Diversity’s Braid

Each Thread Eliminating the *

By Jorge D. H. Prósperi

Diversity exists! It exists in a plethora of unquestionable and unequivocal living examples that are part and parcel of our history as human beings. Diversity and its threads, knowingly, unknowingly, accepted or unaccepted, is a reality that will continue to be. The threads of Diversity are intrinsically and extrinsically connected to our universe and humanity. Exploration and discourse of its layers, depths and breadth are but affirmations of its existence and impact on the human condition. To deny it is as futile as denying gravity.

Given that Diversity is real and connected to every aspect of our lives, why is there such angst, anxiety and discomfort when Diversity is mentioned?  Why the socio-personal unease when the concept surfaces? Why the increasing fear and discomfort in the 21st Century given the rise of Diversity world wide? Why at the mention of Diversity do people run to their neutral corners – that tend not to be so neutral?

The answer is embedded in the highly complex history of the United States. Wish that it would be as easy as celebrating the 4th of July. The genesis of this country begins with a constructed paradox underscoring the well intended Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights. These documents declare respect and protections for inalienable rights – sacrosanct tenets of equality, liberty, quality of life, pursuit of happiness and justice – but there was an egregious glitch – an asterisk next to inalienable * (only for some – not for others).

“Houston we have a problem!” Women, natives, slaves and immigrants were excluded – not deemed equal. Truncated Race Science (Eugenics) was unleashed to legitimize oppression  and substantiate the living paradox. Let’s face it, fostering inhumanity on a daily basis, separating families at will, enslaving at will, lynching at will, denying basic human rights at will, genocide of native people at will, degrading womanhood as a preexisting condition at will required some justification! Lest we forget… “We hold theses truths to be self evident that all men are created equal.” Oh, oh! “Houston, the problem is bigger than we thought!”

It was not only a problem but a cataclysmic dilemma. As Barbara Fields posited, “Bondage does not need justifying as long as it seems to be the natural order of things. You need a radical affirmation of bondage only where you have a radical affirmation fo freedom.” Amen Doctor Fields, Amen!

Blatant, eventually subtle inequality and its trauma, needed to be normalized, socialized and politicized. Polarization would be marketed via metanarratives – overarching broad and extreme assumptions and notions of superiority by way of nationalism and nativism disguised as patriotism. Difference and otherness were demonized and thought to be antithetic to what it meant to be an American – not just an average American – but a REAL American!

Fear, isolation, ignorance and delusional notions of supremacy became part of the nation’s DNA – divide and conquer rather than include – obstruct rather than collaborate – delude rather than illuminate – disparage rather than embrace – centralize power and control rather than empower others – preserve separateness. Create fear for difference, pigmentation, gender, religion, sexual orientation, regionality, ethnicity, immigration – all reasons to keep people from uniting and discovering their shared humanity. When logic, reason, critical thinking, research, facts and even video footage pointed to the truth – pathologically repeat the “BIG LIES” in order to keep the * alive. When all baseless talking points fail, blame it on Political Correctness – deflect and deny at will.

The politicization of Diversity has led to the very word causing pause to deliberate on its merits and connections to the human condition. It has limited awareness and comprehension by creating confusion, anxiety and fear blocking pathways to understanding, tolerance and empathy. Politicization has led to polarization, not because “Washington is broken!” – another metanarrative. The reasons for the divisiveness is not represented by one leader and/or one political party, but the historical forces that paved the way for those who still believe in the *.

Let’s admit in the raw that a segment of the American population voted with blind faith to “Make America Oppressed Again!” Let’s also admit with raw candor that for many that vote was a vote to keep the * alive.

Sorry, but the Mueller Report nor impeachment will eliminate the *. That life-long relentless journey of advocacy for social justice, equity, decency and civility within the threads of authenticity, dignity and integrity of citizenship, is left up to us – each of us – every single day.

As once oppressed voices from the past remind, “chains and shackles * sun up to sundown * no auction block for me.”