Today, racial, national and ethnic minority groups formally enjoy the same rights and opportunities as the dominant group - at least in Western democracies. But in the past, individuals from the minority groups were often discriminated, segregated and even harassed.
Listed below are a few individuals from racial/national/ethnic minority groups who not only rose to prominence but also demonstrate the importance and value of cultural diversity:
Albert Einstein (1879-1955). Widely considered as one of the greatest minds of all time was born into a Jewish-Catholic family in Germany. Even though he won the Nobel Prize in 1921, the famous physicist knew that he wasn’t safe in his home country after the Nazi party rose to power in 1933. In the same year, he emigrated to the United States. He never set foot on the German ground again.
Franz Kafka (1883-1924). The author of masterpieces such as The Trial and The Metamorphosis was born into the German-speaking Jewish family in Bohemia (today’s Czech Republic) which was at the time a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He lived in the era of the so-called national awakening which was marked by a growing conflict between the German- and Czech-speaking population. Kafka who spoke both languages felt that the German-Czech conflict doesn’t concern him although the Jewish community was often drawn into the conflict and compelled to choose sides.
Freddie Mercury (1946-1991). Born as Farrokh Bulsara in the Sultanate of Zanzibar to Parsi parents, the lead singer of Queen is one of the most famous Brits and according to many, one of the best vocalists in history of recorded music. He called himself ‘Freddie’ before his arrival to England but changed his surname only when joining the band. It wasn’t unusual (and still isn’t) for musicians to change names or have stage names but it is possible that Freddie felt that his name and surname didn’t sound right to English-speaking audience.
Bruce Lee (1940-1973). The Hong Kong American actor and martial artist was born in San Francisco’s Chinatown. He didn’t only went on to become a movie star but he also played the key role in popularisation of Chinese martial arts in the Western world.
Barack Obama (1961). In 2008, Barack Obama was elected the 44th U.S. President and became the first African American to assume the office (in 2009). In 2013, he was re-elected, defeating Mitt Romney from the Republican Party.