Friday, January 8, 2010

Come On, Show a Little Diversity Why Don't Ya?

Diversity
(di-vur-si-tee)
noun, plural -ties
1. the state or fact of being diverse; difference; unlikeness
2. variety; mulitformity
3. a point of difference
(dictionary.com)

I received some very profound comments for this post. The sentiment of which was described by Wolf's words:
By the way, your life is very different from mine, and I don't mean by virtue of age. And yet I love reading you, how you think and what you process. And the wondrous commonalities among women - and mothers - are there. Those commonalities cross miles, lifestyles, belief systems, age and any number of other differences. If only we could build bridges to each other through open minds and shared experiences, rather than being divisive. Yes, I am a bit of a dreamer, I know...
I will return to Wolf's comment in a second. First, I want to discuss diversity. 

We are taught from our preschool years to embrace the individual. To accept those that are different from us. We learn about different cultures and the politically correct ways to refer to them. We remember to call Hispanics, Hispanic Americans and Blacks, African Americans. Among all these differences, could it be possible that we lost a sense of community?

All Things Common
Back to Wolf. She mentioned commonalities. Yes, we women struggle through the same things. We feel insecure in motherhood, in friendships, and in employment. We feel angry. We have awful days and good days.

After graduating from college, I became a full-time mom. I have used this blog as a sounding board for my frustrations, hurt, and joys. Unexpectedly, I have found a community of empathetic women.

This community is unique. It has brought together a smorgasbord of women. It has not only brought us together, but united us.

I think about Linda. A Jew. A fabulous mom who writes about the struggles of having teens.

I think about Wolf. A single mom, working to make ends meet.

I think about Charlotte. A mom of 6 kids and wife to a doctor.

I think about Kristen. A busy mom of 2 kids and full of wisdom.

I think about Aidan. An ivy league graduate. A mom. An author.

I think about Yvonne. A mom. A grandma. Someone who writes about her travels.

I think about Kimberly. A mother who, like me, just welcomed a new addition into her home.

I think about many others I have met in this vast on-line wilderness.

And, here we all are. We listen to each other. We don't think about our different religions. We don't dwell on our age differences (I am pretty sure I am the youngest of this group). And, we don't allow our differences to separate us. We recognize our similarities. We help each other through hard times.

We are diverse and we are similar. Rather than celebrating our differences, we celebrate our similarities. We laugh together. We cry together. Most importantly, we lift each other up.

We are women. Banded together, in the most unique fashion, seeking to find support.

Outside the Blog-o-Sphere
If we could expand this beyond the on-line community, think about what we could accomplish.

We would not use race, religion, or culture as a means of separation. We would recognize that we all have doubts. We all have trials. Days of sadness. Days when things seem to fall apart. We all have triumphs. Days when we are on top of the world. Days when nothing goes wrong.

Why do we celebrate diversity? Why do we not, instead, focus on building a world-wide community?

Kristen touched on this in her post, Jon Stewart, Sarah Palin, Judith Warner, and the Civility Gap. Rather than attacking, why not compromise. Why can't we see that we each make mistakes. We all have flaws. Can't we realize that without bringing attention to it? Can't we accept a person's idiosyncrasies without displaying contempt?

I know. Idealistic, right?

Yet....

We seem to do that just fine in this on-line community.

11 comments:

  1. Again, you are so wise. I think acceptance is something we all need to do--not turn a blind eye, but just love and accept people for who they are. It doesn't mean we have to embrace their ideas, but recognize we are all different (as you so beautifully wrote.

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  2. Amen, sister. You know I'm with you in wondering about this one. I wonder: is it possible that the fact that we come to know each other's human vulnerabilities here online helps us accept each other - warts, differing religions, varying politics, and all - in a way that is harder in the world offline?Thanks for the linky love. :)

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  3. Kelly @ The Miller MJanuary 8, 2010 at 3:55 AM

    I think the beauty of the blogosphere is exactly what Kristen pointed out. When people bare their souls for others, the walls that separate us come crashing down. I think there's an honesty and vulnerability that leads us to better perspective and understanding.

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  4. Thank you, Yvonne! Acceptance. Not tolerance. Isn't tolerance such a cruel word? I would rather love than "tolerate." Yes, we do not have to agree with people's choices, or political views, or even religious views, but we can still be friends. That is the heart of this issue.

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  5. You're so right, Ambrosia. Even though our external labels our different (age, religion, age of kids) how wonderful it is that we can read each other's words and learn from each other? We connect not because of what those external labels are but because of what we are at our core - human beings who struggle and who are yearning for connections.Thanks for mentioning me in your post!

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  6. I think you are right. In some ways focusing on our differences too much makes us overlook our commonalities. When I realized that most people were living their lives the best they knew how, all of us yearning to find meaning and happiness in our lives, I became a lot more accepting. Glimpsing people's lives through the lens of their own perspective, like we are able to do online, really helps bring down those walls.

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  7. I think it's amazing, the supportive voices I've discovered in the blogosphere. Who knew there were so many wonderful people out there?

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  8. This is truly lovely. One of the things that makes this possible - our appreciation of each other with all the diversity that exists among us - is taking time. As hurried as our daily lives are, we take the time to know each other, and we do so through our words.We are not judging directly or indirectly through appearance or other trappings that might separate us in the "real world." We're creating our own microcosm of a better "real world," one that moves more slowly even in our frantic pace as parents - and in all our other roles we juggle simultaneously.It's that time, that patience, that makes this work. And respect for others. Something else we all have in common. And most likely - our own mothers and fathers are to be thanked in some way, as models for that. I am delighted to have encountered you in this vast universe, and this strangely cozy neighborhood.

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  9. This is so true. I loved this post. It is why I spend so many hours on line, finding new friends, reading new thoughts. Really, I do it to find similarities so that I don't feel so alone like I do on so many days. As different as we all are, we are the same. We are looking for support, for a listening ear, for someone to laugh and cry with. I celebrate what I've found here every day (even if no one in my real life life gets it!).

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  10. I somehow fell behind on my reading and came here to find these wonderful words of wisdom. I would much rather love than tolerate. I would much rather accept than deny. You are onto something here, Ambrosia.

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  11. Blogging and sharing is great. And no, you're not being too idealistic (is there such a thing? Can one be accused of believing too much what one believes?).But I am otherwise the voice of dissent on this post. It is the post of a woman with an education, living in a developed nation, with all kinds of resources at her fingertips. It is a post that in some ways is very specific to your culture. You might ask yourself, who are the women who never get to read my blog, or post to their own blogs, to tell their stories? Another dimension on acceptance and tolerance might appear, then. Some of the stories might have you outraged beyond all possibility of tolerance. Is it hard to tell the difference between smiling acceptance, and apathy? What makes the difference, then? Is it what we do? What do we do?I'm not attempting to bait, shock, ruffle or be divisive. My comment is what I thought of when I read your post. I read Gogo Mama, by Sally Sara, and would recommend it to all women who can obtain a copy. I can be happy with idealistic, but not simplistic.

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