The state of NY ,and the nation as a whole, is home to the most diverse population in the world. For well over two centuries, people of all walks of life, nationalities and religions have been drawn to the United States from the time the new world was discovered and the colonies were established. This land has always been the go-to destination for those seeking individual liberty and opportunity.
Over the years our nation has evolved and an astonishing amount of progress has been made to enhance those very liberties that created that irresistible draw for people all over the globe. Our nation was nearly destroyed in the struggle to do away with slavery. It took many years for the women's suffrage movement gain victory in achieving goal of the right for women to vote. Yet another divisive battle was fought to end Jim Crow laws, segregation and voting laws, leading to true equality among the people. Every one of these battles had the same major hurdle in common. Lack of tolerance and negative attitudes towards diversity.
In recent years, we as a society like to pat ourselves on the back in falsely assuming that we have finally mastered the concepts of tolerance and diversity. After all, we are required to have regular training at our jobs about these very concepts. We have Title 9 classes to help us identify and root out sexual harassment and violence in the workplace. We have affirmative action laws in place to ensure that nobody is discriminated against in the employee hiring process. We have countless social groups and organizations, such as the the women's rights movement and the NAACP, to highlight issues and blow the whistle on discriminatory practices. And these are all good things. However, I can't help but notice that all of these efforts have missed the mark regarding tolerance and diversity.
Let's take a step back and objectively examine just a few examples of the many events that have happened in recent years.
From the right we see people speaking out in hate against Muslims, even though they've never met or interacted with a person of that faith. We've seen people standing at the doors of abortion clinics, spitting on and and shaming those troubled women who entered, even though they have no knowledge of those women's life circumstances. We've seen people that insist that we must reject science regarding evolution and teach the Holy Bible in our schools, even though there are many other religions being practiced.. We've seen a baker that refused to bake a cake for a gay wedding, even though the clients had money for the service they wanted.
From the left we've seen students riot and destroy property because a conservative speaker was scheduled to hold an event on their campus because an opposing view is intolerable. We've seen ANTIFA members take to the streets to punch Nazis in the face, regardless of whether or not there's any actual Nazis present. We've seen thousands of women marching on DC to protest the rights they've lost, even though they've lost no rights- and even gained more influence and power during the "evil" Trump "dictatorship". We've seen the Governor of NY stating that there's no tolerance for intolerance while also saying there's no place in NY for conservatives, 2nd Amendment supporters, or anti-abortion people.
The funny thing is, the two paragraphs above highlight the actions and attitudes of a vast minority of the population. Those people will never understand the pure concepts of tolerance and diversity.The acts themselves are carried out by the extreme fringe, a minuscule portion of the population.Then these events make headlines on CNN or FOX News,and the vast majority of people scramble to pick the side that aligns with their ideals. It would seem that the extremist minority controls the narrative, and the vast majority just runs with it. Everyone has their unintentional bias.
There is one more relevant event to consider.. We've seen white supremacists hold a rally in Charlottesville Va that resulted in a massive clash resulting in violence and death, with a constitutional militia stuck in the middle as an neutral peace keeping force. Ironically, those camouflaged men were the only ones involved that actually understand the pure concepts of tolerance and diversity. I've met some of those militia members, and I remember hearing one of them say "I'd rather punch that Nazi or ANTIFA in the face, but my mission is to protect their rights and prevent them from hurting or killing each other." Now, THAT is someone who understands the pure concepts of tolerance and diversity, and we'll never know how much more blood may have been spilled if not for the actions of those brave men.
I've sat through many a title 9 training. And when they read off all of the numerous groups that you can't discriminate against- color, sex, religion, gender identification, etc, I've asked why political affiliation isn't on the list. And I can tell you, as I work at a State University, that you'd better be selective of who you talk to about gun ownership or having conservative values. I find it ironic that these mandatory trainings were put in place by left leaning people, the so called champions of tolerance and diversity, yet people who don't fall in line with their ideologies are left out.
Tolerance and diversity , in the pure form, should be a road that travels in both directions, not a river that flows in one direction.Regardless of color, religion, or political affiliation. I find it strange that those on the left who champion these concepts seem to abandon them when confronted with opposing views. Diversity is self evident, as it has been the foundation of this nation since day one. But tolerance? People on both sides still have issues with the true meaning of the word. The sooner we grasp this concept, the sooner we can make progress in healing the divide.