Cheryl Thompson has a salutary take on bromides about the “strength of diversity” that are jawboned from various bully pulpits.
Diversity is also tough, challenging and sometimes outright frustrating because it requires listening, being open to what you don’t know, and letting go of what you think you do.
(Cheryl Thompson, “Trudeau Survived. Now Stop Pretending Canada Is a Diverse Paradise,” NYTimes, 10-23 -19)
The gap between the affirming of diversity and the effort to realize its benefit reminds me of the contrast between tofu and jerky. Both have essential protein, but one slides down the throat with minimal investment while the other needs effortful chewing. Diversity must ever buck the tepid conviction of its adherents and the passionate intensity of its enemies.
(c) 2019 JMN
This quote on diversity has been bothering me, and maybe it’s just because I lack the context. The implication APPEARS to be that there’s a problem, and it’s that this or that population is not open-minded enough for diversity. But must diversity include those who are absolutely against diversity, in which case do we fault people for being closed-minded about diversity when they are intolerant of people who are intolerant of diversity?
And is all this applied very selectively, and one-sidedly?
When I have felt that the Starbucks and McDonald’s immediately across from the giant wooden gate in the ancient wall inside the moat of Chiangmai, and the flood of Western tourists, were ruining the city, was I being closed-minded about diversity?
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A thought-provoking comment. The journalist who chided Trudeau for glibly reciting liberal pieties about diversity couched the notion in terms of diverse ethnic groups enjoying equal footing in the societies they inhabit. At least that’s how I read it. I hadn’t thought to extend it to include the proliferation of fast-food chains everywhere. That is indeed a “diversity” the world could live without. Coca-Cola is another good example of the plague you refer to. It has literally undermined the general health drastically in certain areas of Mexico. I was on the glib side myself, wasn’t I — with my complacent foodie analogy? It sprang from a recent encounter with my neighbor’s venison jerky — tasty, but not for the mandible challenged. I must keep trying to sink more thought into my thoughts!
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“couched the notion in terms of diverse ethnic groups enjoying equal footing in the societies they inhabit.” If that is indeed the real issue. Do they want me to have equal footing in Thailand, or Tibet? Is it only in Western countries where this appealing idea applies? And what if one or more of the ethnic groups is itself intolerant of diversity and hostile to the locals, or other ethnic groups? In that case, it would be rather convenient for those in living in ivory towers to simply declare the general population closed-minded or insufficiently mentally courageous to accept “diversity”? Should accepting diversity also apply to the ethnic groups, or do they get a free pass? Might the locals actually be wary of intolerance directed towards them? As an expat, I can see how this could be the case where I live. Some of us immigrants are less than respectful to the majority population.