Diversity Is Weakness—Even At State Fairs

Over the last couple of years, in
an important but unheralded win for our side, the annual

California State Fair
, which ended September 5, has
abandoned its "cultural days."

Think of it: the year`s biggest
function in California has given up multicultural days!

Without fanfare, gone are the

special days dedicated to Latinos, Asian Pacific
Islanders and Blacks.

The decision to drop the
Politically Correct special days was quietly made—with
the official explanation that

California`s diversity
will now be

every day
during the fair.

Said Norb Bartosik, General Manager
and CEO of the California Exposition and State Fair
[send him


is one of the most

diverse states
in our country. No matter what day
you come to the State Fair, you`ll find something
cultural and educational to enjoy." [Press


The harsh reality is quite a bit
less happy. Ethnic days at the state fair, whose
nickname is

"Big Fun"
, had become anything but.

An outing at Cal Expo should be
highlighted by typical fair activities like riding the

Ferris wheel or eating cotton candy
. Instead, on a
cultural day, a fair-goer had the distinct possibility
of having his
car vandalized,
witnessing a

gang stabbing
or being randomly punched in the face.

Black Culture Day
was the most feared. One
journalist, David Klein classified it as "somewhere
between `melee` and `riot.`"

Efforts to minimize the risk of
violence by closing the fair early on its last day, and
imploring the youth to

"Cool It Down",

failed abjectly. ("Violence
at Black Culture Days Must Be Addressed
," David
Klein, Metropolitan News-Enterprise, September
16, 2003)

The overriding reason to end
cultural days certainly revolved around the safety of
the attendees. As someone who

regularly attends the fair,
I find it easier not to
have to check what "Day" was being celebrated
before I made my plans.

But someone on the state appointed

Board of Directors
must finally have realized that
it is bad business to designate one day for a particular
ethnicity, thereby dramatically reducing the chances
that anyone from any other ethnicity is going to show up
on that same day.

And the board surely grew weary of
demands that

other ethnic days

Russian Day
as an example…be added.

California took about twenty-five
years to wake up to the foolishness of cultural days.

But will states just beginning to
see large increases in their ethnic populations learn
from our mistakes?

Or will they, as is more likely,
forge blindly ahead on the path to headaches and

I`m thinking specifically about
Indiana with its small but

rapidly growing


The recently ended

Indiana State Fair
seems determined to emphasize
cultural diversity even though, according to fair
officials, attendance reflected the state`s

88 percent white
; 8 percent black and 4% Hispanic.

Nevertheless, fair spokesman Andy
Klotz [send him

] said that he is eager to attract more

Klotz pointed to the presence of
Mexican pop star

Jennifer Pena
at Hispanic and Christian Contemporary
Music Day as one example of the state`s efforts to
attract a more diverse audience. ("Hitting
the Right Notes for Cultural Diversity
," Tania
Lopez, Indianapolis Star, August 15, 2005)

Since attendance was down at this
year`s Indiana fair, I can almost hear the

"We have to reach out; we need

attractions. That will help us sell
more tickets,"
the thinking will go.

But that`s a mistake. Valid reasons
completely unrelated to the lack of cultural events
account for this year`s smaller turn out in

record gas prices
and the bad news weather
combination of high heat and rain.

I asked Cheree Calabro, Porter
County Director of

Indiana Federation for Immigration Reform and
what she thought the prevailing attitude
in her state would be toward "reaching out."

IFIRE, which has lobbied
successfully against use of the Individual Tax Payer
Identification Number to

allow illegal aliens to get home mortgages
, is the
Indiana Chapter for the

Minuteman Project

("Bank Calumet Opens Home Ownership to Illegal
Keith Benman, Northwest Indiana Times,
August 17, 2005)

Calabro told me:

"Hoosiers are getting wise to the fact that the
state often means `illegal aliens` when it refers to
minorities.  This so-called  `reaching out` usually

`reaching into`


Continued Calabro:

"Things are getting
worse in the sense that the number of illegals is
increasing and greedy

businessmen and politicians
are getting more brazen
in their law-breaking. But things are better in the
sense that there is a groundswell of Hoosiers who are
finally waking up and fighting back."

irony is that a debate about the validity of cultural
days at state fairs isn`t  necessary.

In her Indiana Star story cited
above, reporter Lopez wrote that Klotz identified the
fair`s main mission is

"To highlight issues in

and educate the public about them."

Why dilute the "main mission"—especially
if it creates conflict?

Another Indiana resident added to Calabro`s comments.


Edwin Rubenstein
, offered this analysis:

"Most Hoosiers are
still idealistic regarding immigration. Hispanics
constitute a rapidly growing but tiny percentage of the
population. California, however, has seen Indiana`s
future, and it doesn`t work."