American Diversity- Whitewash



“American Diversity – White Wash” collage by Sally Edelstein

Is this the America Donald Trump wants to return to?

There is no way to whitewash this; When Trump says he want to “Make America Great Again,” what is meant is “Make America White Again.”

There has been a lot of talk about diversity this election year. Trump supporters are all for it – that is as long as it’s all white.

In the great cultural cauldron of 20th century America there was one basic ingredient to being an American –  Caucasian. Well apparently that old-fashioned recipe for prejudice is still being used by many Trump supporters, those disenfranchised, patriarchal loving,  nativist white Americans.

Variations of a Theme – Look Closely

“No two families are alike” announces the headline to this mid-century  advertisement  that is the centerpiece of my collage “American Diversity – Whitewash”

Yes, there is great diversity in America the ad seems to imply … that is, as long as you are white, middle class, and Protestant.

White diversity is demonstrated by the multitude of  white paint chips framing the illustration. The variations of whiteness range from “American White,” “Lily White,” “Strong White” to “Spanish White” and “Indian White.”

Who said being white isn’t diverse?


Whether in  advertising, children’s schoolbooks, or television, mid-century America was a very black and white world.

Trump seems to want to restore the American Dream and the middle class back to that mid-century mythical place, a conflict free, whiter than white America.

The Republican presidential candidate is strategically stoking the racial fears and hate of a solid segment of white America that fundamentally rejects a diverse American future.

These retro Republicans long to go back to those good old days.

The romanticized illustrations  of the American dream family that we saw in ads and illustrations  portrayed eerily homogeneous landscape of smiling, prosperous, Anglo-Saxon families. This is the America Trump followers pine for.

But the sweet sentiments of those romanticized times  belie the fact that these years were far from fair to Blacks, Latinos women or gays.



© Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.





  1. Susan

    Good work, as usual, Sally. I’ve never understood people who want to take credit for their ancestors, but I poked around in my family history a bit, (Pennsylvania in the 1700s) and realized that every person who leaves their home country and comes to the U.S. — leaving behind a support network of friends and family, familiar foods, even their primary language — in the hope of a better future for their children has more in common with my collection of “crossing the prairie,” “rounding the horn” ancestors than I will ever have. I don’t have their courage, much less the courage of Americans descended from indigenous and slave populations who’ve been overcoming the odds year after year after year. I’m one of those pale, “many generation,” “born in the USA” Americans who has just been lucky, and I can’t take any credit for that. “New Americans” are our future (and our past.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Last weekend I had the chance to watch the Hispanic Heritage Awards for 2016. It was not on one of the networks. PBS gave it only an hour to cover the life’s work of so many great Americans. As I watched, it was brought to my consciousness how sad it would be if we eliminated all those cultures and peoples who aren’t “white”. Where would we be without jazz or soul or salsa or tejano music or the blues? Where would we be without soul food or tex-mex or curry or sushi? Where would we be without all those words we stole from spanish or swahili? Where would we be without Frida Kahlo and all the other arts and music that make up the Beautiful Noise of America?

    Being of Irish descent, I think of the time when shop owners had job openings and put out signs that said, “No Irish need apply.” I don’t know where they get this “white race” b.s. anyway. We’re not white. We’re Irish and English, French and Italian, Russian and Polish, German and Scot, Swede and Basque, Walloons and Flemish, Sephardic and Ashkenazi, Pakistani and Hindu, Iraqi and Iranian. And a lot of us have African blood in our veins. After all, we’ve been interbreeding for thousands of years.

    As far as immigrants being good or bad, our ancestors who emigrated from some place else were often thought of as “bad” by those we left behind. That’s why they came here. To be accepted for who they were, not the color of their skin or the religion they believed or the language they spoke. And they proudly saw themselves as the Americans they became.

    You want to find a real American, just go and spend some time with an immigrant. They’ll teach you what it means to be American. And that is one of the things I love about this country. The Preamble doesn’t say “We the White People”. It says “We the People”. When we forget that, then the country falls apart. Like old Ben Franklin said, “We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

    And by the way, I don’t think Adam and Eve were white. One thing is for sure. Jesus did not have blonde hair and blue eyes.

    Liked by 1 person

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