Strength In Diversity
a myth created in Washington
The two young ladies shown here make a pretty clear statement about diversity in America, but does anyone see strength there? Some might have missed the extreme examples of how different cultures, ethnic groups, and religions have failed to get along with each other, in certain parts of the World for the past few hundred years, but those of us who stayed awake during high school world history class, even for a short time, know that the idea of strength coming from diversity is total nonsense.
In contrast, the homogenous composition of countries like Japan, Norway, and until recently Sweden, are good examples of how social harmony often flourishes without it. Scandinavian countries are known for their extraordinarily high taxes, which is tolerable by the citizenry because people feel responsible for their fellow citizens. Why do they feel “responsible”? Because they are alike in so many ways – they share common values and traditions.
Unfortunately, this is changing recently in Europe following the uncontrolled influx of “aliens” from Africa and the Middle East, and that signals more of the kind of problems that have already existed in Great Brittan, America, and elsewhere. France, Great Brittan, and Belgium in particular are extremely vulnerable to internal strife and lawlessness, due almost entirely to emigrant populations that have not been assimilated into the native population. No one needs a reminder of how the “Melting Pot” of the USA has been struggling with assimilating African-Americans for 200 years with a glaring lack of success.
The word xenophobia, taken from ancient Greek, simply refers to “stranger fearing” individuals. That elegant-sounding name for an aversion to unfamiliar persons came to us in printed English in the late 19th century and only until very recently has it taken on a derogatory connotation in the political discourse. Xenophobia is not a bad thing. It is not a learned behavior or evidence of evil intent. It is not some foreign pathogen that invades our spirit. It is an essential element of the human condition that must be understood and reckoned with. If we continue to ignore and deny it, we should expect the unfortunate consequences to continue. Because we see differences in those around us does not mean that we cannot accommodate those differences. But the differences need to be carefully delineated and understood from both sides, and the accommodation needs to be a two-way street, which is where we will begin the discussion.
In the essays and anecdotes that follow, we will discuss some examples including chopping up and reconfiguring Eastern Europe and the Middle East to suit the wishes of the victors of WWI, with little or no regard for the ethnic, cultural, and religious differences of the people. The results of course have been disastrous. Then we will look at some ideas about how we can put aside “the myth” and work on the melding of the diversity for a common cause [i]In the literal sense, not the organization necessarily, even though its charter seems to be consistent.