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Old 03-05-2008, 12:29 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,061 posts, read 102,770,515 times
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I'll be a bit of a devil's advocate and say you do need diversity to be cosmopolitan, whatever that is supposed to mean here. Otherwise, you're just "talking the talk", not "walking the walk". Not to sound trite, but that's part of the problem, I think, in these huge majority white places that *** about diversity all the time. I have had to respect the culture of many ethnicities in my work as a nurse, something you wouldn't have to do in a lily white place.
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Old 03-05-2008, 12:38 PM
 
93 posts, read 218,585 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 18Montclair View Post
We're thinking too hard.

Its impossible for such strong racial and ethnic diversity to not have an impact on the daily lives of others. The sheer exposure to other cultures on a daily basis really does make an individual more knowledgable of people much different from themselves.

True, you dont have to be diverse to be cosmopolitan, but having diversity is a huge plus. Any suggestion to the contrary is just plain wrong imo.
On the contrary, I think you're oversimplifying.

If you read the NY Times article (maybe you didn't), you would find that Harvard researchers (whose position was very similar to your own and who, according to the article, wanted to find data supportive of that position) actually found strong evidence contrary to the position you stated. So, the point is not that diversity does not have a social impact, but that it may not have the impact you assume. Actual research has contradicted assumed positions and anecdotal evidence ("It's impossible..." "Just plain wrong") on more than one occasion. The issue is complex and is still being sorted out by people that have spent much more time on it than you or me.

Nonetheless, I do not think race is entirely irrelevant, but it's kind of a blunt measure and not particularly helpful to the question at hand. In other words, you might reasonably assume (despite my theoretical example) that SF is more cosmopolitan than Small Town, Alabama because the lack of any racial diversity (i.e. people from other places don't live there at all) would most likely indicate that the area is pretty closed to any culture other than its own (assuming you've controlled for economic, etc. factors). However, all the major cities are substantially more diverse than such a place and are generally "more cosmopolitan" in the sense that they're willing to have people from other places live and work there. But people from other places live and work in SF, Chicago, NYC, Denver, Houston, Atlanta, LA, etc.

So pointing to marginal differences in racial demographics doesn't really tell me anything about the culture of the place beyond the baseline willingness to be in the vicinity of or work with people from other cultures. I think most definitions of "cosmopolitan" would require more openness outside influences and culture than this baseline.

And just thinking out loud...I would guess that cosmopolitanism is much more closely linked with issues of social class and the culture of particular groups found within cities than race.
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Old 03-05-2008, 12:55 PM
 
93 posts, read 218,585 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
I'll be a bit of a devil's advocate and say you do need diversity to be cosmopolitan, whatever that is supposed to mean here. Otherwise, you're just "talking the talk", not "walking the walk". Not to sound trite, but that's part of the problem, I think, in these huge majority white places that *** about diversity all the time. I have had to respect the culture of many ethnicities in my work as a nurse, something you wouldn't have to do in a lily white place.
I'm not sure why that has to be true.

I don't think the definition of "cosmopolitan" is unclear. The dictionary.com definition I posted earlier (which is basically consistent with how I always understood the word) says a cosmopolitan person is "who is free from local, provincial, or national bias or attachment; citizen of the world."

This definition refers to a state of mind or way of thinking. Nothing about a way of thinking requires a certain rainbow mix of skin colors around the person. If someone purposely put themselves in a place with no diversity whatsoever to avoid other races/cultures, then that individual is not a cosmopolitan person. However, there is nothing to prevent the majority of the population of a racially homogeneous area from having cosmopolitan views or "respecting other cultures."

In contrast, diversity simply means the existence of differences or dissimilarities. In terms of demographics, it just means that a number of races live in the same area. It is value-neutral and says nothing about the cultures of those races or how the various races and/or cultures relate to or view each other. Thus, it is a separate concept.
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Old 03-05-2008, 01:03 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,061 posts, read 102,770,515 times
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Quote:
This definition refers to a state of mind or way of thinking.
Also known as "talking the talk". As in, "Let's all go do a Mexican Hat Dance". I chose that example b/c I read some Seattleite bragging about their Hispanic festival.

Walking the walk, that is, being respectful of Hispanic-Mexican culture is different, and many of the above don't even know how to go about doing that because they don't really know anything about it.
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Old 03-05-2008, 01:21 PM
 
93 posts, read 218,585 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Also known as "talking the talk". As in, "Let's all go do a Mexican Hat Dance". I chose that example b/c I read some Seattleite bragging about their Hispanic festival.

Walking the walk, that is, being respectful of Hispanic-Mexican culture is different, and many of the above don't even know how to go about doing that because they don't really know anything about it.
Well, I see what you're saying, but I think being cosmopolitan means more than just [1] not being ignorant of other cultures or [2] respecting other cultures.

The "citizen of the world" thing suggests to me a disassociation of one's identity with particular national, racial, or local categories.
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Old 03-05-2008, 01:43 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,061 posts, read 102,770,515 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCL01 View Post
Well, I see what you're saying, but I think being cosmopolitan means more than just [1] not being ignorant of other cultures or [2] respecting other cultures.

The "citizen of the world" thing suggests to me a disassociation of one's identity with particular national, racial, or local categories.
A very hard thing to do.
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Old 03-05-2008, 02:12 PM
 
93 posts, read 218,585 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
A very hard thing to do.
Agreed - which is why I think the word is a bit overused.

It means more than just a "diverse" city with lots of stuff to do, lots of upscale shopping, where people like to eat at trendy restaurants, sip wine and listen to music they don't hear much in the hinterlands - because this describes almost all the major American cities.

Traditionally, I think the term generally referred to societal elites whose wealth or position allowed them a kind of "global upbringing" that allowed them to form an identity that wasn't particular to any country or group other than other such global elites.

Thus, a cosmopolitan city would be one where there was a critical mass of such "citizens of the world" such that they exert a strong influence on the city's culture.

I think the only U.S. city that really fits the bill is NYC.
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Old 03-09-2008, 09:03 PM
 
Location: Northern NJ/Amagansett, NY
11,040 posts, read 10,230,283 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skeeter85 View Post
I realize the Hamptons aren't NY suburbs, but would you consider that area cosmopolitan? (or is just filthy rich? I'm not sure on that one....).
It's cosmopolitan in the summer...and the opposite of cosmopolitan in the winter. lol. Its actually very quaint when the summer crowds leave.

Last edited by AnesthesiaMD; 03-09-2008 at 09:48 PM..
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Old 03-09-2008, 09:36 PM
 
Location: Santa Barbara, California
162 posts, read 219,240 times
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New York City
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Old 03-10-2008, 10:04 AM
 
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
7,653 posts, read 15,365,221 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCL01 View Post
Agreed - which is why I think the word is a bit overused.

It means more than just a "diverse" city with lots of stuff to do, lots of upscale shopping, where people like to eat at trendy restaurants, sip wine and listen to music they don't hear much in the hinterlands - because this describes almost all the major American cities.

Traditionally, I think the term generally referred to societal elites whose wealth or position allowed them a kind of "global upbringing" that allowed them to form an identity that wasn't particular to any country or group other than other such global elites.

Thus, a cosmopolitan city would be one where there was a critical mass of such "citizens of the world" such that they exert a strong influence on the city's culture.

I think the only U.S. city that really fits the bill is NYC.
When I created this post, my idea of a "cosmopolitan city" was kind of like this: a city with an unusually high population of people who...

* Speak another language, even though they are not necessarily immigrants
* Listen to "foreign" music that might not be on the U.S. pop charts. And I don't just mean the "artistic" or yuppie-looking stuff you see at Barnes and Noble, but stuff like what's on the Dutch or Italian pop charts.
* Eat and are knowledgeable about a wide variety of different cuisines...know what "hummus", "naan", and "pad thai" are.
* Are well-travelled; know about cities in other countries
* Are generally interested in other cultures and places.
* Etc.
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