Thursday, December 11, 2008

Relying on diversity

I had an interesting conversation this morning with Stanley Miller, Director of the NAACP Cleveland Chapter. We agreed that, President-Elect Barack Obama notwithstanding, our society still has a way to go in embracing true diversity.

As far as I'm concerned, that includes not only the way we look but the way we speak.

Sure, we need to make ourselves understood to whomever we're addressing. But we shouldn't have to lose the speech patterns that are part of who we are. A foreign born person shouldn't have to "lose the accent" and an African-American shouldn't have to "become white" in order to succeed.

It's why we should think of America not as a melting pot - in which everybody comes out the same - but as a salad bowl - in which the ingredients form a delicious whole while retaining their own flavor.

On a personal note, having had a father who died of Alzheimer's Disease, I'm acutely aware of the need to stimulate my mind as I age. An excellent way of doing that is to associate with people who are different in the way they look - and speak.

2 comments:

Brendan said...

Ah, sure that's grand!

Mike Q said...

Brilliant ... Good on'ya!