What Ethnic Americans Really Think (2001)

We begin with a simple observation—America is a complex society. We are a nation of many diverse groups, each with different backgrounds and experiences. We do not all see life and its many issues in the same way. Shaped by our unique perspectives, we have a variety of beliefs and attitudes.  For some of us, our race, ethnicity or religion is a determining factor that molds our general outlook or our views on specific issues. For others, it may be our income, education or age.  On some issues, we make different assessments based on our gender or our marital status. 

The point we are making here is similar to the lesson in the fable of the four blind men and the elephant. As the story goes, “…One day four blind men came across an elephant and each asked ‘What is this?’  The first, grabbing the creature’s tail said, ‘I think it is a rope.’  The second took hold of the elephant’s leg and announced that it was, in fact, like a tree. The third touched the trunk and made the observation that the creature must be like a ‘big house,’ while the fourth blind man, rubbing both hands against the elephant’s side, stated that he was certain that the creature ‘must be like a huge boulder.’ ” 

The moral of the story might be that each of the observations was wrong. The elephant was all of its parts and more. But it is also important to note that each of the blind men made his evaluation based on what he experienced—from his unique perspective.

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