Global Awareness and Cultural and Racial Diversity
The need to successfully promote global awareness and cultural and racial diversity took on a completely new meaning recently. "There are over six billion people on this planet we call Earth. Diversity is more than just a notion. The term diversity has been defined by Merriam-Webster online as meaning 'differing from one another or unlike. Composed of distinct or unlike elements or qualities', this word is also used to simply mean different." (Burns) By Barak Obama becoming the nation's first black president, we have forever changed the nation's future; but in a sense, this momentous election will also alter how we will forever look at our nations past history. For more than two hundred years, the United States of America was traditionally managed by older white guys and by them being in charge, the world's thinking was shaped. The expectations of every minority have been ever so slightly altered by this election whether they are Mexican, black, Asian, disabled or even female. Had Senator McCain beaten out President Obama for the job of most powerful man in the world, perceived expectations regarding diversity may not have gotten worse, but they certainly would not have improved. This is at a time when the world has gone global in many ways. The internet has reduced the size of the world dramatically and global trade has every nation affected by the same booms and bust cycles. But this election has allowed our nation to make great strides toward promoting acceptance of all of our planet's men, women and children on an equal scale. Diversity is a necessary part of Mother Nature and because of that we all have to work together to make the world a better place for everyone. Singling out any one race, nationality or gender holds us all back. "To build a lasting foundation for America's economic prosperity and security, we'll organize around the core challenges facing Americans and their families -- energy, health care, and education. By acting together, we can overcome the obstacles that for too long have prevented real change on the critical issues that Americans face day in and day out. Now is the time to leave behind the status quo and build support for real solutions to ensure that President Obama succeeds in fulfilling the promise of change." (Organizing For America)
An important thing to remember is that diversity is everywhere, including San Antonio, Texas.
Population, 2006 estimate
Population, percent change, April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2006
Persons under 5 years old, percent, 2000
Persons under 18 years old, percent, 2000
Persons 65 years old and over, percent, 2000
Female persons, percent, 2000
White persons, percent, 2000 (a)
Black persons, percent, 2000 (a)
American Indian and Alaska Native persons, percent, 2000 (a)
Asian persons, percent, 2000 (a)
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, percent, 2000 (a)
Persons reporting two or more races, percent, 2000
Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin, percent, 2000 (b)
Living in same house in 1995 and 2000, pct 5 yrs old & over
Foreign born persons, percent, 2000
Language other than English spoken at home, pct age 5+, 2000
High school graduates, percent of persons age 25+, 2000
Bachelor's degree or higher, pct of persons age 25+, 2000
Because Texas, and more importantly, San Antonio serves as an economic and cultural gateway to the American Southwest, diversity becomes a major day-to-day occurrence. The topic has to be brought to light in our schools. It is important for students and teachers to each understand their part of teaching and learning diversity. "Teachers should learn about White racial identity development so that they can create educative experiences that prepare White youths to negotiate life effectively in our culturally diverse society. By drawing on such understandings, teachers can create learning experiences that promote and support White students' abilities to explore critically the implications our democratic ideals present for them as members of a majority population that is decreasing in numeric dominance." (Marshall)
Being only 150 miles northeast of Laredo and the Mexican border entails a long history when it comes to diversity and civil rights. For example, there have been many important African and Mexican Texan victories in the fight for civil rights fought right here. But, Mexican Texans have long desired to improve their political circumstances after white Americans started to dominate over them in the late 1830's. Black Texans have battled for civil rights and a desire to be seen as equals ever since Emancipation after the Civil War in 1865. When things are bad, these groups suffered more. The Great Depression is one example of more bad blood against these groups. Diversity in Texas has been a struggle and hard work to get to where we are today. Sadly, these minority groups are still blatantly discriminated against.
Just the name San Antonio implies diversity. Not everyone knows that the name comes from Saint Anthony of Padua. St. Anthony was a part of a Spanish expedition that explored Texas even before the United States was an official country back in 1691. Our San Antonio River, because it was a main tributary, helped a little village become a world class city. To promote even more diversity, the river's west bank was a major French trading post for Louisiana. San Antonio more than anyone else in the world definitely remembers the Alamo where 189 defenders held the old Alamo mission for 13 days against 4,000 Mexican troops. Today, there are many Mexican-American soldiers serving in the United States Army. After the Civil War, San Antonio became a major part of our nation's defenses. The city has been an important military center for the Army and Air Force as the home to Fort Sam Houston, Lackland Air Force Base, Randolph Air Force Base, and Brooks City-Base, and Camp Stanley and Camp Bullis just outside city limits. Our military has made great strides when it comes to diversity. "Through affirmative action initiatives that the military put in place- financial and tutorial assistance, recruiting programs, employing race as a factor in recruiting and admissions policies and decisions, and preparatory academics to increase the pool of qualified minority candidates, 19% of active duty officers are now minority." (Gurin)
All true sports fans can appreciate the diversity of one of the National Basketball Association's most successful franchises of all times. The players on the San Antonio Spurs have won four NBA Championships and are considered by all nationalities and races to be the city's crown jewel of the sports world. The team is more diverse than most because of the international flare of the players who run the AT&T Center. The sports aspects of the city also bring fans from around the globe which entails a greater level of acceptance of foreigners. Tourism excels in San Antonio because the people are kind, understanding -- and diverse. Tourism is big business: who can't appreciate a night with thousands on cool shady pathways that are lined with modern shops, cafes, restaurants, and nightclubs all along the River Walk on a Friday night? This appreciation of diversity must be passed on to all aspects of the city.
The world of work needs a big diversity lesson from the tourism industry. As mentioned, the world keeps getting smaller because of new technologies like the Internet and every local business can now become an international business overnight. This fact has the business community facing all new challenges because of our highly competitive global economy. Texas and the nation have to redirect policies as our labor markets tighten. More than ever, Human Resource departments will need to address the twenty-first century issues about hiring more minorities than ever before. The historical problem though is not the hiring; it is after the minority is on the job.
Once hired, our minorities have always discovered that there are obvious barriers or glass ceilings that are blocking career advancement. "It sounds like an employer's worst nightmare. A minority employee fails to receive a promotion. He sues the company, charging racial discrimination. His white supervisor -- who has already resigned to take a job with higher pay at another company -- joins in the suit. The supervisor claims that he was first pressured not to promote his subordinate and then, after he supported the subordinate's complaint of discrimination, was denied a promotion himself." (Barrier) Racial discrimination in the work place is far too obvious as qualified minorities get passed by rather than moving up the corporate ladder. This means that as minorities get jobs, they are not getting promotions to a higher job level. How will this be handled as our globalization demands an even greater diverse labor force? "Diversity is about encouraging and…