A Culturally Diverse Society Flowers of different color, shape, and fragrance bloom in fields, farms, and nurseries. If we do not want a certain flower showing up in our garden, do we then destroy it? Which do we call a weed and which a blossom? Can we organize the garden into well-sectioned plots, each family of flora clearly distinguished and separated from the other? Or shall we cultivate some flowers and let others grow wild? Can we let them grow and come into flower together on the same patch of ground? The Cultural Element
Culture is a basic feature of human identity, community, and tradition.
Culture comes from the Latin word, cultus. One could presume that the primary meaning of cultus has an etymological relationship to the concept of “cult”. Closer examination, however, discovers that cultus refers to “cultivated ground”.
This certainly resonated with me. My home for many years (until the spread of out-of-control development) backed onto acres of agricultural land. Although we feared for the effects of chemical spray on my young daughter whose bedroom was within a stone’s throw of the fields of corn or tomatoes (depending on the year), at the same time, we enjoyed the wide expanse of green, walking our dog down the hardened furrows after the land was cleared, acknowledging the farmworkers bent over the ground clearing weeds or planting seedlings, greeting the burrowing owls assigned to stand guard late in the evening at the edges of the field.And then there was the cultivation, tractors working in tandem, through the dust and stubble, turning the earth over and over for long days and into the night. I learned how important cultivating was to the process, in which the owners of the land invested great attention, energy and time. If the land were well cultivated, enriched by the amenities that were added to the soil and open to receive to embrace the rains of winter, a rich growth would follow.When the owners finally decided to cash in on the new development, they abandoned the land and cultivation was ignored. What the ensuing summers found were meandering dust devils and a few isolated stalks of corn punctuating what had quickly become a refuge for thistles and tumbleweed. Culture is where we as individuals and as a community are rooted. It is where we find what sustains us and defines us. Through care and attention, a culture is enriched and thrives.
Accelerated Acculturation All cultures live in a state of permanent acculturation. 
We are aware of the multiplicity of cultures in the world. What is news is the speed of acculturation. The global economy increases our interdependence on one another. Through social networking, at least for those who have access to the internet, we can “friend” people from all over the world, and make ourselves available to even more.
With the collapse of the housing market and foreclosures rampant in many areas of the United States, anticipated improvement in the quality of life and economic status draws many people out of urban areas into previously inaccessible suburbs. Some suburbanites, held in place by high mortgages and credit card interest, who had searched for the security of homogeneity, now find themselves “trapped” with neighbors of diverse cultural backgrounds.
Undocumented immigrants face their own particular problems and present economic, legal and ethical dilemmas to the societies to which they emigrate. On the cultural level, sometimes their need to protect themselves and their family cause a degree of cultural insularism. For example, families coming from Latin America to the United States may not or cannot avail themselves of opportunities to learn English or pursue educational or professional advancement. (I sadly remember my shock when I saw an elderly Haitian friend, a respected doctor in his native land, laboring in the hot sun vending peanuts at the my home team’s baseball game.)
Elisabeth Burgos-Debray, Introduction to “!, Rigoberta Menchú , An Indian Woman in Guatemala “, Verso, New Left Books, 1984,xvii