Tag Archives: diversity

Hate = Ugly – Unity = Beauty

There is nothing more ugly than division and hate for each other with the exception of those who promote it for personal gain. One day they will have to stand before the creator and justify the unjustifiable. 

There is nothing more beautiful than unity and compassion for each other. Blessings shall be showered unto those of us who who practice it. For we all God’s children regardless of what we may look like.

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What Does it Mean to be American

What does it mean to be American. It means you are part of a diverse community that includes individuals of different races, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, religious beliefs and a host of other differences. That we embrace those differences so together we become greater than the sum of all us. That we educate ourselves on each other’s differences so we may be better understand our fellow Americans. That we rebuke those who believe in dividing us by stoking the prejudices and fears that innately resides in each of us so they can enhance their own power and wealth. That we reject the notion that preaching uniformity will make America great again, as if the continued diversification of this great land made us not great.  That we dismiss those who believe we should isolate ourselves from others instead of showing compassion for those who are suffering from other countries. That we do not simply quote the words All Men are Created Equal but that we actively live them. It is in the melding of each one of us into society as a whole and the embrace of that philosophy that makes us American.

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We are all Human

Some of us are republicans some democrats and some independents. Some of us are people of color some of us are not. Some of us are heterosexual some homosexual some bisexual.  Some of us Christian some Muslim some Jewish some atheists and a hosts of other beliefs. In the end we are all American and most importantly we are all humans.

In some of us thete is often a fear of the unknown, an irrational fear that leads to isolation. Isolation leads to a lack of knowledge and understanding about those that are different from us and if history has taught us anything it is that a lack of knowledge often leads to disastrous results. It also can lead to the continuous growth of the prejudices we all have with-in us. Those prejudices are stripped away as we begin to understand those who differ from us. However for those who remain isolated those prejudices remain and can be easily stoked by people in power who do so for the goal of advancing their wealth and power. These individuals thrive on chaos and division. They speak non truths and keep the people divided against each other rather than uniting for the betterment of mankind as a whole.  They want us to be afraid of each other, they want us to hate each other, they want us to lose our compassion for each other, they want us to build walls to separate us. This strategy allows them to take advantage of us all. As Suzy Kassem wrote

When two brothers are busy fighting, an evil man can easily attack and rob their poor mother.

We must strive as Americans and humans to rise above the evil that seeks to divide us.  We must stand together and keep moving forward as a society. We must marginalize those who refuse to embrace diversity. For in unifying one voice into many voices we will be able to change the despair of today into the promise of tomorrow and from that we all will be better.

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Diversity it’s what makes America great

The 2018 FIFA World Cup has ended with France as the winner.  During the Cup there were bars all over America packed with Americans proudly rooting on their country of national origin. Throughout Americans proudly celebrate their heritage. For example Italians proudly represent  Italy through their food among other things. Mexicans do the same with Mexico and of course the Irish show their pride on St. Patrick day. As with the St. Patrick day parade all major cities have numerous parades and celebrations throughout the year. In NYC alone there is the West Indian day carnival, Greek Independence Day parade, National Tartan Day Parade which celebrates the day of Scotland’s day of independence, Chinese New Year festival and many others.  This diversity is really what has made America great. As Martin Luther King Jr. stated.
“  individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”
Diversity isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength it Is the signature of America, people of all cultures rising above their own concerns to create, innovate and overcome obstacles to move this country forward. America is at its best when it seeks out diverse points of view, and looks for new insights.
Yet today there is a growing sediment among a segment of America who want to rebuke this diversity. Their weakness is the desire to surround themselves with people who look and think like them. Afraid to learn about other races and cultures rather content to remain isolated and stoke their own prejudices based on a fear of the unknown.  As Captain Kirk said
 The prejudices people feel about each other disappear when they get to know each other.”  
This fear of diversity and is counter to the ideal of what America was meant to be. Right at the beginning of America’s Declaration of Independence these words are written“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”  The key word is All not some. Not only those from (insert country) or sexual orientation or cultural background and while this country has at many times struggled to live up to those words it has embraced them enough to make it the country it is today. We must continue to move forward with the concept of diversity not step back and isolate ourselves. For Isolation only leads to a society that stifles creativity and innovation and eventually withers away and dies.
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The lessons Star Trek continue to teach us

America today seems to be more divided than ever. Hate for anything that is different from you is at an all time high.  The current administration stokes this fire with a message of division. The exact opposite of what has made this country great, the contributions of so many from so many different races and cultures  It is done so they can enrich themselves and maintain their power.  They are skilled at tapping into your inner prejudices and making you believe they are on your side but the truth is the only side they are on is their own.  As always this situation can best be summed up from the lessons Star Trek continues to teach us.

1. Why the current president strategy of division among people so he may maintain his power is flawed.

The prejudices people feel about each other disappear when they get to know each other.
– Captain Kirk

2. How unity and not division is stronger for all of us

I am pleased to see that we have differences.
May we together become greater than the sum of both of us.
-Surak of Vulcan

3. Why our current President view of himself is flawed

Believing oneself to be perfect is often the sign of a delusional mind.
-Data, to Borg Queen

4. The strategy of our current President believes in maintaining power

Evil does seek to maintain power by suppressing the truth, or by misleading the innocent.
-Spock and McCoy

5. How many of the innocent who voted for our current feel today

After a time, you may find that “having” is not so pleasing a thing, after all, as “wanting.” It is not logical, but it is often true.
-Spock

6. Why the thinking of many who defend the current president simply because he has an (R) after his name or are afraid of losing votes from his base is wrong

You cannot explain away a wantonly immoral act because you think it is connected to some higher purpose.
– Captain Picard

7. What the president walk-back of his statements in Russia showed us about him

It would seem that evil retreats when forcibly confronted
-Yarnek of Excalbia,

8. Why we must act as a people not as republicans or democrats

Without followers, evil cannot spread.
-Spock

9. Why we must act now both republicans, democrats and independents

Act, and you shall have dinner; wait, and you shall be dinner.
-Gowron, Klingon proverb

They Don’t Really Care About Us

January 21,2009 an Barack Obama an African American took the oath of President of the United States of America and many declared the end of racism. But after watching that man, despite his grace and dignity, attacked for eight years straight. After watching that man have to prove he was an American. After watching the man who led the charge to discredit his citizenship ride a way of hate and division to the White House in 2016 and his appointment of Jeff Sessions who immediately took up the task of rolling back gains made in the battle for racial equality. After seeing case after case of police brutality go unpunished. After seeing people march through Charlottesville chanting racial epithets it’s clear racism was never over. It was simply simmering underground waiting for the right person and the right time to show itself again. Don’t misunderstand as a country we have made strides and we are clearly in a better place now but we still have a long road ahead of us and there can be no doubt that there is a segment of the population, many who wield power, that really don’t care about us.

I am the victim of police brutality, now
I’m tired of bein’ the victim of hate
You’re rapin’ me of my pride
Oh, for God’s sake
I look to heaven to fulfill its prophecy…
Set me free

Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback, the Cleveland, Ohio, police officers involved in the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in 2014, were not charged.
Daniel Pantaleo, the New York City police officer who held Eric Garner in a chokehold before his death in 2014, was not charged.

Some things in life they just don’t wanna see
But if Martin Luther was livin’
He wouldn’t let this be

Sept. 22, 2017 Trump called on all NFL owners to “fire” all protesting players . The president also referred to the protesting players as “sons of bitches.”

October 31, 2017 Papa John’s CEO and founder slammed the NFL, blaming the league’s “poor leadership” on the pizza chain’s sales slump. “We are totally disappointed that the NFL and its leadership did not resolve the ongoing situation

Beat me, hate me
You can never break me

1967 – World champion boxer Muhammad Ali used his worldwide star power to take a stand against the Vietnam War by refusing to enlist in the military.

1968 – After winning gold in the 200-meter sprint at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, Tommie Smith raised his fist in the air alongside his teammate and bronze medalist, John Carlos. As Smith explained to ABC Sports announcer Howard Cosell, “My raised right hand stood for the power in black America. Carlos’ raised left hand stood for the unity of black America. Together they formed an arch of unity and power.”

2014 – NBA teams broke dress code rules to protest police brutality, wearing “I Can’t Breathe” shirts during warm-ups. The shirts referenced the last words of Eric Garner before he died at the hands of a police officer in Staten Island.

Beat me, bash me
You can never trash me
Hit me, kick me
You can never get me

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., May 3 1963- Fire hoses and police dogs were used here today to disperse Negro students protesting racial segregation.

Selma, Ala., March 7 1965 – Alabama state troopers and volunteer officers of the Dallas County sheriff’s office tore through a column of Negro demonstrators with tear gas, nightsticks and whips here today to enforce Gov. George C. Wallace’s order against a protest march from Selma to Montgomery. At least 17 Negroes were hospitalized with injuries and about 40 more were given emergency treatment for minor injuries and tear gas effects.

Tell me what has become of my rights
Am I invisible because you ignore me?
Your proclamation promised me free liberty, now
I’m tired of bein’ the victim of shame

When these are the institutions that govern us, when black life is disposable, when black bodies are guilty before and after being proven innocent, when there is no recourse for injustice or even a belief that injustice has been done, when these institutions actively work to push inequality, we are dealing with something much more dangerous than a personal beef with blackness. – Mychal Denzel Smith the New York Times-bestselling author of Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching

The 2016 election was also marked by low turnout, with tens of millions of eligible voters choosing not to participate at all. Yet there has been relatively little discussion about the millions of people who were eligible to vote but could not do so because they faced an array of newly-enacted barriers to the ballot box.  Their systematic disenfranchisement was intentional and politically motivated. In the years leading up to 2016, Republican governors and state legislatures implemented new laws restricting when, where, and how people could vote — laws that disproportionately harmed students, the poor, and people of color. In several instances, lawmakers pushing such policies said explicitly that their goal was suppression of voters who favor the Democratic Party.

All I wanna say is that
They don’t really care about us
All I wanna say is that
They don’t really care about us

While most of the examples in this post were of African Americans all people of color suffer from the effects of racism and discrimination   While those in the LGBT community also deal with discrimination every day.  It’s November, election season, if you’re not registered go out and get registered.  Protest and calls for equality are nice but only when our voices are heard at the voting booths can we really make a difference to those who really don’t care about us

Lyrics in italics from Michael Jackson’s They Don’t Really Care About Us

Today our difference divide us – Perhaps tomorrow they will be our strength.

I am pleased to see that we have differences.
May we together become greater than the sum of both of us.

-Surak of Vulcan

I am the child of Charles and Frances Cooke two African-Americans born in the early 1900s in the southern part of the United States. As such I have always identified myself as African-American and from time to time was reminded of this by society. From being chased out of a park while being called a nigger when I was 10, having a police officer point a gun at my head when I was 15 simply because I made the mistake of tossing a football around the yard of a white friend who lived in the suburbs, to being pulled over numerous times in my early 20s despite not fitting the “profile” because as kind of a nerd I normally had on penny loafers with argyle socks and matching sweater but my skin color was still the wrong shade.

While my self identification is the result of being raised, loved, and natured by two exceptional individuals who themselves were also African-American I am also adopted, a fact that was kept hidden from me until my late 30s. I know nothing of my biological father other than the fact that he wasn’t African-American. Recently I completed one of those DNA test and found out I was in fact 54.6% Sub-Saharan African and 43.9% European. Interesting I thought as I looked at my results how many of those Europeans had looked at me and seen just the color of my skin and thought of me as inferior? How many of them don’t look like me but have a similar ancestry? Does it really matter what my ancestry is? Does it define how I should live my life?

Our ancestry defines our culture and to a large extend our culture is a leading factor in defining who we are. But while it is a leading factor it does not change the fact that we are all human. Humans with differences but humans nevertheless. It is our differences that If embraced instead of feared would in fact make us stronger as a species. The sun, Earth’s primary source of energy, emits white light but that white light is actually a composite of all of the visible frequencies of light. Without the differences all the colors bring there would be no light at all. So is the case with the human species? Where would we be without our many differences? How would we advance and grow without the varied contributions of so many cultures?

The question before us now is how do we begin to embrace our differences as a species when our entire existence shows we let those differences divide us. Seemingly there is no answer to that. Man has always fostered a sense of loyalty rooted in group identity. We pit race against race, religion against religion, prejudice against prejudice. Divide and conquer has always been mankind’s rallying call. I am pessimistic about our ability to overcome the us versus them mentality in the short term. However I am optimistic that the human is a very promising species and as Captain Jean Luc Picard once said “inside you is the potential to make yourself better…and that is what it is to be human. To make yourself more than you are.” Today our difference divide us perhaps tomorrow we will be better and our differences will be our strength.