Success from a salad bowl

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Holly Mansfield
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs

Strength through diversity. These words are said all throughout the world but what do they really mean to the men and women in the Air Force?

Some might say we are a melting pot of people from different backgrounds, races, cultures and religions. During the Keesler 2018 Black History Luncheon, Col. Terrence Adams, Air Mobility Command director of communications and chief information officer, described the Air Force as more of a salad with each piece coming from a different source but complimenting the others to become something bigger and better.

“When I grew up we always referred to America as a melting pot of cultures and beliefs,” said Adams. “I don’t think we should take people from their backgrounds and make them into something else. I look at us more like a beautiful salad. It has all the different colors that come together to make something delicious. You see the white and yellows and the greens and the red all together in one bowl but not changing who they are. If we come together, but don’t lose our personal identity, we can still work as a team and be happy.”

As the guest speaker of the event, Adams spoke about not only celebrating African American heritage but also using events like luncheons to educate people from other cultures about the history behind the culture.

“This month is for African Americans, but more importantly it’s for those who aren’t African American,” said Adams. “This is a time to discover how people can learn more about African Americans and their contributions. This is for everyone. When we hold these observances, whether it be for women, Native Americans or Asian Americans, the backdrop should be that culture, but more so a broadcast to those who don’t know much about that culture or subject. This is a learning opportunity.”

Education about different cultures shouldn’t end on the last day of each heritage month according to Adams. Every person has a chance to learn about the culture and background of those around them year round but still have pride in their heritage and where they came from by taking part in events like the Black History Luncheon.

“This an opportunity to focus in on a message,” said Adams. “This is a chance to showcase the African American heritage and educate others on the contributions of that culture but I think this is also an occasion to focus on the future. How can we come together as one America moving forward?”

Each person may come from a different place, religion or race but using Adams’ philosophy of coming together like a salad in a bowl, each American can showcase their heritage openly while still functioning as a team.

“Being a strong African American female, Native American male or someone of Asian descent, you have your strong identity there and that should be welcomed,” said Adams. “We’ve gotten too far into trying to stay under the American banner or Airman banner but people are going to go back home and still be surrounded with their traditions when they get there. We shouldn’t make them not have that as a part of their everyday life. I think it’s possible to make those things blend together in one salad bowl for success.”   

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