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David Yepsen: Iowans Became Aware of Diverse Cultures

posted on February 9, 2011 at 1:59 PM


Des Moines Register columnist, David Yepsen, talks about refugees helping Iowans to be more aware of diverse cultures.

I think it made Iowans aware that there were other people and faces in the world. We sort of knew that, but not at a gut level. And I think all ethnic groups tend to build on the experiences of other ethnic groups that come.

The native population learns. We build agencies. We set up bureaucracies. We start taking a position on whether this is good or bad that we bring these people in.

And so the fact that you had this generation's arrival of newcomers in the mid-‘70s really enabled Iowa to attract other newcomer groups later on. And I'm one to believe we do not have enough diversity yet in this state. Because despite all the discussion about new groups—whether they are refugees or immigrants—you know, we're still about 95 percent white.

Tags: Asia culture immigration Iowa race refugees