Cultural Diversity


Spokane welcomes diversity. 
Minorities are respected and valued for their contributions to our community. 

  • The world is full of diverse colors, faces, landscapes, cultures, religions, food, and languages; but we can respect the different ways we do things and the beauty of those differences.

  • If all countries were just like the United States of America, there would be no tulips in the Netherlands, no Alps in Switzerland, no giraffes in Africa, no Italian operas, no regional accents, no rice fields in China or its Great Wall of China, and no ruins in Mexico.  Fortunately, our marvelous world is rich in natural wonders and traditions. 
  • The many residents in Spokane vary widely in their clothing styles, parenting styles, artistic styles, religions and food preferences - but we can all share kindness, generosity, love and understanding.  We may prefer our native language, but we can all speak the language of love and caring. 
  • President Barak Obama spoke at a Washington school July 21, 2014, spoke regarding his initiative “My Brother’s Keeper.”  In speaking about improving the lives of boys and men of color, and said that despite cultural or racial differences, we are all one community.  “You know, sometimes African Americans in communities where I have worked, there’s been a notion of “acting white,” which sometimes is overstated, but there is an element of truth to it where, okay, if boys are reading too much, then “Why are you doing that?” or “Why are you speaking so properly?”  And the notion that there is some authentic way of being black, that if you are going to be black, you have to act a certain way and wear a certain kind of clothes, that….that has to go.” 
Gayle King of CBS News also remarked:   I was one of those kids myself who was teased, “You’re such a white girl….why do you talk that way?….what’s wrong with the way you speak?”  My father used to say to me, “Talking proper English doesn’t have anything to do with color.  It has to do with being smart and saying the right thing,” and I have never forgotten that.  So, when I see President Obama saying this, I don’t think you can have that out there enough.”     CBS This Morning News, July 22, 2014
  • Racism and religious discrimination often occur because of assumptions which are made because of a person's background, or appearance, or religion, or a different way of thinking.  Some fear people whom they don't know and who believe things that are different.  One solution is to interact more with each other, increasing our knowledge and getting to know about one another to make the unfamiliar more familiar.  We can all learn to treat others with dignity, when we take the time to learn about our neighbors, their beliefs, and their cultures.

    Many years ago, a young boy visited his uncle who worked in the lumber business. They were looking at the trees in the lumber camp, when the boy noticed a very tall tree standing alone on the hilltop. Full of excitement the boy showed his uncle the towering tree.  "Look at that big tree!" he exclaimed.  "It will make a lot of good lumber, won't it." 

    To the boy's surprise, his uncle shook his head. "No," he said.  "That tree will not make a lot of good lumber. It might make a lot of lumber, but not a lot of good lumber. When a tree grows off by itself, too many branches grow on it. Those branches produce knots when the tree is cut into the lumber.  The best lumber comes from trees that grow together in groves. The trees also grow taller and straighter when they grow together."

    It is true of trees, and it is true of each of us. We grow into better people when we grow together rather than alone. While there is value in independence, there are also critical lessons to learn from interdependence.  The personal growth that comes from giving and receiving help can happen in no other way.  We were not meant to be solitary, to stand alone, apart from one another.  We need other people to love and care about, and we thrive when others love and care about us. Each one of us is needed, and each one of us has something to offer. Together we are better than we would be alone.

    All around us are those who are lonely, those who need a friend, a word of encouragement, a kind outreach. So many people are looking for the light of love and the warmth of friendship.  We can resolve not to let them stand alone in the dark or the cold. We can reach out to them.  We can take an interest in them and include them. We can help them stand taller and grow straighter; and like trees that grow in groves, we will find that we too can stand taller and grow straighter.  This is what happens when trees and people grow together.  (Lloyd Newell, Music and the Spoken Word, February 26, 2017k)

Statistics
  • About 10% of Spokane's population are considered to be a minority group, differing in race, religion, or ethnic background from the majority of Spokane County's population. 

  • Racial diversity is increasing in Spokane County. 
    People who are White make up 86.1% of residents; 
    People who are Hispanic are the largest minority at 4.9%;
    People who are 2 or more races make up 3.2%;
    People who are American Indian or native Alaskans number 6,750, or 1.3%;
    People who are Black are 1.8%;
    People who are Asian are 2.3%;
    People who are Pacific Islanders are .33%;
    Other people make up .07%.

    In Washington State, 71.3% of the population of 6,899,123 are white; and 28.7% are other races. 
    Nationally, 62.7% of the population of 314,107,084 are white; and 37.2% are other races.  (Source:  "Racial Diversity Increasing Slowly," by Molly Quinn, The Spokesman-Review, and the U.S. Census, American Community Survey)
Local Organizations
Additional Resources

Interpreter Services
Larry Valadez
509-499-3812

Spokane International Translation

104 S. Freya (Tapio Center)
Spokane, WA
(509) 327-8064
http://www.spokanetranslations.com
They provide oral or written interpreters and translations of 47 languages.  They serve the legal, medical and business community, offering to translate documents and providing interpreters.  They also aid in the communication process between people from a foreign country and the manner in which the United States functions.