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What current news story today reflects on the issue of diversity, cultural differences, or multiculturalism?

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I think a very important issue which is extremely topical, and which certainly pertains to questions of multiculturalism, diversity, and awareness, is that of President Trump's proposed wall between the United States and Mexico. As you are no doubt aware, this issue has been the driving force behind a very long federal government shut down in recent weeks.

The interaction between Mexico and the United States has long been a difficult and troubled one. On the one hand, there are millions of people of Mexican descent living in the United States; their culture is especially prominent in places, such as New Mexico and Texas, which were originally part of Mexico before the United States expanded into those territories. However, there is also a lot of fear and mistrust around the interaction of Mexican and Latino peoples with other cultures, which is perpetuated by the fear of drugs being trafficked into the United States via the Mexican border.

There are two sides, of course, to the Trump wall debate, and these two sides represent differing approaches to culture differences and protectionism.

Trump, and Republicans who support him, argue that the wall is to protect American values and opportunities, and to keep out dangerous criminals and drug runners. Most Democrats, and Republicans who oppose Trump, would argue that the wall is a physical representation of a mental cultural barrier which would divide the nation, encourage distrust of Mexican Americans and other Latino peoples in the United States, and which doesn't take into account the actual statistics about crime and drug trafficking. One view is that the wall is only the latest expression of a rejection of Mexican identities and culture that has continued since the Mexican-American war.

An alternative news story for 2019, which has been viewed in positive and negative ways by people of different backgrounds and parties, is the election of a more diverse Congress than the United States has ever had before. Six days ago, the most diverse Congress ever convened—including Somali American, Muslim, and Native American representatives, in addition to more women than ever before. Democrats see this as a massive step forward; after all, a more diverse Congress should better represent the will of a diverse American people. But others have criticized the wave of support for multiculturalism as a simple backlash to the rise of Trump populism and protectionism.

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