"The Melting Pot"...not so accepting?

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This article analyzes Manhattan, the "melting pot". Is it as accepting as people perceive it to be? Read the article to make your own decision.

Submitted: April 26, 2011

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Submitted: April 26, 2011

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The “Melting Pot” or so it is called, New York City is home to an exceptionally diverse crowd. In the early 1900’s over 12 million people entered Ellis Island and many stayed in the NYC metropolitan area. The result? A continually growing diverse crowd continues to flockto NYC for its ‘welcoming’ attitude.

My boyfriend Dane, resident of the Upper East Side in Manhattan is Jamaican. He is handsome and dark, making me look whiter than usual. I am a pale, light haired, light-eyed American girl.

We spend just about every other weekend exploring the fascinating city of Manhattan, trying new restaurants, clubs and parks. It is nice to be surrounded by such a diverse crowd. Dark-skinned women holding the hands of white men, teenage boys skipping down the street together, and females exploring each others bodies on the street corner.

Not surprisingly, “Nearly one in seven new marriages in the U.S. is interethnic or interracial, according to research reported on CNN” (Black, 2010). However, if NYC in particular is so diverse and accepting, then why the hell (pardon my language) are my boyfriend and I still getting demeaning stares and racist comments?

 

A few months ago my parents, brother and his fiancé, Dane and I were dining at an upscale restaurant in midtown for an early dinner. We exchanged plates, sipped wine and enjoyed each other’s company. However, the older couple sitting to the right of our table could not peel their eyes off of Dane and I. It was as if we were famous. And although I would have liked for that to be the reason that they were staring at us, I knew it wasn’t. I had so much rage inside that I wanted so badly to tell them off.

 

According to an analysis of studies released last year by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, “An estimated 46.3 million Americans ages 14 to 24 —the older segment of the most diverse generation in American society…This age group is more tolerant and open-minded than previous generations” (USA today). I would agree with this finding, however, Dane and I had two experiences that make me question its validity. We were walking to a friend’s apartment in Harlem, an up-and-coming neighborhood in Manhattan, one evening. Two young Caucasian policemen pulled over and said, ‘M’am are you okay?’ and gave me this look like what are you doing here with him.

Another time we encountered a not-so-accepting 20 year old, was in a water park just outside of the city. Dane and I were waiting our turn to plunge down the water slide in our tubes and we heard a bunch of girls laughing and running to the back of the line. The man in front of us said to his friend, “Look at those life preserver n*ggers.” Immediately after that comment he turned and saw us standing there and had an ‘oh shit’ look across his face. I was surprised Dane didn’t take him out right there, because I almost did.

I want to start my life with Dane in the NYC area because I do have hope that it will become more accepting. We catch glimpses of its welcoming attitude when random people on the subway compliment us on how cute we look together. However, even NYC has still a long way to go.


© Copyright 2019 Kelly Vo. All rights reserved.

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