more diversity, please

Feb 25, 2010 by

*you’ll have to excuse the seemingly converse nature between my last post on target’s fineries and a post today with thoughts on race and ethnicity in america. although i may seem schizophrenic or batty, i must remind and assure you that this blog represents my mind and it’s many wanderings, for better or worse :)
in asking you all what you wanted to hear about from me next (okay, this was a LONG time ago now. months. better late than never?), it was unamimous that i must talk more about the “john legend” experience. or my ramblings on diversity, my obsession with culture and ethnicity, my affinity for black people, my desire to some day foster (and hopefully adopt) children that don’t look like mine, and the fact that even just writing that makes me worry that it’s already such a white person thing to say. and that i already sound weird or ignorant.
so first- a disclaimer post (and tomorrow, we’ll talk more about babies and fostering and the such):
i love diversity. and by love, i mean adore. my fear in writing is that my posts on this topic may not come across the way i want them to. or maybe they will. but i am going to write anyway, because my heart demands it and so do you. i do not, however, want to trivialize or understate the overwhelming issues that we face in this world in light of culture, race, and ethnicity.
there is a lot of hate in this world.
there are people who hate african americans for being black and white people because they live in trailer parks. people don’t see others the way God sees them. people compartmentalize other people because it makes us feel safe. what i’m attempting to say is what’s in my heart, which is that my love…is for everyone (my problem might be that i like white people less and tiny afros more), and i don’t care about country of origin or color of skin. equality is equality. i don’t want people treating me a certain way because i’m a woman and i don’t want people to think i’m stupid because i have blonde hair, AND i don’t want people to stereotype how i see other cultures because i’m white, either. i mean…REALLY?!

in my opinion, the trouble is that our country is just…young. and ignorant. the united states is like a teenager who thinks they know everything, knows what’s right for everyone, and can’t do any wrong. that’s why so many countries hate our guts. i mean, who likes teenagers (i mean that with love, teenyboppers)? there is so much baggage we still carry in 2010 as a result of how we’ve treated other people in our country, and what i want to know is why it can still feel premature or wrong to say we’re all equal, even though we are. i feel like we are, but i try to see people how God sees them. and i’m white. which is not saying that because i’m white, i don’t think there is inequality and i don’t think there’s racism- because i do, and there is. i just don’t condone it or participate in it or agree with it or see any need for it as a white person. i tend to feel like no one wants to hear about oppression or racism from a white girl because frankly, i’m not up against racism and hatred like so many other cultures and races are. so many of us have it SO easy. heck, christians aren’t even persecuted anymore! no one’s banging my door down and killing me for going to church. i mostly wish i wasn’t white, so i wouldn’t have to feel so absurdly awful about the way my ancestors treated other humans. (way to go crusaders, awesome job bringing Christ to the world, by the way.)

i stole this quote from my cousin daina’s blog, who lives in and writes of her experience living in jinotenga, nicaragua:

“homogeneity is sometimes mundane, other times a stimulus for prejudice.”
i love this thought, and it’s so true. how can we live in such a diverse part of the world and desire homogeneity? this is america- we’re the melting pot, we’re the place where freedom rings, where opportunity knocks. except we look through the peephole first because we’re a bunch of haters (i’m using “we” loosely, here. i mean the generally “we”). i think we should fight the kind of assimilation that encourages people to take on american names or forget their culture’s practices or holidays. that’s whack.
and i want to be part of a generation who sees past color and background and class and status and just sees people. people who have feelings, who have desires, who have families, who have lives that are being lived simultaneously to ours. i celebrate differences. i WANT differences. we NEED differences. not just in culture and ethnicity, either. in mind and opinion, too. we were designed to live in harmony, at peace with one another, but our sin and our greed and our hatred and our ambition have gotten in the way. acceptance is what we need. judgement is not.
straight up, all we need is love. the beatles were totally right. and for real? i love me some non-white babies. we’ll talk more about that tomorrow :)
i leave you with this: i recently read that “cultural diversity is a driving force of development, not only in respect of economic growth, but also as a means of leading a more fulfilling intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual life.”
what do you guys think? i want your thoughts!
ALL OF THEM. NOW!

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4 Comments

  1. Jessi

    My thoughts: I love this. I have the same feelings. No matter what, we will be adopting at some point in the future and I've always longed to be able to express unity in our family – no matter how different all of us are, but any different standard. I love this.

  2. Leigh

    Oh how I love this post. I could write a comment that goes on forever but I will just make a few quick points:
    1. I wish more people thought like you do.
    2. I really thought racism was dying out until we decided to adopt two beautiful African babies. I thought racist were only old or uneducated ingnornant people, I was terribly wrong. We lost friends because they could not support us adopting black children…that's hard to even type. I could and might write a whole post on that.
    3. Celebrating differences is the greatest gift you can give your children, biochildren or adopted children.
    4. This might be one of my most favorite posts ever.

  3. lizziegal20

    Friend, you took the words right out of my mouth! This is the main reason that I moved to my neighborhood: to me it is the quintessential definition of diversity. As a social worker I, unfortunately, see and hear people's discriminatory thoughts or actions almost everyday, and it saddens me. But it won't stop my passion and desire to soak up all that I can of other cultures and races. I agree with Leigh, "this might be one of my most favorite posts ever." :)

  4. suzannah @ so much shouting/laughter

    it's funny you should post this today, because i've been mulling over race issues, too, and crafting a post in my head.

    we all need to stop being scared to talk about race and pretending differences don't exist, because that is where confusion and prejudice thrive.