Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Diversity's Hue

Diversity.

Tolerance.

Multi-culturalism.

When those buzzwords typically get lobbed around, they are euphemisms for race. Racial diversity, racial tolerance and racial multi-culturalism. Not matter how stridently Americans protest that the world is not about race, sadly, it almost always is.

But, those words lose some of their power when they are only considered in the context of race. Diversity of thought is more important than diversity of race. Tolerating diversity in opinions is far more valuable than allowing black folks to move into your neighborhood. And understanding and appreciating a diversity in true culture does far more good than hanging out in the ethnic part of town. It's about understanding what are real differences and what is superficial.

Despite its importance, race at its core is very superficial. It's quite possible to spend your entire life around people of the same color and never feel like you belong or are appreciated. Sharing a skin color does not guarantee sharing a life experience, nor does it guarantee sharing understanding.

This thought came back to me recently while discussing a hot button news topic with a group of young black men. I realized that all of us brought something different to the intellectual table despite the fact that most of us grew up on the same block. That we all digested the same events differently. That all our perspectives had some value because they all gave a slightly fuller picture of the world. Our shared color did not guarantee shared values. Our minds were our own little sanctuaries, and in them we've created own little worlds.

It is an important lesson to remember..

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1 comment:

Blaque Ink said...

It seems that most whites think that diversity means "filling quotas" or being friends with nonwhites. Diversity is much deeper and complez than that.

Raving Black Lunatic