Diversity is a Cornerstone In Our Society, Yet It Is Often Shunned
We Need to Be Willing to Open Ourselves to Differences
‘Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover’ is Something Often Heard but Rarely Practiced.
I am so glad I live in a country where we base our opinions on facts rather than media bias. Where we see people for their actions, not the elegance of their speech. Where we do not use memes to make our decisions about who people are. For we are all perfect people who don’t say stupid things or act like idiots at any time. Where we can easily cast stones based on what other people have said about someone, rather than taking the time find out for ourselves, not using social media as our gauge, but putting in the work it takes to find out. I am proud to be around all these non-judgmental people, and I aspire to be as perfect as everyone around me seems to be. Since the grass in my yard has spots of yellow, with weeds I often need to pull; not like everyone else who has perfectly green manicured lawns.
America the Melting Pot Society
I remember being taught the history of America — when we understood it as melting pot of diversity. The ideal that we could come from different ideologies and backgrounds and still build lives, communities and share ideas together. People could work hard for what they wanted and get it. They didn’t just expect things to be handed to them. Hard work was appreciated, and the results were felt with joy and pride in those accomplishments.
I don’t know what happened to the world I grew up in. I don’t know how society has managed to take so many huge steps backward. No, it has not ‘always’ been ‘this’ way, but the possibilities of going backwards have been there. After all, it is easier to fall back into what you know rather than create a new path forward, crafting change for a better world.
If All Flowers Were the Same, the World Would be Dull
Diversity can bring change. It is in sharing our differences that we can discover new ideas, new paths forward, new hope and prosperity together. It is by learning about our differences that we can find understanding, compassion and hope. We become stronger when we face the ‘fear’ of what makes us unique and embrace the possibilities. When we can see beyond color, race, and religion to stop blaming each other, and recognize that evil has no color. It is all of these things and yet it is none of these things. Finger pointing, shame blaming, judgements based on what someone looks like or on a single action; these are the things that destroy us. These are the things that create the cracks in our society.
When we work against each other. When we create civil unrest. When we point fingers based on these things, we become complicit in the tearing apart of our society. When we would rather work against someone because their thoughts and belief systems are different than our own — we become the reason for failure. We become party to the gap that grows bigger with each of these actions.
When we pull together for the common good. When we see the best in each other and give one another the benefit of the doubt. When we passionately believe innocent until proven guilty. When we stand with the innocent and we punish the guilty, when we work together to build a society based on our diversity — then we are building and rebuilding a stronger society in which we can take pride.
Hate isn’t something we are born with. We aren’t born to judge. Sure, we are born selfish, but we are taught our principles and beliefs. We choose which of these to pass on to the next generation. Think about that for a moment. YOU are teaching the next generation how to act, how to think, and how to believe; not just in your words but by your actions. So why is does hatred for diversity exist? Why are we pushing a single-based thought system that doesn’t question or think? Why do we base things not on facts but instead on bias?
Changing Our World Starts With Our Own Actions
I would like the world to be a better place. I would like to see positive change. Yet, I can only control my piece of the world. My actions or inactions are what I can call into question. What did I teach my child? I didn’t teach my child to see color. I didn’t allow my child to give arguments based on what someone else said — rather than on doing the research to understand why he believes what he chooses to believe. I taught him to know it and own it. He can disagree with me on anything. I encourage him to have his own voice, his own thoughts, his own path. I support him in these things even when we disagree.
I have lifelong friendships that I have maintained even when our beliefs, and sometimes values, don’t line up. We have open-minded discussions. We reach conclusions. Sometimes we agree to disagree when we stand on different sides of the fence. However, these differences have not stopped our friendships from going forward. They just made them stronger. The bonds tighter. Sure, it is easier to have friends who agree with everything you say and do. However, how boring would that be? No one thinks exactly alike. We should be allowed to share our differences of opinion openly without worry for verbal, emotional or physical retaliation.
Being open-minded will get us so much further than keeping our minds and hearts closed. We need to not just believe everything we see in the news and/or social media, we need to know and discover the truth for ourselves. When we base everything on what someone else has said without researching, questioning and/or discovering it for ourselves, we can be lining up for failure.
Perhaps you don’t agree with me. Perhaps you feel the world is perfect or would rather live in a bubble of complacency. Perhaps you are afraid of diversity and change. Perhaps it is time to try a different way and be open-minded to the possibilities that those two things bring with them.