our society and is talked about much, people really don’t care about diversity and he implies that diversity does not really exist. Brooks states that “it’s a common complaint that every place is starting to look the same (Brooks 289).” In other words Brooks says that diversity is missing, causing places to look the same, and having the same kinds of people. Brooks’ main argument is that Americans have self-segregated themselves and he says that it’s in the human nature to self-segregate themselves. Brooks demonstrates that people segregate themselves in many ways, one being geographically. For example, according to the 2000 census data, neighborhoods in the 1990 had showed a small increase in racial integration in the United States. The amount of middle and upper class African Americans had risen, however many of these families continued to live in predominately black neighborhoods.
In addition evidence also showed that some neighborhoods become segregated over time, for example people tend to choose their homes based on economic reasons such as suburbs in Arizona or Nevada, however overtime these same suburbs develop “personalities” thus become segregated. In other words they become known as neighborhoods where the Asians or Hispanics live (Brooks 291). Brooks believes because race and ethnicity is so important in America, there should be in theory culturally diverse areas in the United States. Furthermore Brooks says that people are segregated in their values, politics, and mores. For example elite universities that stress diversity so heavily are the ones practicing it the least, not only among students but faculty also. Recent studies showed that university professors in elite colleges are not diverse in regards to democrats and republicans, data showed that among university faculties 32 percent would be democrats, and 31 percent would be republicans. In addition these percentage rates were also similar among university departments. Brooks states, “The dream of diversity is like the dream of equality. Both are based on ideals we celebrate even as we undermine them daily (Brooks 292).” In other words Brooks says that although we make equality and diversity such important issues, we as people degrade them every day, by segregating ourselves from people that think differently, or have different views or beliefs aside from own.
In conclusion, Brooks believes that although places in America are not diverse as he believes they should be, he believes that we should not try to make any institution or environment diverse. He believes that its better if people have diverse lives, and he believes people should leave their narrow neighborhoods and commune with those unlike themselves. He concludes by saying, “human beings if they are to live well will have to move through a series of institution and environments, which may be individually homogeneous but, taken together, will offer diverse experiences (Brooks 292).”
I agree with Brooks views about diversity, diversity is missing, and a point that needs emphasizing is that many people may complain that something is the “same” however instead of taking necessary steps, or the initiative to diversity, people continue to group themselves with those of their “kind.” I believe that self-segregation has always existed, for example in colleges, black colleges, and elite colleges, these colleges offer students the opportunity to surround themselves with people most similar to them. For example, student organizations on school campus offer students opportunities to involve themselves with people also similar to them. All throughout our society we see segmentation. In response to the recent data mentioned in Brooks article my own view, is that this recent data shows that people still have the mentality of segregation and the efforts and struggles that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., activists, and the other people that fought for racial integration, rights, and equality among races was to no avail.
What I believe the ultimate issue here is that people still have the wrong mentalities, about each other and as people. I Think the real issue is that people talk about diversity, accept diversity, however I believe diversity has not become assimilated among no persons in America. In other words the purpose of assimilation is to unify and combine so as to lose identity, America is not unified nor combined it is segregated. Many people believe that in the “melting pot” immigrants would assimilate into the American culture, meaning, become more “Americanized” and would lose their identities, while others argue that the ones that would lose their identities would be Americans, and that the melting pot would change the way Americans look at themselves.
However I believe this raises the questions, has Americans ever had an identity, and will the “melting pot” have a big impact on America as some believe? I believe that America has an image about itself meaning, people see America as a diverse, free, and equal nation, and yes it is a diverse nation as a whole; however we as Americans have not lived up to that image but we have degraded that image or identity. I believe that the “melting pot” will not change the way Americans look at themselves. Immigration would change America economically, but culturally immigrates will become assimilated into a block by block, institution by institution homogeneous nation (Brook 289). In conclusion I agree with Brooks’s views that we should not try to make these blocks, or institutions diverse, but that we should try to have diverse lives, and experiences, if we are to live well as human beings.