Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Same Difference

A brief announcement during the news last night made me think. A city school had organized a celebration showcasing our differences.
This is good. Celebrated them and embrace them and we’ll soon have xenophobia on the run.

Twenty years ago we were insisting that we’re all the same. This annoyed me no end. At the core we’re all the same i.e. human, but everyone is different.
Shouting and singing insipid songs about how alike we are galled me no end. We fed the fear of being different by studiously ignoring it.
We trumpeted that the same was equivalent to equal. This was sad because all it did was perpetuate the myth that in order to be equal we must all be the same. And no matter how much we stomped and shouted and sang to the contrary, we really meant that you’d better be as close to white, English-speaking, middle-class, and straight as you can muster so you’ll be acceptably the same.

I often wonder how many psyches were damaged by this nonsense?

Before this gets any further, and to quell any misunderstandings, we are all human and therefore we are all equal. But do not offend my sensibilities by trying to cram down my throat that we’re all the same.

No two people are the same.

Now it seems we’re celebrating the differences. It’s about time. But I wonder, is it really okay to be different yet? Or is it only okay as long as we’re all the same?


the Bag Lady said...

dfLeah - the Bag Lady thinks you hit the nail on the head - it's okay to celebrate our differences as long as we're all still the same. -isms are still rampant in our culture - racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. all still exist. But Political Correctness has corrected all of that...hasn't it? Because along with celebrating our differences, we are no longer allowed to speak our minds, or celebrate our religious holidays. For cryin' out loud, saying Merry Christmas at Christmas time does not mean you are being racist!
Hopefully, celebrating our differences will actually become the norm, again.

Leah J.Utas said...

dfBagLady -All Political Correctness has done is make it harder to be different. It's done more to drive acceptance into the ground than the most virulent rascists,sexist, etc-ist ever did.
We're just hiding, we're not understanding.

Crabby McSlacker said...

I agree-pretending we're all the same was popular for a while, as were some weird double standards about sexism/racism/homophobia.

I went through some bizarre diversity training at a job I once had in which it was explained that we shouldn't stereotype or generalize. But also we were told that it was racist to expect African-Americans to show up for work on time as reliably as their white co-workers because their "culture," which was every bit as valid as ours, was more relaxed about such things as work hours. It was also, for a while, impossible to get fired at the company I worked for if you were a minority, no matter what you did. White managers were too afraid of lawsuits, even when it came to criminal conduct.

It was that kind of idiocy that inspired a backlash in the States that made the problem worse. Because even though this period of time was brief, it left a whole bunch of otherwise priviliged folks feeling like "victims" of politically correctness. They went on to elect George Bush twice and continue to dismiss any kind of social justice as "politically correct" nonsense.

Okay, will step down off soap box now!

Leah J.Utas said...

Uhh, it was racist to expect African -Americans to show up for work on time?
I don't know what to say, Crabby. I just don't.

I wondered how Dubya got in. Now I see.

I suspect it's still quite difficult to fire a minority employee.

You can stay on the soapbox as long as you like here.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

df Leah,

Celebrating our differences will only bring us closer together. And the most fun way I know to learn about other cultures is through food, stories and music.


Reb said...

Oh, it is okay to celebrate our differences, but only during Heritage days, or the Carri-west festival or Gay Pride day, or whatever special day we have set aside for it that suits you. At all other times, however, you must be as alike as possible in order to fit in the boxes designated for you. If you do not fit, you must be made to fit.

my label would be - sswaspbcs -
it is the first two letters that make me stand out at my age. Straight, single, wasp, breast cancer survivor, for those that don't know me.

Leah J.Utas said...

dfTerrie - Yes to food, music, and stories. Those are what make us understand, not being told we have to.
When I travel I make a point of going into a food store to see what the locals eat and buy.

So Reb, when's sswaspbcs day again?
I don't want to miss out on my One Day Of The Year of appreciating you and your kind.

I wonder what my label is?

Reb said...

Oh, that is easy, you're a Mwashja, okay, lets see...married, hypnotist, journalist, author, oh... now I'm confused, you do so much! ;)

Anonymous said...

From my personal experience, it's okay with many people if you're different as long as you're not too different.

In other words, it's as though many people expect conformity even in "differences."

Leah J.Utas said...

"Mwashja" I love it. Sounds like a title.

Thomma Lyn - It's good to see you here. You're right. We can be different as long as we're the right kind of different.

the Bag Lady said...

The Cowboy and the Bag Lady used to be dinks (double income, no kids) but now we're just proinks (poor ranchers one income no kids). The Bag Lady wants a parade for Proinks Pride Day!!

Dawn said...

I guess I'm a Mnktdasp person. (married, no kids, two dogs and six puppies)

Leah J.Utas said...

dfBag Lady - I'd march in the Proinks Pride Parade.

Dawn - Go Mnktdasp!

Crabby McSlacker said...

I love it! Mwashja's, and Proinks and Mnktdasps... Sounds like a word verification parade.

I guess the Lobster and I are MALCOC's--Middle Aged Lesbians, Childless, One Cat.

Michael said...

You've got a line on this one, I think, Leah. Certainly there are people who continue to insist that we not be different...

And I'm with the Bag Lady: Considering I'm white and I'm celebrating the birthday of a savior who was most likely black, I don't think I can possibly be racist!

the Bag Lady said...

If the Bag Lady holds a proinks parade and party, and invites all the sswaspbcs,mwashja,mnktdasp and malcocs -- will she have to serve alphabet soup? :)
Okay, okay, she's going to stop now.

Leah J.Utas said...

Hey everybody, thanks for the comments.
Sorry I haven't been around much.