Why must people focus on differences?

by Michelle Maiocchi

People, people, let's get to the real issue. No matter what the prefix of your ethnicity, the suffix of every one of them is the same: AMERICAN! If we focus a little more on this, instead of segregating ourselves into so many little pieces of ethnicity, we might learn to live together in peace.

This "our history should be included in your history" thing is ridiculous because it's the same history. True, it's not being taught as it should -- as a whole unit reflecting the melting pot that is America. However, I wonder if anyone has really looked at this, as well as a few of our other racial "problems," closely.

Has it occurred to anyone that we are the first generation that has the opportunity to change the way history is written?

We are the first grown generation since the civil rights movement. The baby boomers passed on the rages, aspirations and desires of the `60s to their children, hoping that if they couldn't formulate the changes, their children could.

We are those children. We can't change one iota of what went before. However, we can change what comes after. As time goes on for our generation, we can demand that a complete American history be taught to our children, be it Mexican, African, Jewish, Asian or whatever.

We can demand that people be paid by their work rather than by their sex. We can demand a great many things and no one can keep us from getting our way, because our generation is just spreading its wings.

We must remember, though, that we cannot continue with our parents' dated focus on different issues. For instance (and I only use this because it illustrates the idea so fully), young African-Americans need to remember that the fire in their parents' eyes and their ever-present message comes from the great accomplishments they made with civil rights. On the flip side, young African-Americans also need to remember that their peers are as educated as they are. As a whole, we are the best educated generation ever, and the vast majority of us know both what happened in the past as well as what genuine contributions African-Americans have provided. We don't need it spoon-fed to us as was needed in the past.

Because of this, perhaps it is time to change the message from one of purposeful exclusion -- which is what pre-civil rights parents had to face -- to one of inclusion, because this opportunity lies before all of us.

We have to decide what we want as a whole, and we have to begin making inroads to achieve these goals in our lifetime. Most importantly, we all must work together in order to see our hopes and dreams become reality.

We all have our varied cultural heritages to celebrate. But if we are to make lasting changes, we must focus on our commonality. And that commonality is that we are all AMERICANS.

Maiocchi is a junior economics


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