Ana Veciana-Suarez’s essay “TITLE HERE” is a fun imagining of cultural diversity and acceptance through one of the most prolific pop icons of the past 50 years: Barbie. It is also a more sentimental look at how it is through love that people become more open to the idea of cultural diversity, and through loving each other that people learn about others, their differences, their similarities, and then teach other people what they learned. Veciana-Suarez argues that if Barbie were to get a Latino boyfriend (whom she playfully and generically names Jose), then young people in our society can learn about cultural diversity and acceptance through the example set by Barbie. Veciana-Suarez relates her own personal experience with her culturally different husband as an example of how love between two culturally different people can foster a greater sense of tolerance, acceptance, and openness between the two of them as well as among their families. It is this kind of loving relationship that would exist between Barbie and “Jose” that would act as a guiding example for all of society, and their diversity and tolerance would be a guiding light for the future of this country as a diverse and tolerant society.
I think Veciana-Suarez brings up an interesting point in this essay. She is no doubt correct in purporting that Barbie, being the cultural icon that she is, has a tremendous influence over our culture as a whole, as well as in the formation of a young person’s sense of identity (countless gender theorists have called Barbie to task for this). It might be naively hopeful to think that if Barbie were to have an interracial relationship, then the rest of society might be more on board with the idea and be more tolerant and accepting of interracial relationships, but it is indeed a nice thought. And I don’t argue in the least that the most effective and open-minded way that a person can learn about a culture other than their own is to become involved, and even fall in love, with a person from a different culture. In this scenario, a person has a vested interest in understanding more about the other person’s culture, heritage, beliefs, etc. The person cares so much about the other person that they want to learn all there is to know about them, and they will do so in an open-minded way because they have a desire to learn these things. Acceptance is more or less built into the equation. Again, it is naively hopeful to assume that if Barbie does it, then the rest of the population will fall in line behind her, but it is a nice thought and it is true that, in a greater sense, it is only through love that people can learn to be accepting of diversity.