Growing up in New York City—Queens, if you want to get specific—I was always surrounded by people of several different cultures. There were Hispanics, Jamaicans, Jews, etc. It was truly a diverse neighborhood.
So, imagine my surprise in 2013, when I found out that people in America—which was once the melting pot of the world—are starting to get away from that idea. Even in Columbia, the neighborhood of this university, there are those that only stick with local people.
While it is understandable to stick with family and friends you grew up with, we as a nation seem to have forgotten what this country was built on. Does anyone remember Ellis Island anymore?
Even when it comes to food, local neighborhoods are shying away from ethnic restaurants. While it is good to eat the comfort food that you grew up with, it seems that fewer people are willing to think outside the box.
When I grew up in New York City, there were several different foreign cuisine restaurants everywhere you looked. Just on one block, there were Chinese, Greek and Indian restaurants. When I last checked, those were still there.
But, even as close as Upstate New York, they mainly have local food. It is not as diverse as the big city.
The same can be said for many other small towns. My question is, “Why?”
Why do people from smaller towns prefer local food and don’t often venture on to other fares? Is it because they’re so used to it? Is it because they just prefer the local food?
No matter. If you think about it, this speaks to a larger issue. We, as a country are starting to stay in
cliques. It really has become just like it was in high school.
Ah…remember those days with the jocks, nerds and geeks? Life has become just like that. Only, now, those groups are based on ethnicity.
Sure, one can argue that you’re scared because of terrorism. But, I don’t buy that for a second. If we truly want to stick with the motto of “love thy neighbor,” it has to start with us. We need to be more willing to venture out of our comfort zone and say, “hi” to everyone we meet. It doesn’t have to be everyone. But we as a nation need to get back to loving our neighbors.
So, who are you going to say, “hi” to today?