America was founded on the principle that every person deserves respect and equal treatment. While our constitution incorporated an unfortunate compromise by permitting slave ownership in the South, which was fixed after our civil war, many scars remain. Each generation needs to be taught our proper principles and we should do our best to reflect them in our dealings with our fellow citizens of all races and creeds.
As Tom Palmer put it some years ago: “The recognition of individuality, of the uniqueness of each individual, is commonplace in all cultures…. Each human person is unique…. What is less commonly grasped is that we all share something morally significant and that therefore all human beings have legitimate claims to rightful treatment by each other, that is, to respect for their human rights.” “Freedom is the birthright of all humanity”
I assume that diversity training is an attempt to provide such understanding and to endeavor to remove the remaining scars of historical prejudices. That is certainly an important and laudable goal. But perhaps the new generation would benefit more from a forward-looking, positive approach rather than stressing atonement for an unchangeable past. Diversity is a fun and enriching phenomenon.
Let’s learn more about the cultural and historical backgrounds of our fellow citizens and how and why they or their ancestors came here. Let’s sample their food and music. Let’s rejoice in the diversity around us. Most cab drivers in the DC area are immigrants or immigrants once removed. I enjoy asking them where they or their parents are from. Most of them enjoy sharing such information. Every now and then one of them will reply with sarcasm that they are from Arlington or some such place. And I reply, “Yes, yes, but where did your ancestors come from? We all came from somewhere else” (overlooking our natives).
Diversity is more than a moral duty. It is a unique blessing of the American experience.