Diversity and multiculturalism have always been part of the American experience. When the pilgrims first stepped foot in America there already existed a multicultural and diverse identity that was succeeding across the New World. The American cultural identity is not the pilgrims, but rather the various indigenous cultural identities that existing before them, including the Mestizo and Spanish cultures concentrated in the southwest of the country.
On the day before his last day as the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo denounced multiculturalism on his Twitter account. Pompeo argued that multiculturalism is “not what America is.” Pompeo went on to argue that multiculturalism distorts America’s “glorious founding”.
Mike Pompeo cannot be more wrong, but he represents centuries of the sustained distortion of what America is.
Donald Trump created the 1776 Commission to combat what many anti-immigrants label as historical revisionism. The problem for Americans like Pompeo and the many that demand “assimilated immigrants” is that they ignore the bright colorful multicultural identity that America was founded upon.
Although Joe Biden has canceled the 1776 Commission, its report remains as a testament to the sustained and insidious effort to reinvent American history as a White-centric one where other cultures are alien to the American cultural identity.
The 1776 Commission report was in response to the New York Times’ 1169 Project that explained the slavery was fundamental to America’s founding. Slavery was in fact, the economic engine that helped America compete against the established European powerhouses of the time. It was slavery that led to the Texas rebellion further increasing the territory of America by taking México’s land.
Slavery is part of America and the Black culture belongs in the American landscape.
However, the Hispanic culture in all its flavors and the indigenous cultures are as American as apple pie.
These cultures, including the Spanish language has been part of America even before America, as a country was conceived.
Erasing or reinventing America’s history as one that does not include the Spanish language, indigenous or Latino culture is designed to erase the inconvenient fact that Latinos, people of color and multiculturalism are part of America. They belong in America.