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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

What diversity means to me

Published: November 9, 2007
Section: Arts, Etc.

It means the gray area. It means celebrating the freedom of speech that makes this nation great. It means different colors. It means different abilities. It means different income.

But thats all on the surface.

True diversity comes from the heart, the mind, the body, the soul, from debate, from argument, from controversy and crossing the line.

Spike Lee, Martin Luther King, Jimmy Carter, Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi, the Dali Lama, Harriet Tubman, Eleanor Roosevelt, Moses, Abraham Lincoln, and many others have only been able to achieve positive change because they were willing to question the status quo.

They were willing to offend. They were willing to hurt feelings. They were willing to expose hidden problems that otherwise would not have been noted.

These great leaders did whatever it took to express themselves, protect the civil rights of the members of our society and, finally, to make sure that every single person was able to live without fear of wrongful prosecution and without unwarranted persecution.

To me, diversity means protecting the First Amendment. It means being open-minded and listening to more than just one side of the story;

to being open to change ones mind;

to actually paying attention to what ones opponent has to say.

What does diversity mean to me? It means that you can live the way you want, say the things you wish to say, and live life to the fullestwithout some institution telling you that youre a bad person because youre gay, or because youre black, or because your sense of humor is not that which the boss wants to hear, or because youre an atheist, or because you dont like to suck up, or because you speak the truth, or because youre not a follower and actually try to make decisions on your own, or because you question the very people who abuse the power that you had entrusted in them (unions, administrations, and so on).

Diversity means to me that you can breathe and experiment. It means that you dont have to, and shouldnt, feel guilty, so long as your intent has been to make someone laugh, or to brighten ones day, or to expose a wrong, or to bring up a taboo subject that needs to be discussed but that no one else has the balls to bring up;

then you have no reason to be put down by those claiming to have authority over your identity.

Anyone who tries to make you feel bad for living out your dreams is acting against diversity. Anybody who rebukes the authors of controversial books, the cartoonists of offensive humor, or the playwrights of weighty theater anyone who does one of these things is awful;

and anyone who does one of these things in the name of diversity is acting out the greatest evil: Destroying diversity under the guise of protecting it.

Its the most harmful lie, most dangerous manipulation, most destructive hypnotization.

Diversity is openness. If we close one portal to the imagination, restrict one thought, limit one sound, then we are no better than Hitler, no better than Mao, no better than bin Laden. Diversity means to me the antithesis of the aforesaid persons, who were only successful because they made sure no one offended them and their powers.

Diversity means not jumping to conclusions about your neighbor. Diversity means an appreciation for facts and not fads, for help and not blame, for the protection of the innocent against false claims of guiltthe protection against all from being the victims of hypocrisy (being told not to do X by the very same people who do X and/or allow others to do X).

The worst form of ignorance is accusing the outspoken of being ignorant, especially without first getting the facts straight.

There is no worse action than to falsely claim another is prejudiced! It is anti-American, unconstitutional, and immoral! It is an evil act.

In the words of Jamele Adams, diversity means unconditional love, and that means not reacting to ones actions with dubious accusations and libelous claims.

It means not taking a playbook from political correctness, but instead ask the Student Union “Why?” and its cowardly followers (artificial champions of diversity themselves).

That's what diversity means to me.

P.S. Diversity means to me a university that accepts words as vehicles of expression and does not censor the use of words simply because they are not deemed proper. It is a scary society that bars certain words from being published.