Tuesday, May 04, 2021

When rural Americans hear the term 'diversity' they should realize they are part of that, rural Iowa editor writes

Rural Americans put off by the increased push for diversity in public life and all facets of society should think again, writes Doug Burns of the twice-weekly Carroll Times Herald in Carroll, Iowa.

"For too many rural Americans, the term diversity is synonymous with otherness because residents of remote regions don’t realize that we, too, are underrepresented and misunderstood. Policies and structures strand and marginalize us," Burns writes.

"We rural Americans need to focus on correcting this, finding allies in other demographics who are similarly left out of the modern American economy and higher education and top levels of the judiciary — and yes, even my profession, journalism, where rural voices can be absent or hard to find in key power centers. Rural Americans served in wars and farmed and mined coal and built the manufacturing base, and increasingly there is little, if any, role for them in the new economy — one in which wealth is scooped and segregated to coastal tech clusters."

Burns goes on to note the lack of news-media coverage and academic and legal scholarship of white poverty, his conversation with Barack Obama about the need for a rural voice on the Supreme Court, and his newspaper's collaboration with a Spanish-language paper and its preparation of journalism students as rural interns for jobs in big cities and national media.

"They bring an understanding and empathy of rural Iowa to decisions on how we will be covered at the national level," Burns writes. "By embracing diversity as a community with these student journalists, we help to form world views in which we are considered beyond easy-reach rural stereotypes — for the diversity we bring to the American experiment. That’s not zero sum. It’s new math that adds up to good things for us."

No comments: