America#039;s future has its own hue

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 13, 2003

America's face is changing.

But for those who are just starting to realize this, I wonder why it's a surprise?

Many before us came to America for opportunity. Maybe their skin color wasn't that different, but their ancestry sure was.

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Poles, Jews, Germans, Irish. And yes, even the good 'ol Norwegians. The list goes on.

Today's America, it's still a melting pot, for sure.

But along with various ancestries, its face is literally changing as well.

To the chagrin of many, it's encouraging to see.

People are reluctant to change. After time, we get accustomed to our comfort zones and, well, we kinda like it. We get into a routine and are on cruise control, not worried about anything that could cause disruption -- good or bad.

The problem with living our lives on cruise control is that we can't adapt to change. If society doesn't adapt to change, how can we ever move forward together?

It can't happen.

Rifts soon ensue. 'We' vs. 'They' mentalities develop. But here's some good news.

It doesn't have to be that way.

Austin is in a great position to move forward. Unfortunately, there's a handful who don't see it that way. Or don't want to.

Some residents have previously said -- or agreed with a theory -- that illegal immigrants need to be deported, the influx of law-abiding immigrants needs to be curbed and that English should be adopted as the official language.

Those who are living in this country illegally shouldn't be here. But why curtail our land of opportunity to others who deserve the same chance that many of our ancestors had?

If I had a time machine, I'd like these same people to hop in it and travel back 150 years to Ellis Island. There, they'd meet their ancestors, coming off a long boat ride, waiting to be processed before spreading out to various parts of the country and beginning their dream of freedom and providing a better way of life for their families.

I wonder if our time travelers would have the same opinions?

So, why is it any different today?

Gee, could it be the mentality of "We'll, we've been living here for awhile and I've worked hard and I don't think it's fair for my grandchildren to compete with someone who doesn't deserve to be here?"

Wait a second. If I ran a company, I'd want to hire the person most qualified for the job, whether they're white, black or green.

I don't believe in quotas and I think it's especially unfair for someone to be hired based on the color of their skin. That's different.

However, if someone of Asian, Hispanic (insert any other ethnicity here) descent beats me out of a job fair and square because they're better qualified, I don't deserve to have that job.

Unfortunately, America will still have those who believe we must live in a society where all of our homes have white picket fences and June Cleaver makes us dinner each night.

And we probably won't convince them that America's face is changing.

But it is. And those who embrace such change and are an active part of it will find out how enjoyable it is to work together to help make our good communities an even better place to live.

Those who choose otherwise will continue to live in bitterness until they're dead, and they'll miss out on an exciting opportunity.

Through it all, America's flag, and all it stands for, will continue to wave in a country that has always embraced change and a better life for all. And it will survive because of those who have worked so hard to help it move forward, and with those who will ensure that vision continues.

Dan Fields can be reached at 434-2230 or by e-mail at