Diverse culture does not equate to diverse ideas

As an ex-resident of the Boston area, walking the halls of Londonderry High School makes it very clear that my new town is far from diverse. However, the thoughts and opinions of the students here in Londonderry vary in ways that bigger cities, like my hometown of Everett, could only dream of.

Despite what you may think, most of the Londonderry community is actually more open-minded than the Metro-Boston area is. The fact that Massachusetts is a blue, liberal state sparks the false vision that it houses a greater variety of opinions.

The Democratic party champions its progressive ideals and, in turn, so does the Metro-Boston area. It feels as though the people believe that their inclusion and love of ethnic diversity instantaneously creates a perfect blend of opinions and prevents criticism.

I’m not saying that this is necessarily the complete opposite way that we should be thinking. I believe ideals from a culturally diverse population can provide real perspective, like the strength and mindset it takes to get up and move to a completely new country, or the ability to move on when you have to leave everything you know and subscribe to a completely new set of social norms. However, this way of thinking doesn’t showcase everything that is happening in the Metro-Boston area. Although the culture may be diverse, the area’s political diversity is surely lacking.

Growing up in that area, I saw a constant form of “mob mentality,” pushing a very liberal way of thinking in areas from class debates to the city budget. Any ideas against the general population’s were viewed as wrong. Conservative ideas became labeled as “unintelligent” and “cowardly.”

Everything in the Metro-Boston area has become attached to this very liberal way of thinking. Everyone seems to have the same political viewpoint that is applied to many areas of their life, no wiggle room anywhere.

The presence of this “mob mentality” became very clear during my sophomore year in my AP U.S. History classroom. The course was heavily focused on differing political viewpoints, and because of this we would have a lot of debates on where we stood on certain historical events. 

Those who answered with the liberal point of view thought they were correct and were celebrated by the students who fell under the same category, while the few students who disagreed were talked about even after the debate had concluded. It seemed as if their moral fiber was brought into question just for disagreeing with the opinion of the liberal majority. 

It became clear to me that different ideas weren’t being cherished or celebrated as advertised, but rather they were being denied and pushed aside.

But in Londonderry the same situations play out in very different ways. In my AP Government class I find myself participating in debates that start out the same as the discussions in Everett. However this class has a wide variety of opinions from across the political spectrum, from revolutionary to reactionary, and opinions are much more contested during discussions. No particular opinion dominates the class and a “mob mentality” cannot be formed where the majority of students have the same viewpoint on a particular issue.

Isn’t this what being open-minded truly means? Being exposed to a variety of very different opinions on an issue while respecting different viewpoints; having the ability to consider new ideas rather than group up with all of the people that share your concrete opinion.

I would like to be clear on the fact that I am not saying that Londonderry’s lack of cultural and racial diversity is helpful. In some ways it is detrimental to the community, like in our overall perspective on immigration. The Metro-Boston area is at more of an advantage when it comes to understanding other people’s experiences and cultures due to its greater ethnic diversity. Londonderry could definitely use some of that ethnic and cultural enrichment. 

I believe that part of New Hampshire’s incredible political diversity comes from the fact that it’s very much a swing-state. Despite their different backgrounds, the vast majority of Metro-Boston residents are very liberal politically. Massachusetts as a whole has only voted for a Republican in 2 of the last 12 general elections, and both times it was for Reagan.

Reading this you’re probably thinking that this a very uncultured and conservative opinion, but I truly think that my background shows that it’s much more than that. I tackle this issue with a different perspective, being born and raised in Metro-Boston and living there for 16 and a half years.

Only just now am I being introduced to this new style of thinking that living in Londonderry has brought me. In many ways it’s an eye-opening experience for me. There truly exists vast differences between these areas that are really only separated by a thin state-line. 

Living and growing up in Massachusetts taught me many skills; I gained invaluable experiences and made many unforgettable memories in the Bay State. So needless to say, I still do hold on to my liberal values and am proud to say that I’m originally from Metro-Boston. But I am just as proud now to say that I live in Londonderry and am a true member of Lancer nation.

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