Category Archives: Race

Unity and Diversity – Two Sides of the Same Myth (Part Two)

“World unity is the wish of the hopeful, the goal of the idealist and the dream of the romantic. Yet it is folly to the realist and a lie to the innocent.”
– Don Williams, Jr.

 

Last week, I wrote about how when we push for diversity, we end up erasing it.  I believe a similar thing occurs when we speak of unity.  Even as we talk about our desire for unity, we divide ourselves.

Historically, just about every nation has experienced racial and cultural divides.  Often, these have turned into bloody affairs with injustices and atrocities committed by those in power on both sides.

In the United States today, we claim that we want racial unity, however the evidence shows otherwise.  Are you a Mexican-American?  An African-American?  Italian-American?  Irish-American?

If different ethnic groups wanted unity, then they wouldn’t label themselves by their race or nationality.  In doing so, they automatically segregate themselves from the rest of society, creating an “us” versus “them” mentality.

We see this in religion as well.  As a church we want unity… kind of.  One of my all-time favorite jokes was told by the comedian Emo Philips:

“Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump.   I said, “Don’t do it!”

He said, “Nobody loves me.”

I said, “God loves you. Do you believe in God?”

He said, “Yes.”

I said, “Are you a Christian or a Jew?”

He said, “A Christian.”

I said, “Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?”

He said, “Protestant.”

I said, “Me, too! What franchise?”

He said, “Baptist.”

I said, “Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?”

He said, “Northern Baptist.”

I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?”

He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.”

I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?”

He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region.” I said, “Me, too!”

I said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?”

He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.”

I said, “Die, heretic!”  And I pushed him over.”

I believe the problem comes from our inability to define who we are as individuals.  We are desperate to find some meaningful way by which we can be identified.  Somehow, we have to matter because in our hearts, we need to matter.  So, we pick something about ourselves, and cling to it for dear life.

We then surround ourselves with people who identify themselves as we do, thereby validating our choice in selecting what it is that makes us important.  If we lose that one thing – our religion, our nationality, our skin color… our favorite team, for that matter – we lose our identity, and with it, our value.

It’s seems that we want unity, but only within our own separate little groups.

Unity and Diversity – Two Sides of the Same Myth (Part One)

“I could be wrong, but I believe Diversity is an old, old wooden ship that was used during the Civil War era.”
– Ron Burgundy

 

As I write this, the nation is embroiled in a heated battle over who gets to use which restroom. Even our president has weighed in on this all-important issue, threatening to deny funds to our schools if they don’t allow boys to use the girl’s locker room.

(Where was this policy when I was in high school?  I mean, I wasn’t even sure girls were actually ever naked, but I was very, very interested in finding out.)

Of course, the whole thing is absurd.

It has, however, initiated a train of thought which has led me to conclude that unity and diversity, or at least our desire for them, are myths.  Not that this is a conscious thing.  To the contrary, I think people sincerely believe they want unity.  I think people sincerely want to embrace diversity.  However, I don’t think we truly want want either.

A case in point is our current media-induced frenzy about gender self-identification.  The idea here is that we should value diversity by allowing individuals to determine for themselves what gender they are at any given time.  If we force a gender assignment, we are not valuing diversity.

The problem is that it’s not enough for us to recognize or respect the right of someone else to self-identify.  If that were the case, then the push would be for unisex bathrooms.  Instead, we are told we must each sacrifice our own gender identity in the process.  In effect, we are being forced to eliminate gender as an identification.

There can no longer be male or female… rather we are aggressively forced into the foggy world of gender neutrality.

We see this in areas of sexuality, as well.  It is not enough to say, “Men have the right to marry men and women have the right to marry women.”  If that were the case, I think it would be less of an issue.  Instead, you must celebrate the marriage and you must participate in the process, regardless of your own beliefs, if called upon to do so.

When it comes to sexuality, there can only be agreement.  Anything else is unacceptable.

We’re not just stamping out dissenting opinion or beliefs; we’re also eliminating the virtues that come along with achievement.

Kids who naturally excel at athletics are pulled down to the level of the least talented through the virtue of “participation” awards.

Those who have worked hard to get through high school, some of whom have had to overcome learning disabilities in the process, receive the same diploma as the apathetic kid who was passed along from grade to grade in the interest of preserving self-esteem.

In other areas, diversity is celebrated, but only for some.  People are allowed to be proud of their race, unless they’re white.  Religion is to be tolerated and have its flaws forgiven, unless we’re talking about Christianity.

As a society, we’ve been talking about diversity for decades.  There are all kinds of inspirational posters out there that pair inspirational quotes about diversity with pictures of butterflies.  We communicate this image of naturally diverse colors standing out in beauty.

Unfortunately, the image of our reality is that of  a giant blob that reaches out with tentacles to snare the individual and pull him down into the colorless muck below.