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Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Case Against Diversity

Yep I’m against diversity. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m fascinated by different cultures, heck, that’s what I found most interesting when I was in college learning about international business. The difference in cultures plays a huge part in how products are marketed from the taste, the color of the package and how business is conducted.

When I travel abroad I much rather travel on my own versus in a group setting because then I have the opportunity to discover, feel, hear and taste the culture I’m being exposed to. I can venture into the path less taken. Looking back I’d say I go into a bit of a trance as I try to absorb all the sights and sounds around me. I leave in wonder and appreciation for the experience that has expanded my world.

As odd as it may sound but I do tend to attract people from different countries into my world. A long time friend is originally from Mexico. I was in her wedding and she was in mine.  Through my husband and work I’ve become friends with people from Brazil, Ukraine and Romania. They certainly have enriched my life.

However with all those friendships and travels I’ve expenenced one thread always remained, the more I’ve discovered that in the end we are all more alike than different. We all want the same things; a health, happiness, good friends, a better life for our children and a love and appreciation for our Creator.

You see I’m against diversity for two reasons; 1) its unnatural and 2) it pulls people apart instead of bringing them together.

For example, when you first meet, run into or are around people you’re not familiar with do you start talking about how you’re different? No! You immediately try to develop a connection through some common interest such as sports, children or the situation you’ve found yourself in with the other person. When you’re at a wedding you might ask the other person how they know the bride or groom.  When you’re watching a sporting event you might ask the person what they think of a certain team or player. The most common ice breaker is to ask the other person what they do to earn a living. The bottom line is you’re always searching for some commonality in order to make a connection with the other person. It all starts with small talk.

It’s not until you’re comfortable with the other person do you bring up the differences and that can take some time. Through the 30 plus years of conversations with my Mexican friend I’ve found out things about the culture she grew up in. The information was revealed and then I’d ask inquiring questions. Rarely have I asked an outright question about her background. To tell the truth it really isn’t an important part of our friendship, although it is quite interesting when a tidbit of unknown information is offered.

For example, several years ago I invited a new friend to attend a convention with me. Afterwards as we were having a few drinks when she complimented me on how my skin looked and wanted to know what I did to keep it that way. That’s when she told me that Apache Indians (she was Apache) were very vain. She told me that people thought they painted their faces to look mean but it was really to protect their skin. Who knew? It was new information coming right from the source. She was obviously very comfortable with me or really wanted to know how I took care of my skin.

Yes, I’m against diversity. We as humans have so many things in common than we do differences that it is tearing us apart rather than bringing us together. In my mind there will always be a curiosity, enthusiasm and appreciation for what diversity brings to the table but the accent should be on what brings us together. When you’re focusing on differences it’s hard to make peace with a religion, race, gender or nationality particularly if you don’t agree with it. When we focus on our commonalities it brings a sense of community and togetherness that unites us in a bond of love and friendship.

I think that’s the Creator’s goal, to love the person inside and not be influenced by some shallow casing.

I think Madeleine Albright said it quite well.

“As world events reflect, we remain far from mastering the art of human relations. We have invented no technology that will guide us to the destinations that matter most.

After two world wars, the Holocaust, multiple genocides and countless conflicts, we must ask how long it will be before we are able to rise above the national, racial and gender distinctions that divide us and embrace the common humanity that binds us.

The answer depends not on the starts or some mysterious forces of history; it depends on the choices that you and I and all of us make.”

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