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D L Johnson

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Being open to diversity
by D L Johnson   
Rated "PG" by the Author.
Last edited: Friday, May 28, 2010
Posted: Friday, May 28, 2010

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While jotting down ideas and making notes about an upcoming discussion group that I will be leading on Being open to diversity, I discovered that I had written the following-dlj

Being open to diversity
Dan Johnson
© 2010
 

Being open to diversity:
Being open to diversity is another way of saying: I am willing to put my biases aside…but wait, we’re adults here, am I saying we still hold a wide range of biases?
 

That is an interesting premise, so let’s take a moment to look and see, that if in this day and age, do we still believe; gays are perverts, blacks are inferior, Jews are money grubbing thieves, conservatives are war mongers and liberals just want to sit around the campfire and sing Koombiya.
 

Do we still hold on to the bias of hate, discrimination, intolerance, or even worse, the things we don’t understand?
 

I remember my mom use to say; ‘I don’t mind Negroes, Japanese, or Koreans, as long as they don’t live next door to me…’ but her world was rocked when my brother was stationed in Thailand during the Viet Nam War. He married a Thai woman who barely spoke English, and on top of that she had three children… When mom learned that her first husband had been a pilot and an officer in the Thai Air Force, and that he had been shot down by the North Vietnamese Army. She then saw her daughter-in-law and her grandchildren in a whole new light. By the time mom met her new extended family, my brother had seen that the children not only learned English, but they were taught German and Spanish because he was stationed in these countries after he adopted the children. His attitude was that if they were going to be strangers in a strange land, they needed to know how to communicate, to be better understood. Well, mom started singing a different song after that.
 

My dad would say that ‘to each his own’ but he’d be damned if any of his children would end up one of those pansy faggots, prancing about like little fairies, One day after having too many beers, and feeling no pain, he told me that he did not think I was growing up tall and ‘straight,’ he said to me, ‘you’re nothing more than a little fag, a disgusting little fag,’ but then I asked him if it would make him feel better if I pranced about like a fairy. My youthful attempt at humor only added fuel to his fire of hate and bigotry because he got loud and verbally violent, but he was never physically abusive to me, he saved that horrible tragedy for my sister.
 

What neither one of them realized, as well as many other parents, for that matter, was that they were planting seeds in our young minds, that if you were not white, middle class, straight and protestant, you did not have a place at the table.
 

We were not alone, this was a strange time in history, and they were unwittingly raising a generation of children with the idea that their attitudes would be our attitudes. Their prejudices would be our prejudices, and their misery would be our misery. In order for these collective biases to change it required a need for us to take a look at where we have been, and is this where we want to go? Many of us said no, and that required making a change.
 

You can change your socks. That is easy. You can change a light bulb, unless you live in a building like mine, where they pay someone to change the bulb, but the hardest thing for us humans to change is our attitudes. Once we figure out how to do that, life becomes much easier.
 

Do I still have certain biases? Yes, I admit it; I cannot stand broccoli, asparagus or Brussels sprouts, although I am becoming more tolerant of spinach. I prefer creamy style peanut butter over chunky style and I have an even harder time getting along with people that live in a world of closed minds.
 

I have learned a great deal about myself, and more importantly I have come to a point of self discovery that, I know I’m not straight, i have known that for many years. I’m fine with who I am. I am not wealthy, but I’m happy with my lot in life. Most of all, I know this is an imperfect world, so in order for me to survive if I can get along with myself, I can also say that I like Negroes, Japanese and Koreans and I welcome them to my neighborhood. Some of my best friends are gay, lesbian, or transgendered, they are, tall, short, skinny, fat, funny, not so funny, deeply intelligent, happy in a simplistic life, in fact just like you and me, everyone is just human, down to our bones. With that we are all the same, we all exist on this same planet for just a little time, don’t you think we should make the best of it?
 

 

 

 

 


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Reviewed by Regis Auffray 7/13/2011
This is wonderfully expressive and meaningful, Dan. Thank you. Love and peace to you,

Regis
Reviewed by Brook Griffin 6/8/2010
I find your essay very beautifull, succint, and extremely endearing and sincere....It is true we must struggle to transcend the bigotries and negative biases either inherited from our folks, the media, or some other social entity....in my book I have a similiar chapter (smile) A Tale of Two Cities: Distinct but Similiar where I compare my life and that of the late Allen Ginsberg and ultimately make the case for building upon our similarities rather than passively allowing our differenes to divide us....goood job for Johnson
Reviewed by m j hollingshead 6/7/2010
thought provoking read
Reviewed by Jon Willey 5/29/2010
"who you are is where you were when" -- those are the words and thoughts on how our personalities develop as taught by a university professor from I believe, Utah,(this is testing my memory a bit) Morris Massey -- professor Massey said that we are all made people, value programmed, by the age of eight unless we subsequently experience a significant emotional event, death of a loved one, win a great prize of notoriety, etc. -- either a positive or negative event, after the age of eight -- so all of our exposure, our environment in the first eight years of our life determine our fears, prejudices, religious beliefs, our values -- these are our value programming years -- a powerful thought when you analyze, "who you are, is where you were when" -- good article D.L. -- thanks for sharing -- diversity is often confused when there are conflicting principles or beliefs, cognitive dissonance -- may peace and love be always with you my friend -- Jon Michael
Reviewed by Patrick Granfors 5/29/2010
People, simply, is people. Patrick
Reviewed by Sage Sweetwater 5/28/2010
OUTstanding! On this day if history is to be celebrated, Celebrate as coming out, Dan. It's a public roster and you're on it as speaking out. The importance of this article Being open to diversity is so significant in contemporary society. Here evolves a coherence toward the betterment of society. Out of struggle emerges a strong opinion geared toward opening minds through diversity that reach beyond the narrow confines of time and place. This article is highly elemental and moves off the page in so that it may go into collective memory in ideal movement toward the community. It's a stigmata of the void, the fruitful interaction between man and man, woman and woman, man and woman, man and nature, woman and nature. A save, a salvage never to block the agenda and agency of diversity's agencies...well-written. You sum up the essence implied, Dan...good work.

Love,
Sage
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