Diversity, Acceptance, and Tolerance


These are great ideas that all people should aspire to integrate into their everyday lives.  Unfortunately, this will not happen according to some.  I want you to accept me and if you don’t then you are an evil, hateful, bigoted person.  I want us to be diverse in our group, as long as we are all the same in our group.  You need to be tolerant of my beliefs but I refuse to be tolerant to yours.

Where did we go wrong?  I was not raised a racist and I contend that I am not one.  However, some would surely contend that I am.  Why?  Because I am a white male, mid forties, successful, and going to, as well as exceeding, in college.  Although I have friends that are black, white, Asian, Indian, Hispanic, Pakistani, Hindu, Buddhists, Pagan, Muslim, homosexual, bi-sexual, and straight, I am a racist bigot.  And they are right.

Now look at yourself for a moment.  Do you belong to any groups that cater to one race?  Do you belong to a group that caters to certain groups according to race, disability, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, religion, or age?  Do you fly any flag other than the American flag?   Do you watch television shows or movies based on what race the movie portrays?  Does your post on social media reflect a single point of view on the issues?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you too are also a racist bigot.

I often find myself taking a double look at what I post to make sure that I am not putting anything out on my social media sites that is blatantly offensive.  However, I also know that regardless of what I post then someone will find it offensive or derogatory so I am doomed regardless.  If I show support for a country that experiences a terror attack, then others will point out that I didn’t support another attack on a different continent, even if I had and they missed the posts.

My point is that we are all in some way or another at different moments in time, racists bigots.  We all watch shows and movies that contain all white, all black, and Hindu, all Hispanic, all Muslim, all something or another but always inclusive.  We each support a specific race more than another such as African-American, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, and whites.  We all post views relative to causes that we believe in and are usually not open to a true dialogue about that particular issue.

Our problem is that we refuse to communicate or discuss ideas.  People today are easily offended over the slightest disagreement.  Everyone feels that they are being treated unfairly by someone else.  There is no mention at all of personal responsibilities in our daily lives.  Everyone is a winner and there are no losers.  People use scapegoats for their own failures in life.  People are scared to confront the big issues that affect us all because they may hurt someone’s feelings.

As a Marine I remember well my experience in boot camp and how the Drill Instructors used psychology when molding young men and women that would be sent off to war.  We hated them for thirteen weeks!  It was one of the most degrading periods in my life, and I wouldn’t change a thing about it today.  Those thirteen weeks finished molding me into the man I am today.  They taught me many things but the most valuable thing was the idea of personal responsibility not just for you but for your team and society as a whole.  Today the recruits get to hold up colored cards to take stress breaks.  College students, the ones soon to lead our country, are asking for safe spaces so that they don’t have to face the stress of conversation and discussions of their views.  Really?

Now is the time to put on our big boy and girls’ underwear and be adults.  Quit letting our children dictate their own lives.  Take responsibility for your actions and those of your non-adult children.  Drop the ethnic programs and become one as Americans.  Hold politicians accountable for their actions, or non actions more often than not.  Stop re-electing them just because of race but make them stand up for what you believe will make America, and you, stronger.    Quit listening to race baiters and put them out of business.  Quit pushing an outdated slavery idea that your life is controlled by actions that took place two-hundred years ago by people that you nor I have ever met or had anything to do with in our lifetimes.  Be your own person and quit letting mob mentality rule your life.  Be your own boss, make your own decisions and own them.  Love your neighbor as yourself and stop looking for flaws in them but look for the ways to love them.  Be sympathetic and compassionate towards the needs of those around you.

To understand how I can write this first you need to know a few things about me.  I have spent years tracing my ancestral roots farther than most people who complain about their lives based on their family history.  I am the grandson of a slave, Margaret Peggy Lawrence.  She was sold to a tobacco farmer, Tobias Phillips, for the crime of stealing bread in London.  Truth be told she was simply a Puritan.  At that time the Church of England was committing religious cleansing and finding ways to get rid of all Puritans in England territories.  Therefore, I am descended from the results of the rape of her and of her bearing two illegitimate children.  I also grew up in a very segregated town in Louisiana.   There was an actual railroad track that separated the blacks and the whites.  I was sure that the old saying, “the wrong side of the tracks,” came from someone living in that town.  However, I have not let that dictate how I treat others or how I expect to be treated.

I know my issues and I accept them.  I take full responsibilities for my actions at all times both good and bad.  I have had to call planes back to the squadron for not installing equipment correctly, even though there was no chance of it interfering with the flight or putting the aircrew at risk.  I knew that I would face consequences but, I screwed up and owned up.  I have submitted work to my instructor by mistake that was not mine.  I owned up, showed him my work and still recognized that I had screwed up.  I took my punishment, a full letter grade, and moved on learning from that mistake.  I said all of that to say this, now is the time to take responsibility for your own actions and teach your children to do the same.