A Side Salad
Early in life, I heard America described as a melting pot, a place where all nationalities, ethnicities, religions, and trains of thought come together to form America, the Beautiful. Later in life, our vision of a greater nation described America as a salad bowl of diversity.
With the salad bowl analogy, America tossed the diverse dynamics of culture and community into a bowl called progress and seasoned it with a dressing called freedom. Some made their freedom dressing with the constitution and others with their love for humanity.
But if you listen to some of the political chefs in the kitchens of conservative media, congress, and the White House, America needs a new dressing. Some have already shattered the bowl of progress and replaced it with a saucer of separation. Lines are being drawn daily, and the once savory salads are being reduced to wilted piles of lettuce.
This discussion on whether there is strength in diversity regurgitates the concern that integration was not about inclusion and respecting differences but assimilating into the majority culture. Young African Americans are being suspended from schools across the country because their hairstyles are too ethnic. More lettuce. The huge anti-immigration campaign and policies. More lettuce.
Ronald Reagan, beacon of conservative politics, supported Mexican immigration. The idea that the “New Immigration” of mostly Latinos, Asians, Africans, and Middle Easterners is a threat to the American nation is absurd. Immigration, whether voluntary or involuntary, shaped America. If the fear is being wiped out of existence like immigration, politics, economics, and warfare did the Native Americans, then I see why the conservatives have such a craving for lettuce…with Caesar salad. I will pass on that side salad.
There is strength in diversity. A marriage has a spiritual foundation. Couples are to be equally yoked spiritually. Many other elements of the marriage are complimentary. Where one is weak, the other should be stronger. That is help. That is how a team is formed.
In sports, teams come together for one goal. They share a uniform, a coach, and a playbook, but the players are diverse in their skills. No football team has 11 quarterbacks on offense or 11 cornerbacks on defense. No basketball team has 5 centers and no guards.
And no great tasting salad has only lettuce. Give me the ripe tomatoes of religious freedom; the spring spinach of freedom of speech; the sweet carrots of multiculturalism; the crisp snap of cucumbers called constitutional rights; the not so imitation bacon bits called the Bill of Rights; the sunflower seeds of hope and equality; the croutons of a true criminal justice system; and the cheese to challenge any injustice. Don’t forget the salad dressing. Freedom. Put it in the bowl called progress, because we do not want a to-go box. We are here to stay.
(Rev. Steven L. Evans is pastor of Friendship AME Church in Clinton.)