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Ethnicity • Posted: Mar 24, 2009 21:14:17Comments WelcomeVote CoolPhotoblogsPurchase a PrintShare

So sad the fear, loathing, and hatred some feel confronting people different from themselves. I will never understand their desire for every single person to resemble themselves or people they already know. How dreary the world would be if it were so: so bland, so uninteresting, so plain and predictable.

I had occasion recently to visit a neighborhood in Chicago where my grandmother used to live, where my mother grew up. Their house was still there, and so was the church where both my parents and my aunt and uncle were married. And so too was the bakery I used to visit so long ago, still filled with wonderfully fascinating treats of deep ethnic origin.

A new generation of immigrants have recently come from Eastern Europe to repopulate that old neighborhood, walk its streets and parks, warm its homes with hope and laughter, and struggle to grind out a life of peace and prosperity, just as my grandmother and her generation did nearly a century before.

And ten blocks from that neighborhood is yet another with equally rich ethnicity, and ten blocks blocks from that another and another and another. And the borders between are not marked by violence and bloodshed. On the contrary, the borders are crossed with delight and fascination. The borders are kept, but for the most part the differences are treasured and savored and nourished with encouragement.

I try to listen with open mind to those who are afraid of such differences, to their predictions of chaos and calamity, of perils that will come with dilution of values, loss of importance, influence, and power. But all I hear is a blurring and smearing of facts to fit blind purposes, and a complete failure to appreciate the flowering richness of opportunity for growth offered by the experience of diversity.

If only they'd look, the lessons of nature can hardly be interpreted as anything but that diversity is the pathway to wealth beyond imagining for all who participate, and that frustrating diversity offers nothing other than a deeply impoverished dying planet.

Is there no way to open their fearful and misjudging minds to the compelling truth they fail to see or understand?

Saturday, March 14th, 2009