Does diversity really hurt us?: Perspectives from Langley Park
The political right has bemoaned the United States’ shifting racial demographics. But does this change really hurt the nation? I asked citizens in the diverse community of Langley Park, Md., to weigh in.
| By Evan J. Pretzer |
From 2009-2017, LGBT people won the right to marry their partners, the restrictions on women serving in front line combat were overturned and, for the first time ever, non-white births began to outnumber those of their Caucasian peers. To many U.S. conservatives, this statistic and the trend towards greater diversity that it represents threatens a core sense of “American” identity they fear will be lost.
On election night 2012, then Fox News pundit Bill O’Reilly declared that the “white establishment” was now a minority. In 2014, former Republican Rep. Allen West, himself African-American, warned that the Coca-Cola Co.’s Super Bowl that depicted a diverse cast singing “America the Beautiful” in English and Spanish would send us all down the fiery road to hell.
And earlier this year, Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa posted on that we couldn’t restore our civilization with “someone else’s babies.” He later doubled down on these remarks and stated in an interview with CNN that he meant exactly what he tweeted out to the world.
Langley Park, Md., in the greater Washington, D.C. Metro Area, is known as a community that has already reached the tipping point. It became majority-minority years ago, and its racial mix is largely Latino, but also with significant South and East Asian American, African American, immigrant African populations. Some might say that Langley Park looks like the future of the United States. Others might call it O’Reilly, West and King’s worst nightmare.
Along Langley Park’s well known “International Corridor” of immigrant businesses, residents shared what they think greater diversity has done to their community. Here’s what they said:
Those were some very upbeat responses. No one really seemed to have a problem with living in a place that doesn’t resemble a bunch of polar bears caught in a snowstorm. From that positive outlook, one can make the following conclusion.
People like Bill O’Reilly, Rep. King and others are wrong to fear our cities and counties getting darker. Such a change isn’t a sign of drastic and irreversible decline at all. According to these residents of Langley Park, that diversity is what makes us great.