The Joy of Diversity...and Hope

Saturday, January 21, 2012
As I've mentioned before, the community in which I live is not very diverse. The property values are high, the schools are excellent, and there's not much in the way of affordable housing. These things tend to conspire to make Parker a haven for conservative, middle class Whitey McWhiterson families. This has always bothered me about my community, as such homogeneous demographics mean our priorities as a community tend to be very narrow and structured. When the Smart Twins were participating in intramural sports, the teams and the spectators were a sea of white faces. White, white and more white. When my son played baseball one season, I don't recall a single child of color who played in his league. Same deal at the pool when my daughter took swimming lessons. We moved here because of the quality of the schools, but one of the requirements for our next home - our retirement home - was that the community needed to be more diverse.


But a funny thing happened on the way to the Parker Field House.

Saturdays are intramural sports day here in Parker. Depending on the season, the Field House (where I go to exercise) hosts indoor soccer, basketball, in-line hockey, lacrosse - pretty much whatever they can organize and support, including clinics. I enjoy watching the kids play as I lift, walk and use the arc trainer - especially the littlest kids (so cute). But I've noticed a change in the demographics in both the kids and spectators since last I spent time in those circles.

Some of the children - and their supporters - are people of color. And so are some of their coaches.

And this makes me very, very happy. Living in a diverse community makes me happy. Watching my community expand their perception of what constitutes the "Family of Man" makes me happy.

While realizing that this is spectacularly simplified view, I think one of the reasons the Tea Party and other beneficiaries of unearned privilege have so much trouble with our first black President is because they've simply never been exposed to cultures outside of their Whitey McWhiterson norm. If the only people you've ever been exposed to are "just like you," then expanding your view to include "outsiders" requires a leap of imagination and empathy that many people simply don't have. So they demonize and degrade, and fail to realize that you can disagree with someone's politics and policies without assuming their differences makes them worthy of hate.


I hope that the slow inclusion of people of color in my primarily white community will help to alleviate that attitude. People of color who may or may not believe in your god aren't "outsiders." They're Americans. Just like us.




8 comments:

Karen said...

Diversity is what made this country great. To suggest that someone or some group is inferior because they are 'not like us' is to deny them the dignity that we all deserve under this countrys laws. BTW,the picture you posted has already hit my facebook page three times so I am guessing this is hitting a nerve with the right people.

Anne C. said...

I once heard on a movie's commentary track, I think it was, a person say that he felt more comfortable or more at home on that particular movie set because everyone looked like him, same coloring, etc.
I have to admit that while I hear the words and understand that he's probably not the only one who feels that way, I do not experience that at all -- quite the reverse. While I grew up in an extremely white, rural setting, ever since I went to college and met people of many different colors and faiths, I have felt more comfortable when surrounded by diversity. This isn't something I remember being taught and I don't know where it came from, but it puzzles me exceedingly when others don't feel the same.

I saw a FB post decrying the lack of diversity in our food produce (seed variants) compared to 1908 and they put it very well. They said that when there is little diversity, we cut down on potential mutations and evolution. I think the same could be said for diversity of people. When we meet people who are different from us, new ideas and new combinations are possible where in a monoculture they are not.

Lack of diversity wigs me out.

D.K. Schwartz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DKS said...

This is what a indoctrinated white female sounds like circa 2012 in America. She thinks 1. non-Obama supporters are racist and 2. they would stop being such bad racists if these white people were exsposed to non-whites more (clearly if they spent more time in west chicago this would make them like blacks and diversity more and support affirmative action). No logic operating here. Just a brainwashed zombie repeating talking points. You've been brainwashed very well. Yes, you need to know the joys of diversity more. Such as "Beat Whitey Night" at the Iowa State fair. Trust me as a resident of Chicago, the muggings are very enriching. I personally can't wait till white Americans are minorities in America. I think that will be great. Diversity is a stregnth as London learned last summer. On a serious note, the diversity of ideas is much more intresting than the diversity of skin color. But your view of things has been guiding government immigration and other policy for 40 years so I hope you like your new America (wanna know what it will look like? Brazil).

Janiece said...

I'm indoctrinated! I'm brainwashed! I'm a ZOMBIE!

Hm...brainz!

::snort::

Seriously, DKS, what the hell is wrong with you that you would interpret a desire for a more diverse community (without sacrificing the rule of law) as something negative? Or is it just the encroachment of people of color into the traditionally white sphere that you consider negative? Tool.

Carol Elaine said...

DKS, if you are against diversity, leave the U.S. Because that's what America is all about - taking in those less fortunate so that they could have a fighting chance at having a better life. Chances are pretty damned good that a fair percentage of those less fortunate people aren't going to be lily white. Don't like that? Then you are welcome to leave this country. And may the door hit you very hard on the ass on your way out.

Also, you may have noticed that deleting a comment under your original sign-on doesn't delete that sign-on. You might want to be careful about that since a quick Google search reveals that you're just a 21 year vandal arrested in late 2011 for anti-immigration graffiti in Evanston, IL.

You ain't too bright there, DKS, so I'm certainly not inclined to take anything you say seriously. But you're young yet. Maybe you'll grow up some day.

Anne C. said...

How amusing.

Your post is about joy and happiness you feel seeing more diversity and DK Schwartz's comment amounts to "I hope you get diversity... then you'll see!" Um... yes, we do and... it's great. Thank you for playing?

Janiece said...

I told you - a complete tool, even before CE found out his dirty little secret.