Shades of Many Colours – Our Diversity is Our Strength: Why are You the Way You are?
Indeed, people are shades of many colours. And remember, multiple colours, well put together, carry a shade of beauty and admiration. This is how people are. People are diverse and are different. We can’t all be the same. Isn’t it said that variety is the spice of life?
Look around you and see the variety in the natural world. Nature itself has diversity vested in it. We see this in the physical shape of people and things, variety of colours, characteristics, properties, features and even in their usefulness. So, why would people be different? We are part of the natural world and we share in its diversity.
More interestingly for humans, nature puts diversity in us and so does social factors (generalized to mean, whatever factors connects you to another human being). Social factors here include economic factors, culture, religion, choice of associations, and the likes.
The major challenges we face in our world today are around issues of diversity. You are black, I am white. You are American, I am Nigerian. You are Chinese, I am from North Korea. You are Pakistani, I am from Isreal. You are Spanish, I want to be from Catalan. Besides diversity in nationality, other diversities include colour, races, tribes, ethnicity, social associations, religions, sexual orientation, professions/careers, ideologies, philosophies and cultural beliefs and practices.
From time when humans existed, they have had to deal with such diversities. They have had to agree on or sort out ways to blend these ‘different-ness’ and see how best to live harmoniously with one another. Values like peace, unity, justice, and respect have come to the fore.
Such values are exercised through respect for fundamental basic rights, dialogue, equitable distribution of resources, establishment of societal laws and international laws, enforcement of laws and other ways of managing the diversity that humans carry with them. This is usually a huge and important task for any community of persons, and on a larger scale, for any national or international government.
However, let’s not look at this on that very large scale. This is because every big outcome begins with an individual or group of persons. As an individual, what is honestly your outlook and attitude towards diversity? For instance, do you automatically side-line and dislike a person just because he or she is of a different tribe? Different religion? Different social class? This happens all the time, but is that your style?
In this piece, I would like to appeal to your heart on how you speak and behave towards persons who have some differences from you. She is not from your tribe, so she does not fit into your clique. Such person is automatically alienated. Or perhaps he does things in ways that are different from how you want things done, rather than a dialogue over it, that person is regarded as ‘an alien’ to be persecuted. This happens, but is that your style?
This person is a non-party member, so he or she is automatically an enemy. This person must be derided, castigated, belittled and his/her character smeared. Are you one of those who have a mentality of “we and they”; “You are either for us or against us”. Really? Do I really have to be on your side to be respected and accepted by you? This abhors the beauties inherent in the diversity that humans are. This is being narrow-minded and naïve. You find that such persons tend to behave like it is they who know better than you do. They tend to stand on a pedestal telling you how you should be behaving and doing things.
Here, we are not saying that there is no space for group formation, circle of friends, clubs and associations of like-minded persons. The point is that even with such group exclusivity, it is important to ensure that this is an exclusivity that still respects and recognizes the right of other persons to be, to live, to speak their mind and to allow them bear responsibility for their own actions. Every choice has its responsibilities and demands. If I choose not to be part of your group, please respect my choice and do not see me as an enemy. Well, if you do, I take no responsibility over that.
(To be continued – on Part 2)
- Linda Ellah
Please See Related Post: Believe Your Destiny