Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Diversity In Blogosphere?

Lately there has been a lot of talk in the Blog world about diversity and its place in the world. There are voices that say all whites, liberal and conservative are basically the same and share the same agenda. There are voices that say that all whites are bred to feel superior and therefore are inherently racist, whether they acknowledge it or not. It’s in the DNA. There are voices that say because of our troubled history we can never have true unity as a nation and that the best we can hope for is an uneasy co-existence. There are voices that say because a person is born a certain race they can never truly identify with anyone from another race or their plight. What do you believe?

The first question we must ask ourselves is do we want diversity and why? Do I want diversity because it is the PC thing to do or do I honestly feel that we are strengthened as a nation, when all voices are heard, even those that do not echo my own? Why do we seek the comfort of likeminded in our dwellings, in our relationships, and jobs? Why is something different always to be feared? Can I only trust those of like mind and complexion? Why are we so divided? Can we ever truly be united as a nation?

These are questions I ponder all the time and I wish I could say that I have it all figured out, but I don’t. Sometimes the more I think I know, the less I really know about people. What I do know is the atrocity that was slavery cannot be compensated for. It is time we all got honest and admitted this fact. No matter what is offered it will never be enough and whatever is asked will be too much. Do you think that the casinos make up for the genocidal treatment that the Native Americans received? Do you think that they would trade them for their past, for their culture back? We as Black and White must move beyond this argument and come to a mutual understanding and equitable arrangement to help combat the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow in America. While nothing can ever remove the stain of it, there are definite vestiges of its insidious nature that must be dealt with in a constructive way if we are to achieve any type of lasting peace and unity.

There are concrete things that we can do as a nation to begin the healing process that has for too long been ignored for various reasons. The things that divide us are so deeply entrenched that we as men and women can never overcome them of ourselves. Look at us on Sunday mornings, today it is still the most segregated time in America. We can’t even worship God together, how can we live together?

Gandhi was asked by a Hindu who had killed a Muslim child’s family and orphaned him, how can the Hindu make up for what he had done? Gandhi told him that if he were truly serious and repentant that he should raise the orphan, but not as a Hindu. He was to raise him as a Muslim, like his dead father would have done. The simplicity of this answer is powerful and yet most people miss it. Today, we want solutions that don’t require any work. We basically have become lazy. We sit behind these computers and bang out all these ideas and theories and yet what do we actually physically do to change things? The message that Gandhi was relating is that in order to know a man you have to walk as that man walks, live as that man lives. So often today, due to our laziness we just readily accept stereotypes, rhetoric, and demagoguery. How much do we really know about each other? How much are we willing to learn?

Until we get enough people willing to do the things that are uncomfortable, we will merely continue to have an exercise in futility when it comes to race relations in America. Black people can’t force the issue and White people won’t. If you want to know what is wrong in the world all you have to do is just look inside your own heart. We all suffer from the same fears, insecurities, and shortcomings. I am every man and every man is me. Until, we recognize that we have more that unites us than divides us we will continue to fall into the same old traps. We need to stop allowing those that are exploiting the poor and the working class to continue to foster this false racial identity game. So long as they are able to divide and conquer they will remain free to continue their price gouging, profit stealing, and Wall Street inside trading. While we fight over the crumbs, they reap the gourmet meals.

I for one find it fascinating how those things we despise in others we someday become. I know for myself I use to say as a child I would never treat my children this way in response to some perceived slight of my father. Well, a few years later and a couple of kids and guess what. I say that to say, that we as people can sometimes make the same mistakes we find fault with in others, it isn’t that we are bad, we are just human and it is a part of our nature to do so. Do I think all Progressives are racists? No. Do I think that we all can learn lessons from each other? Yes, but you have to acknowledge that you have need of knowledge to get it. If I believe that I am not a racist, then I won’t look at myself and see where maybe I have been insensitive or could use more self evaluation from another’s perspective. If I say I am without sin, then I am a liar and the truth is not in me. Am I the worst sinner ever? Maybe, it will depend on who you talk to. My ex-wife has me somewhere near the top. In my mind I can always find someone worse than me, but does that make me innocent? The point being is that until I acknowledge I have fallen short in some area, I will continue to lull myself into a false sense of security. (I have friends who are…)

Einstein said it best, “It is all relative.” To the man who has been cheated over and over; can you blame him for being suspicious? If you are White think about how it feels when you are in a situation where you are the minority. Now imagine that feeling every day. If you are Black think about how it feels to be falsely accused just because you are Black or lumped into the generalization pot. He’s Black of course he can play basketball. We will never find unity if we can’t get past the fear and the stereotypes that continue to define us. This is a marathon, not a sprint. There has been a lot of mistrust, fear, and social conditioning to overcome. There are many who will not want to, but for those who want to build a better world we must overcome our prejudice and fears. It is going to take a lot of work and many years. I have had many white friends who truly believed that they were not prejudiced, and then they would say you are handsome or smart for a Black man…Articulate

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