Written by Evan Paul
“We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value…”
“It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” – Maya Angelou
We often focus on the great rich history of our country, and I am elated that we do. However we are doing ourselves a huge disservice when we fail to realize where we have gone wrong. Our race, the human race, has an incredible story. We should be awed by our collective ability to create, instill change, and push forward progressive thoughts that have brought peace and sent waves of cultural innovation billowing throughout the world. Unfortunately – if not properly nurtured, our minds can grow stale and callous. The toxicity can be maddening and if left alone too long it can lead us to prejudice, disrespect, and hate. This thinking is contagious; beliefs spread like a plague and negative thoughts seem to be more contagious than positive ones.
So how do we focus on maintaining a healthy mind and enlightened society?
STEP ONE: Study the past
In order to understand how to build a successful future, we must understand what mistakes we have already made; it’s a real time saver to not press repeat on our past. Examples: racism, sexism, lack of education, suppression of minorities, disrespect of any kind. Fully grasping the various mishaps of the last 2,000 years will make us the most successful generation in history.
STEP TWO: Understand how far we have come
Respect is not granted by simply asking for it – though unfortunate, that is just the dirty truth. People begin respecting one another when they see commonalities. Look at the music industry with talents such as Etta James, Beyoncé, Nat King Cole, and The Temptations. We can all agree on the major impact these artists have made beyond the music community and we embrace their beautiful tunes that have enhanced the world. Just in the same way we embrace The Beach Boys, Celine Dion, Adele and Florence and the Machine’s. All of these artists have made an impact on the black world — and the white world –- because those aren’t separate things. Each sector of this worldly melting pot can be linked to the next through mutual adoration of music, fashion, or religion among other things. Once we realize that we are all interwoven, then we can understand that denying people their right to be, to exist, does nothing but bring us all down.
STEP THREE: Identify the problem
Our society has become accustomed to making generalized statements about groups of people, purely from their glass house of misunderstanding and ignorance. Let’s move onto another group of people who have felt this prejudice more recently – the LGBT community. A group that was literally told they could not legally love each other. No one has explained why however, those who oppose will stand on their soap boxes and shout fancy phrases like religious freedom and make themselves into victims of a cause only they are fighting. We all want to make the decision to be who we are and do what we like without hurting anyone else. As members of a mass society our job is not to agree with those wants, but to respect them.
STEP FOUR: The Solution
Take a minute to understand each other. Maybe you still disagree, but that doesn’t mean you can’t respect one another. We don’t have to all be the same – I mean who are we to dismiss our fellow human beings as faulted or unworthy of any right or respect? WE ARE ALL FAULTED, BUT ALL WORTHY! The diversity of this planet is intentional. How unfortunate would it be if customs in India were the same as Mexico, France, and Russia; what would be the point of travel? If we all believed in one school of thought and we all wore the same outfit; what would be the point of collaboration or innovation? If everyone were similar, the boredom epidemic would be more terrifying than the cancer epidemic. Respect the natural untamed and beautiful afro of the black woman at the supermarket. Respect your new neighbors Steve and Justin who just provided a loving environment for two adopted children to grow up. Respect the romantic Spanish syllables spoken by a recent immigrant who is working so hard to better their family and learn the customs of a new country. If our problem is that we have a lack of respect for one another. The minute we look at someone else and make an effort to understand them, we will trick our feeble minds into having –- RESPECT.
(How many times did I just say R E S P E C T in one paragraph? — Whatever, point made.)
THE OUTCOME: Successful love soaked society
I highly encourage and provokingly challenge everyone to embrace our diversity. Black or White, Fat or Skinny, Gay or Straight, Wealthy or Poor. “In diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” Find the beauty and strength in people you may not understand. You will never regret giving others love and respect!