If you walk through downtown Pittsburgh, or rather any large city in the United States, while taking in the scenery you would see people of all different nationalities, working all sorts of different jobs. There are many vicinities in which people live, and of course, some have different standards of living-such as nice cars and extensive lawns while others see abandoned houses neatly packed together like sardines-but you can find most of the same groups in each place you visit. Whether it is White, Black, wealthy or poor, there is not one strict neighborhood for one group-though some neighborhoods do have more of one or the other. Discrimination and racism, however, do still find a way into existence. Yet thriving communities are formed from a plethora of diversity. As an example, when children go through schooling they take a variety of courses. If the child only took mathematical based subjects, then they would be very closed minded to the field of English. When differences come together, like a verity of schooling subjects, in the outcome, the child will become more knowledgeable in many aspects. Knowledge in many areas is something that integration brings, and that knowledge blooms into prosperity. Squabbles may arise among the people of different backgrounds-for it is impossible to live without any conflict at all-but in current times, people are entitled to their own diverse opinions. Throughout history there have been times where diversity was hushed or secluded and sometimes even overpowered. However, in the United States today, some differences-that would elsewhere be pointed out-meld together. Some people forget all about the differences, and some do not, but those that do form one nation that is engaged, living and thriving together.
Just because diversity is accepted in our current times, it does not mean that it always has been. Looking back to Massachusetts leading up to the Salem Witch Trials, everyone was seen as equal. There was no utterance of a different religion being practiced, thus everyone was treated uniformly, and there was no other way to treat someone. Everyone in Salem knew each other and worked together on a daily basis. When word broke loose that there were village members practicing another religion, a mass killing spree began. It no longer mattered if your neighbor whom you had known your whole life was called a witch. From that moment on, you were against them. There was word that the practitioners were harming others, but no proof. There were trials, but anyone helping the witches were blamed for being witches themselves, ending in the same fate. Many innocent lives were thrashed upon and, for no reason, smudged from existence. In this time, the people did agree that killing off the witches was a good thing to do, but is killing really ever good? After a few short days, the children naming the practitioners picked up on the fact that all they had to do was moan in pain and that person who stole their boyfriend was no longer an obstacle-they were turned against and stoned in the village square. You needn’t proof. If there was someone that you did not like, they would be terminated after just a brief mention of their name. Abigail Williams, one of the first girls to have “fits” during the Salem Witch Trials, went to extreme measures, accusing multiple respectable, well-known people of being witches. In fact, according to Melissa Yost in “Salem Witch Trials in History and Literature”, “Abigail’s accusations continued and included complaints against Martha Cory, George Burroughs, Bridget Bishop, Elizabeth and John Proctor, Mary Easty, John Willard, Mary Witheridge, and Rebecca Nurse. Overall Abigail Williams made 41 legal complaints and gave formal testimony in seven cases.” When this community became diverse, agreeing to kill off those who were different did not make anything better; the agreeing tragically ended many innocent lives. It was difficult to stand up against the killing for fear that you would end up with the same fate, but if this community had accepted differences and was more connected, maybe the disaster could have been prevented. In the United States today, there is discrimination against certain religious figures, and yet large massacres have no possibility of happening. Some people do not agree with the views of others, and yet they understand that people are allowed to have differences, permitting them to agree to disagree.
Historically, in the United States, blacks and whites lived together-as we do now-but though we were fully integrated, we were not equal. The blacks were slaves to the whites, and yet business was booming. In fact, a lot of the blacks believed that they belonged where they were, that they were property. Though this may have generated from the lack of knowing any other way, here the society agreed that their way of life was acceptable. As time passed, a term dubbed “sharecropping” was born. From “Black Peoples of America – Sharecropping”, “Many former slaves did not want to work for wages because they would still have to do what they were told by the whites. The solution lay in sharecropping. Plantation owners broke up their estates into small parcels of land upon which the former slaves could grow their own crops.” Even after slaves were free, they went back to work for their former owners. However, no matter the color of your skin, humans are humans and should all be treated the same way. It is not fair that a black man should do three times the work of a white man. It is not right that one living human being should own another. In our past, diversities were seen as atrocious, as in the example of slavery. People either hid their differences, such as religion, but when it came to the color of their skin, they let themselves be put down to avoid conflict, or even because they did not know any better. There was discrimination in these times, and there is still discrimination today, but we have traveled a far way from how it once was.
In today’s society, here in the United States, if you have a difference about you, you flaunt it because it is what makes you original. Not everyone shows off their true ways, but in the Unites States you are allowed to speak up, rather than in some other countries. In our Amendments, it is stated that we are allowed to have our own freedoms; however some dissimilarities are still looked down upon. Not everyone feels the same way, loves the same things, and tries to interact. In our society there are differences, and with diversity, not everyone is going to agree. However, everyone has their own freedoms, and the majority of people are humane, viewing those around them as their equals, at least in some aspect. On September 11th when there was an attack on the World Trade Center, the people of the United States all cried together. When there is a tragedy, and innocent people are killed, we all see the harm that has been done. There is not a society in which every member is on the exact same page, but the majority understands that killing another human being is wrong. You cannot simply walk down the street here, notice someone with funny clothing, and shoot them. If there is a crime, there will be someone to stand up and try with all of their might to find justice.
Not only do the people of our current age think with one mind on certain fields, they create things that could never have been formed without their working together. As Thomas Friedman explained in “The Dell Theory of Conflict Prevention”, the process to make one laptop computer is a journey. Not all parts of this computer are made by Dell, they are shipped in from all sorts of companies all over the world: “The total supply chain for my computer, including suppliers of suppliers, involved about four hundred companies in North America, Europe, and primarily Asia, but with thirty key players” (Friedman 124). In every kind of working structure there is diversity and the job still gets done, proving it effective. Everywhere you look there are people working together to make our society thrive, including members of various religions, colors, and backgrounds. Kwame Anthony Appiah paints a picture in his article “Making Conversation” of a neighborhood of diverse people working together each and every day in his native Ghana. He remembers “Baboo’s Bazaar, which sold imported foods and was run by the eponymous Mr. Baboo-a charming and courteous Indian”, as well as “get[ting] rice from Irani Brothers…stop[ping] in on various Lebanese and Syrian families, Muslim and Maronite and even a philosophical Druze… who sold imported cloth” (61). Appiah even ventured further to state that working in the Astante region, there was also “The Greek architect, the Hungarian artist, the Irish doctor, the Scots engineer, some English barristers and judges, etc.” (61) working together to develop and push the region to thrive. Naturally, with so many different types of people living together there is bound to be conflict, but never to the point in which innocent lives are taken without looking back. There could be a group of White men who still exist out there that do not want Blacks and women to have equal rights, but it is happening before them anyway and it is for the better of our society that everyone is seen as equal.
Today equality can be seen clear as day, but it does not stop petty arguments or those who stay inert, remaining discriminatory. People will always have a difference of opinion, they are diverse after all, but it is possible to have a community that is diverse and fully emerged. A community like that is definitely possible in the United States, for we thrive off of what the individuals can bring together if they work as a team, such as the Dell notebook computer. However, Appiah shows that a fully integrated community can exist in other areas as well. Without the knowledge from countless types of people, it would be difficult to understand anything fully in the world. By gathering thoughts from all types of people and managing to live among one another, we have formed a great society. Our vast emporium of knowledge is what helps us engage, live and thrive together.