Enlightened kindred spirits who know that being inclusive and accepting every type of diversity strengthens the entire society gathered in Minneapolis, MN in March. The Multicultural Forum on Workplace Diversity was well attended. Over six hundred people from around the United States and world increased knowledge and raised their enthusiasm. It is so nice to be around people who “get it” and are united for a logical reason. www.stthomas.edu/mcf
Humans are nearly identical. A minuscule amount of DNA provides differing characteristics. The social context of “race” is a rather recent development. Our bodies adapt to the surrounding physical environment, which causes the different physical characteristics or “race.” These different physical characteristics add genetic variety, which makes us stronger as a species.
Diversity fits into several categories. Physical characteristics of skin, hair, and eyes; it extends to body shape (size), abilities (strength, dexterity, endurance), and other traits. Add in age and gender and that covers the body. I think that gender and sexuality are on a genetic continuum. It is a bit different for each person and comes from within but is often defined by cultural norms.
Psychological characteristics include infinite variety ranging from aptitude, ability to learn new information, et al, is another area. Culture is a completely different category. It is a social construct to guide actions within a geographic location where people reside, though now it can be expanded to Internet web-based groups. Religion is a facet of culture. Educate yourself with reliable unbiased sources or better yet, meet and talk with people from a culture or form of diversity that you don’t know. Most people are flattered when someone wants to learn.
It’s all well and good to purport that you aren’t a racist or discriminate against anyone in any way. But really, is that your reality? You may not wear a white sheet and march in Klu Klux Klan parades but you may be practicing low-level discrimination, which is harmful. Treat others as you wish to be treated. Be aware of what you think, say, and do, especially around children. They learn from you. People make assumptions about me because I am plump and have white hair (used to be blonde). Their assumptions are harmful. I am neither lazy nor elderly (or dumb).
Don’t make assumptions about anyone. Assumptions make an ass out of the person who is doing the assuming. Don’t spread discriminatory jokes or humor. Get to know every person as an individual because there are many variations within every “group.” Even identical twins are different despite being raised in the same circumstance and sharing genetics. Smile at everybody. That is a universal signal of friendliness. It will open some wondrous doors of opportunity.
United We Stand.
© 2012 Ima B. Musing