Amanda Rae, for the “Clean-up on Aisle Four” Blog
America the Diverse
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
These are the words, written in 1883 by Emma Lazarus, to represent the kind and welcoming personality of “The New Colossus,” the Statue of Liberty. She understood the Statue to represent America as a whole, that we would be a kind nation that would accept all the greatness of the world that the rest of the world disregarded. In the beginning we realized that the outside of a person, their appearance, their nationality, their beliefs, none of that mattered to whether they were worth getting a chance at greatness. All good things of this Earth flowed into America. America was founded, in the beginning, by immigrants. The first ones to the United States were actually here before it was the States, and they thusly became referred to as Native Americans. When white people came here, we were immigrants, refugees rather, trying to escape the oppressive British rule and express ourselves with our own religions and own ideas. Ever since, America has accepted those from all over the world. According to the U.S. Census Bureau in 2010, 27.6% of Americans weren’t white Americans, and this percentage grows by the year. When over a third of Americans aren’t white, doesn’t it make sense to consider them and their needs? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2015, people of color made up 21% of the American workforce. But America is more than just a melting pot of nationalities and races. According to UCLA’s Williams Institute in 2011, nearly 25.6 million Americans, or ~11% of the U.S. population, acknowledge some same-gender attraction, and 3.5% of adults in America identify as either gay, lesbian or bisexual. In June 2016, the Williams Institute released a survey saying that an estimated 1.4 million adults in the U.S. identify as transgender.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, 4 in 10 LGBT youth don’t feel their community is accepting to LGBT people. 68% of LGBT youth say they hear negative messages about being LGBT from elected leaders in this country. It was not until 2015 that LGB Americans had the right to marry like the straight population has always been able to do. The lack of representation and understanding for LGBT Americans is sad in this writer’s opinion. Like it or not, we represent an important part of this society as trendsetters, leaders, celebrities, workers. As the American population shifts to be comprised of more of us that are LGBT, or people of color, companies must adapt and have a representation for the minority population within their firms. If a company employs a diverse workforce, they can tailor their service to appeal more to a society that is diversifying rapidly. Ford Motor Company, Bayer, L’Oreal, Johnson & Johnson, some of America, and the world’s, best companies all have been awarded for their level of inclusivity, or included on DiversityInc’s lists of most-inclusive companies. The statistics show, companies that are inclusive and diverse perform the best. Any reputable and performing company includes bylaws to protect their diverse workers. Not only can a company tailor their service to appeal to a diverse society, but let’s all consider what the average person cares about most from a company: the service, the product. The average person won’t care who made their sandwich, who designed their toothpaste, who fixed their car, they care about whether it’s good or whether it works. If you hire a white, straight man with no credentials or experience over a black trans woman with all the credentials and experience in the world, you only hurt your product, turning away the customer, and ultimately holding your business back. It only makes sense to employ based on merit and work ethic and treat all employees the same. If you hire a male reality TV host with no experience over a professional woman of credentials and years of experience in the field, everyone loses.
America was founded on the idea that we would be a diverse people, that we would be a people of all colors, nationalities, beliefs, and creeds. It has proven true that when you consider everyone, things are just better, we see more success, we make more money. A beautiful mind may be in anyone. Success can spring from anywhere. The person who cures cancer or AIDS, may very well be a bisexual Latino trans man. The mind that cracks the code of why the Big Bang happened may be an Asian-American gay man. After all, the person who wrote the shuttle software that put man on the moon was a woman, a person who enjoyed the “arcane novelty” of being a woman, a mother, and also writing code for MIT, a programmer named Margaret Hamilton.
We should all remember, the Statue of Liberty herself, the New Colossus, is a woman.