16 March, 2015

The Essence of Diversity and Mutual Co-existence

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Category: Discrimination, Opinion, Racism
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applesWritten by Felix Kwabena Donkor, Alborg University, Denmark

Diversity refers to people coming together from different races, cultural backgrounds, religions and sexes to form a group or community. This is evident in nature as several wonders of nature are as a result of several organisms coexisting which produces many wonders of nature and leaves one to marvel.

In human society, the results of such intercourse of different culture, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, marriage and religion are vibrant and colorful but also a source of tension.   Such tensions manifest as:

Racial discrimination

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.” Martin Luther King, Jr.


Intolerance based on sexual orientation or religion  

“A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person? We must always consider the person.” Pope Francis


Intense hatred based on peculiar differences which may manifest as hate speech

We have observed that, in society and the world in which we live, selfishness has increased more than love for others, and that men of good will must work, each with his own strengths and expertise, to ensure that love for others increases until it is equal and possibly exceeds love for oneself. Pope Francis

Just as the invisible hands of nature have a way of regulating affairs in the natural world to enhance coexistence; in human societies, people often put responsibility squarely at the doorstep of government. Hence some have rightly observed that “if men were angels, no government would be necessary.  If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.” James Madison

Though we may put greater responsibility on central government, we as individuals also have our individual roles to play in fighting prejudice and all forms of hatred:


 Be proactive

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” Wendell Phillips

Freedom is never an achieved state; like electricity, we’ve got to keep generating it or the lights go out.” Wayne LaPierre.

Similarly in fighting for our rights, we need to be proactive and not sit on the fence because “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke 


Do not belittle your power to make a difference

The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.” Patrick Henry

Perhaps the meek shall inherit the Earth, but they’ll do it in very small plots . . . about 6′ by 3′.” Robert A. Heinlein

One man with courage makes a majority.” Andrew Jackson

A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.” Nelson Mandela

The Arab spring bears testimony of what change a single individual can cause:


Love conquers all

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.Martin Luther King, Jr.


Respect Others’ differences:

“Tolerating imperfections is the price of freedom.” Dr. Thomas Sowell

 “Free expression doesn’t mean right to insult others’ faith.” Pope Francis

Often the absence of cohesion between races, sexes and cultures is caused by mistrust, stereotyping, more within-culture conversation and language problems and lack of understanding this hampers efforts at taking united action.

It might seem a daunting task but when we all do a little, we can do a lot and in the end we all realize that “it always seems impossible until it’s done.” Nelson Mandela

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