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Caitlyn Hinkle
Sean Hackney
Rhetoric 102
11 April 2014
Ethnic Changes Are Happening
Ethnicity in the 21
century is a topic of great controversy. It is intriguing to learn of
different ethnic backgrounds and how diverse America has grown to be in a relatively short
amount of time. I began research on the topic of ethnicity in anticipation that I could in some
way satisfy my own strong views on it. Throughout learning I have uncovered many different
ideas that have given me a new look at how I see America. Many people do try to argue that
ethnic diversity in America is not good for us and that we should stop it while we are ahead. But
there are many more that argue for the promotion of ethnic diversity among communities.
Several topics can be explored along with this such as what ethnicity is, the growing ethnic
diversity in America, and how all this affects the overall society.
More likely than not, at some point in life most people have encountered some form of
ethnic diversity. Media, politics and society in general project certain ways of what ethnicities
are and how the people among those ethnicities act. At times we dont even realize what we are
saying or that it could be something offensive. My eyes were opened recently to the issue of
ethnic diversity among American citizens and how the country is at a point of being very diverse.
Ethnic diversity is a topic that when approached can be difficult to understand.
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I have felt motivated to explore the topic and uncover the facts that many want to know the
answers to. Ethnicity is an issue that is the basis for many controversies such as stereotypes and
racism. Exploring what ethnicity is in society is important because it opens up opinions and
views that one may never have realized they had. Society, being the American population as it
stands today, hold strong views and opinions towards the topic of ethnicity, ethnic diversity and
even racism.
Through research I was able to discover multiple views and analyze why some feel the
ways they do. The main purpose of researching has been personal gain and what can be learned
for the research process and taken in my own life. Understanding other peoples views on what
ethnicity is, is something that needs to be brought to the attention of people in society and there
is a need to be more open to discuss what direction our country is moving. According to most,
ethnic diversity is a very good thing and America is moving in a direction in which ethnicity as
well as race will be more commonly accepted.
Literature Review:
As it stands the topic of ethnicity in America is still very controversial, even today.
Ethnicity as referred to by The Sage Dictionary of Cultural Studies is defined as [a] term that
suggests cultural boundary formation between groups of people who have been discursively
constructed as sharing values, norms, practices, symbols and artefacts and are seen as such by
themselves and others. Given this definition I began to formulate the ideas and views I had on
this particular topic pretty easily. As well as imagine an idea of how society views this topic. Yet,
the mindset some people have of the way things should be, at least in their opinion, is not easily
swayed. Therefore they want things to stay the way they knew them to be. Unfortunately for
them, as our nation develops we are only growing more and more diverse and the majority race
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(Caucasian/White) is becoming less and less. As the 2010 Census record displays, In the 2010
Census, just over one-third of the U.S. population reported their race and ethnicity as something
other than non-Hispanic white alone (i.e. "minority"). This group increased from 86.9 million to
111.9 million between 2000 and 2010, representing a growth of 29 percent over the
decade. This statistic shows the overwhelming growth in the minority group as a whole. The
issue of ethnicity could easily be overlooked if someone dont understand it, or feel a certain
passion towards wanting to change opinions.
When the controversial Coca-Cola ad America Is Beautiful was released people were
in uproar, both good and bad, over what this commercial was trying to portray. The commercial
basically displays America as it is today, multi-racial and with various ethnic groups. In the
background is the song America the Beautiful, but instead of singing in just English, it is done
in 7 different languages including Spanish, Tagalog, Chinese, French, and more (America Is
Beautiful). The effect of the commercial, was to show how America has come to be so diverse
with many different ethnic cultures, and everyone living together in one society. The positive end
was that many people were thrilled to see the commercial. On the negative side people like
Glenn Beck did not have such good reviews. Beck says, "And I said, 'Why did you need that to
divide us politically?' Because that's all this ad is. It's in your face, and if you don't like it, if
you're offended by it, you're a racist. If you do like it, you're for immigration. You're for progress.
That's all this is: to divide people (Beck qtd in Sacks). Being a strong figure politically and
having many people pay attention to his opinion, one could see how influential this statement
might be. But his opinion is disagreeable with at least to the majority of Americans. As a statistic
from Pew Research Center states, Some 65% of Americans say they would rather live in a
community composed of a mix of racial and ethnic groups... (Pew Research Center). So unlike
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Beck thinking that this was an advertisement to divide the country, it was actually something to
show how we can come together and be one country. Coca-Cola succeeded in showing how
America can live as one and still hold onto the many cultures and ethnic groups that make it up.
As America does grow more diverse Corrie Maclaggan gives us a view into what is
known as the most ethnically diverse community in America. She discusses how this one
county is diversifying itself so much that every ethnic group could be seen inside, as well as the
cultures, mixing. Not only this, but also how the ethnicities have grown to adapt to others around
the area and how people work together harmoniously. They have learned to join together, rather
than spread apart. For instance, Fort Bend County was 19 percent Asian, 24 percent Hispanic,
21 percent black and 36 percent white in 2010, according to the Kinder Institute for Urban
Research at Rice (Maclaggan). These statistics of race population in the county goes to show
that there was almost an even amount of races and none were really a majority. Likewise,
Michael Cooper of the New York Times gives a glimpse at what lies ahead in the future of
America. He states, The term minority, at least as used to describe racial and ethnic groups in
the United States, may need to be retired or rethought soon This quote only furthers thoughts
into the fact that the majority (Caucasian/white) is decreasing and we may soon find ourselves in
a minority-majority. He further explains, The bureau predicts that by 2043 which is a year
later than it previously projected there will be no single majority group in the country as a
Figure 1: Coca-Cola Commercial: "America Is Beautiful"
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whole, as the share of non-Hispanic whites falls below 50 percent (New York Times). Although
this seems like a long time away from now, it really isnt. The ethnic population is gradually
increasing and will eventually knock out the one majority race/ethnic group. Thus diversifying
our nation to just about its fullest amount.
Entertainment and media play a huge role in how we see ethnicity and race portrayed.
Entertainment especially creates stereotypes that are more often than not negative towards a
racial or ethnic group. Upon releasing these stereotypes it is very hard to break them and have
people think otherwise. The article Race and Ethnicity in Entertainment addresses such issues
and shows both sides of the argument well. The article says, Critics alleged that black
characters were often depicted as uneducated, bumbling and servile to whites (Issues &
Controversies). This a way that African Americans are generally portrayed in entertainment and
media; these stereotypes though, are not reflective of the ethnic group as a whole. The article,
fairly showing both sides of the argument offers, Defenders of the entertainment industry
contend that the dangers of stereotyping are exaggerated. No single fictional character is meant
to represent an entire racial or ethnic group, they argue; therefore, one stereotypical character
does not reflect badly on a whole community (Issues & Controversies). This quote clearly
shows the opposing viewpoint from the defenders of media. It basically says that people are too
sensitive and the TV and movies are not trying to portray certain races or ethnicities in certain
ways, and if that is what is taken away it wasnt intentional. They do have a valid statement that
they are not trying to represent a society as a whole. But unintentionally it happens, and it is
because of that that people see it and think that is how they should perceive those races or
ethnicities. When in reality someone cant place an entire race or ethnicity under such broad
judgments. Furthermore, Angela McGlynn shows how we should be supportive of things in
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American society that promote racial and ethnic diversity. She states, We can certainly feel
pride in the election of the 44th American president and further pride in the confirmation of the
first Latina justice, Sonia Sotomayor, to the U.S. Supreme Court. Nonetheless, America has a
long journey ahead in achieving a post racial society. This shows that people can and have been
able to move past those stereotypes placed in society, but that despite that we still have a long
way to go. America will hopefully one day be able to reach a point when racial and ethnic
differences are not a problem or as prevalent as they are today.
A video that was recently released by a high school teacher for a college admission of
one of his students gave an interesting perspective to the shaping of American society. He talks
of this girls struggle getting to America when she was a child. Then he explains how even
though she doesnt remember any of those experiences and how she is Americanized, it
doesnt matter. Because she is a number before she is a face, a color before she is a person. This
plays into race a lot and even ethnicity. Society is composed of stereotypes, of judgments that we
cant ignore, and we have learned to live and adapt to them rather than discard them as
something untrue.
The Participants:
I allowed for the participation of anyone in my survey, this covers any basis on age, race,
gender, or any other physical/biological make-up. I created my survey and posted the link on the
Figure 2: Clint Smith in a college admissions video for one of his students.
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discussion board, as well as a link on Facebook. The link was taken by others and shared on their
Facebook profiles as well. This gave me a series of varied answers to questions and a variety of
participants. It is possible that a majority of results came from high school students seeing as it
was posted on the discussion board.
The way I conducted my research was through a survey. I asked questions pertaining to
my topic that show how people in society feel about ethnicity and ethnic diversity in America.
The questions consisted of things that pertain to ideas that I uncovered while researching the
topic of ethnicity. The questions connected to each other on the basis of ethnicity, but they all
also connected to ideas that had intrigued me throughout my research. The ideas consisted of
topics that intrigued me and what I wanted to know how people felt about them. Although the
questions didnt exactly correlate with each other, they did correlate with ethnicity as well as the
articles and research that I had previously conducted. The purpose of creating questions in this
fashion was to see how peoples views on the overall topic were. But also to explore how people
in society view concepts that are in relation to the topic of ethnicity and race. It was reassuring to
see how people answered the questions because it proved that my research is right in that the
country is becoming more diversified and accepting many more ethnicities.
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Figure 3: When hearing the word ethnic what the typical societal member thinks. (2
research question)

Figure 4: Does entertainment present ethnic stereotypes. (3
research question)

Figure 5: Immigration in correlation with ethnic views from society members. (7
research question)
My research on this topic has been very interesting in that I have learned many new
views to the topic I have researched. I have been able to explore various ideas that otherwise
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would have been ignored. The spark that started the question was during the Super Bowl this
year. As soon as the Coca-Cola commercial America Is Beautiful ended controversy was
everywhere, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. I was infuriated at what I was reading about the
commercial. I personally had loved the idea of people singing America the Beautiful in many
different languages. Immediately I began thinking about one question in particular. Why is
ethnicity such a big deal? Now, this wasnt the question that I chose to research, but it certainly
did play a big part. My question came later, after a lot of thinking on this specific topic. How is
ethnicity in America changing and is seen as a positive or negative?
The question was the easy part, next I had to figure out how to answer it. This took
numerous hours of reading articles and databases to find the things I was looking for. The
responses I got back from survey were quite helpful and really did give a perspective I was
looking for in answering this question. Many people answered in ways I thought they would and,
unless someone was a racist, how one would expect them to. But the insight it gave it to me was
awesome and eye opening. I had a few open ended questions that allowed for personal response,
and the way people answered the questions on race and ethnicity really shows that our country is
moving in a way of progress and advancement. With the use of my research and surveying I was
able to come to the conclusion that America is seeking out ethnic diversity and is all for where
our country is headed ethnically. It is a challenge to get to that point seeing as not everyone is
completely on board, but the majority of people want to see diversity and ethnic mixes in society.
With this progress and determination in mind I believe America will definitely see the ethnic
A bit of information that the results gave me that I found to be quite intriguing was that of
the question when you hear the word ethnic what do you think? My prediction to this question
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was that the majority of people would answer African American. But surprisingly the choice
with the most answers to it was Hispanic. Although African American had many answers as
well the Hispanic ratio was still higher by two. I found this surprising because of what my
prediction was, but after seeing the results I understood better how people viewed ethnicity.
My research was successful in that I found that the majority of people are looking toward
an open future full of ideas of positive ethnic diversity in America. Through my survey and
research I was able to uncover the answers to the questions I was searching for.

Ethnicity in America
Ethnicity throughout time has always been a prevalent topic. Ethnicity as defined by is "relating to or characteristic of a human group having racial, religious,
linguistic, and certain other traits in common." Ethnic diversity is a topic that can be very
controversial between among different ethnicities. My interest has been sparked on the topic and
would like to see how others feel on ethnic diversity.
* Required
How do you view ethnic diversity? *

When you hear the word ethnic what do you think? *
Choose all that may apply
African American
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Do you think entertainment and media project certain ethnic stereotypes? *
Why or Why Not? *

Have you seen the controversial ad by Coca-Cola titled "America is Beautiful?" *
How did you feel about the ad "America Is Beautiful?"
Only answer if you said yes to the previous question.

Do you think immigration, particularly illegal immigration, affects how Americans view
ethnicity? *

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Works Cited
America Is Beautiful. Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola Company, 2 Feb. 2014. Web. 27 Feb. 2014.
"Americans Say They like Diverse Communities; Election, Census Trends Suggest
Otherwise." Pew Research. Pew Research Center, 2 Dec. 2008. Web. 27 Feb.
"Ethnicity." The Sage Dictionary of Cultural Studies. London: Sage UK, 2004.
Credo Reference. Web. 25 February 2014.
Foner, Eric, and John A. Garraty. "Ethnicity." The Reader's Companion to
American History. Dec. 1 1991: n.p. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 08 Mar.
Hinkle, Caitlyn. "Ethnic Diversity in America." Survey. 17 March 2014
Maclaggan, Corrie. "What Ethnic Diversity Looks Like: Fort Bend." New York Times
23 Nov. 2013: n. pag. The New York Times. Web. 17 Mar. 2014.
New York Times 12 Dec. 2012. The New York Times. Web. 17 Mar. 2014.
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Provitera McGlynn, Angela. "Racial/Ethnic Disparities Persist in Academia and in
Society." Hispanic Outlook Vol. 20, No. 9. 08 Feb. 2010: 29.SIRS Issues
Researcher. Web. 09 Mar. 2014.
"Race and Ethnicity in Entertainment." Issues & Controversies On File: n.
pag. Issues & Controversies. Facts On File News Services, 24 Aug. 2007.
Web. 27 Feb. 2014.
Sacks, Ethan. "Coca Cola's 'America the Beautiful' Super Bowl Commercial Angers
Conservative Pundits." New York Daily News 3 Feb. 2014: n. pag. Print.
Smith, Clint. His Star Student Wants to Go to College. She's Not Getting In.
Youtube. N.p., 13 Mar. 2014. Web. 11 Apr. 2014. Conservative Pundits."
"2010 Census Data." United States Census 2010. U.S. Census Bureau, n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2014.