Our Kind of People

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He’s not our kind of people.  She should stick to her own kind.  I don’t have anything against his kind, but I really think people belong with their own kind.  It’s like the saying, “birds of a feather stick together.”  I think people get along better with people who are more similar.  Like parrots with parrots and robins with robins.

I’m not prejudiced against anyone.  I have noticed that people seem happier when they are with people who are like them.  It’s a big world out there and its got room enough for everyone, so why should we crowd it?  Don’t you want everyone to be happy?

So if you like coke 

And you like dope

You’re my kind of people

(My kind of people)

You’re my kind of people

(My kind of people)  —- My Kind of People, CeeLo Green

 Why force people who are different to live with people who are not like them?  We would all got along better if like stayed with like.  You don’t mix salt and pepper or sugar and pepper so why mix people?  People are much happier when they are with people who have a great many similarities to them.  Fish eaters get along better with fish eaters and vegans get along better with vegans.

Stick-to-your-own-kind-...-or-not1-254x3001It’s not about racism or privilege but everyone should have a right to say who they have to live with and go to school with or church with.  I am all for equal rights for everyone and that includes my right to stick to my own kind.  Does that make me a racist because I like one group of people more than another?  We all have our baseball and football team preferences.  That is what makes sports so much fun.  I don’t have to like your team and you don’t have to like my team.  Teams stick together and play with their own kind.  You don’t see football players playing against baseball players or lacrosse players playing against rugby players.

“I’m waiting, for what, my kind of people, what kind is that?  I can tell my kind of people by their faces, by something in their faces.” — Ayn Rand

If you took a can of blue paint and red paint and yellow paint and mixed them all together, you would get something really strange.  If you blended the rainbow together, you would just get gray.  That would be boring and uninteresting.  You need to keep colors separate and then you get all of the beauty of the spectrum.  Keeping people with their own kind improves life for all since the colors do not fade.  Unless you get a tan and they never seem to last very long.

My kind of town, Chicago is

My kind of people, too — My Kind of Town, Frank Sinatra

imagesThat is why I am not a racist because I believe in the beauty of all colors.  I don’t think one color is more beautiful than another.  I prefer blue while I think my wife likes pink or green more.  I just think you don’t want to mix the colors too much or you lose the beauty.  It is also easier to clean a paint brush when you just use it for the same colors.  Have you ever tried to clean a paint brush that has been used on too many different colors?

A little rock and roll

A whole lot of soul

You’re my kind of people

(My kind of people)

You’re my kind of people

(My kind of people) — My Kind of People, CeeLo Green

kkk-chicago-flashback-0125-20150123-e1446548107862-2lw7l8q-1080x633Now I suppose some of you will still say that I am a racist or prejudiced and that nothing I can say will change your minds.  But I don’t dislike those kind of people, I just want to live with my kind of people and those kind of people can live with their own kind of people.

Don’t you think there would be less problems in the world if we all stuck with our own kind of people?  Listen to what the bible says:

Leviticus 19:19 “Keep my decrees.  Do not mate different kinds of animals.  Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed.  Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material.”

I have to show this to my wife because she wanted to get a Golden Doodle and now wants to buy an Aussie Doodle.  I guess the bible says no doodle for her unless she wants to buy a pure doodle whatever that is.

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The above blog was inspired by my friend Kwame who was discussing race with someone who made the comment that we should all stick to our “own kind.”  The thought resonated with me since we have all heard it at one time or another repeated as a “code” for discrimination and disrespect.  “Stick to your own kind” sounds so benign but it is really a phrase full of hate and fear.

“It’s hard to be different,” Scarborough said.  “And perhaps the best answer is not to tolerate differences, not even to accept them.  But to celebrate them.  Maybe then those who are different would feel more loved, and less, well, tolerated.”  ― Bill Konigsberg, Openly Straight

The Beauty of Diversity

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Diversity is the most beautiful thing in the world.  If you can suspend your judgements and look at the world through the perspective of diversity, you will be treated to a kaleidoscope of colors, patterns, habits, traditions, ideas, beliefs, and stories.  You will see a world that is complex beyond belief.  A world that no artist or musician or writer could even begin to describe.  Take away diversity and the world is a grey amalgam of people who look alike, think alike, and act alike.  Diversity makes the world interesting and challenging.

For some, diversity conjures up the idea of race.  Many people think of diversity only in terms of race or gender.  I remember when I used to facilitate leadership teams and project teams.  I would use the Myer Briggs Personality Inventory to balance out specific psychological characteristics for my teams.  My primary thought was that we needed a balance of viewpoints and ways of looking at problems.  The Myer Briggs rated people on 4 scales that included:  introversion versus extraversion, thinking versus feeling, perceiving versus judging and concrete orientation versus sensing orientation.  I wanted to ensure that I had a diversity of thinking styles and not just gender or ethnic diversity.

There are many kinds of diversity.  Scientists have shown that the concept of race is not very scientific.  I shall call the various skin colors in the human race as pigmentation diversity.  We can also have cultural or ethnic diversity, intellectual diversity, gender diversity and religious diversity.  Each of the aforementioned types of diversity can add flavor and spice to life, IF and that is the big issue IF.  IF, you are open minded to the differences in the human race, diversity can be a blessing.  However, diversity can be a two-edged sword.  By its very nature, diversity tends to be exclusive rather than inclusive.  Many people think that they are superior to others because of some attribute that they possess. 

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Some types of diversity are more exclusionary than others.  Income diversity, political diversity, education diversity and pigmentation diversity have led many people to unsubstantiated feelings of superiority.  Rich people may feel that they are superior to poor people.  Light skinned people may feel superior to darker skinned people.  More educated people may feel superior to less educated people.  The beauty of diversity gets twisted around like a pretzel until it is no longer recognizable.  It is hard to grasp the fact that some people are opposed to diversity and prefer to live among people who are exactly like them.  For these humans, diversity is something that they would eliminate from their lives.  The concept that “variety is the spice of life” fails to inspire those who think that they may have to share the world with people who are different. 

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There are too many people who do not understand the distinction between the concepts of difference and deficit.  Diversity is always a difference.  A deficit is something that is inferior to something else.  Only fools make the claim that diversity and deficits are the same.  Rich people are not better than poor people.  Educated people are not more intelligent than less educated people.  Lighter skinned people are not superior to darker skinned people. 

The words better, intelligent and superior have no causal relationship to groups of people.  People have a wide range of knowledge, skills, and abilities but none of these have been inextricably linked to color, gender, education, income, culture, religion, or numerous other aspects of diversity.  Of course there are some characteristics (particularly age) that can be linked to physical abilities but to assume that all younger people are better than all older people when it comes to physical abilities would be meaningless.  It would certainly not be a bias that anyone would choose to use for excluding older people from the human race.  I am thinking of the movie “Soylent Green” where older people were turned into food for the younger people when they were deemed too old to be useful to society. 

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When it comes to diversity, only the Vulcans had it right.  Their IDIC principle stood for “Infinite Diversity through Infinite Combination.”  The history of humanity exhibits a love hate affair with diversity.  The world is divided up by culture, ethnicity, religion, tribes, clans, and castes.  “Mine is better than yours” could be the motto for the human race.  My god, my religion, my skin color, my beliefs.  Small wonder that so many tragedies are brought on by our small-minded beliefs. 

Never before in history have we seen such stupidity and narrow mindedness circling the globe.  Stupidity and intelligence are two very different things.  In the past four years, I have witnessed stupidity among many highly intelligent and accomplished individuals.  Stupidity is a lack of breadth and depth when looking at the world.  When one only sees the benefits of their own tribe and sees the differences of other tribes as a deficit that is stupidity.  Two major factors account for much of the misery facing humanity today.

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The first factor that is driving volatility and unrest in many parts of the world is the availability of low cost and relatively high-speed transportation.  We are now capable of mixing the world with one big stirring spoon.  People have been warned in the USA that in so many years, white people will no longer be the majority.  This is perceived as a threat.  Elsewhere in the world, countries are facing a dilution of their traditional populations due to both forced and chosen migrations.  People who have lived with the “same” neighbors for years are now threatened by people of different backgrounds.  In the US, we have seen a huge increase in “gated” communities.  “Let’s keep out anyone who is different!”  Data from one survey in 2015 showed nearly 11 million Americans living in gated communities.  This number has surely increased dramatically in the past seven years.  Borders may serve the same purpose.  A large number of American citizens supported Trump’s building a border wall with Mexico.

One pundit asked and answered the question: “Why does America have so many gated communities?”

“Gated Communities are mainly successful because millions of Americans tend to seek happiness in their way of life.  Many of them are willing to pay a high price to live their own American dream while isolating themselves into artificial perfection with people and rules they chose.”

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The second factor driving much of the unrest in the world has been the availability of low-cost communication systems that are capable of both uniting and dividing cultures the world over.  The Internet and the cellphone are tools that can be used to improve the world.  They can be used to help people understand and appreciate the differences that exist in the world.  However, they can also be used to create greater animosity and divisiveness throughout the world.  People who are afraid of change and fear differences are much more likely to resort to media that allows them to join tribes of like-minded people.  Instead of becoming tools to improve civilization, the Internet and cellphones are used to destroy civilization.  By spreading misinformation, disinformation, and distortions, modern media has encouraged a negative rather than a positive view of diversity.   

Much of what I am saying is not new.  These characteristics of bigoty, ethnocentricity, xenophobia and racism have always been part of humanity.  When we mix fear and greed in the “melting pot”, and give pathways to these attributes, the result is violence and devastation. 

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On a minor scale think of a sporting event where people adopt an “identify” based on some misguided loyalty or egoistic need to a particular team.  The Packer fans sit on one side of the football stadium while the Viking fans sit on the other side.  The Japanese sit on one side of the soccer stadium and the South Koreans sit on the other side.  The Indians sit on one side of the cricket stadium and the Pakistanis sit on the other side.  Each side cheers the scoring and plays of “their” team while booing the plays of the other team.  When things don’t go well for one side, the result may be violence off the field as well as on it.  Soccer has a well-deserved record of riots and hooliganism.  I tried to count the number of soccer riots and lost count.  Hardly any sport in the world has been immune from instances of violence and mayhem.  People don’t enjoy having their “identity” defiled by being part of a losing team. 

I mentioned that “sports” is a minor scale event compared to events concerning religion, culture, politics, or economics.  Just imagine the potential for violence when Muslims versus Christians or Communists versus Capitalists or Democrats versus Republicans.  The amazing thing is that the world is not less civilized than it currently is.  People in the USA today bemoan the divisiveness in politics as something seemingly new.  I submit it is not new but that it has become more evident with the Internet and media.  The media love to hype every event to the nth degree in hopes of selling more advertisement.  Due to the numerous channels of communication that distort and bias events according to the prejudices of the perceiver, we now have chasms of truth, glaciers of lies and mountains of deceitfulness.  Stupidity and intolerance are beyond the pandemic stage and have become endemic the world over.  We have more to fear from bigotry than we do from the Corona virus. 

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How can we learn to see beauty in diversity?  How do we hope to overcome the ugliness that some people see in the differences that exist in the human race?  Can we convince people that a difference is not a deficit?  I think of words like tolerance, respect, understanding, open-mindedness, progressive, merciful, kindhearted, loving, and compassionate.  Is it too much to expect that we can show these later attributes to people who are different?  If we could only extend these thoughts to people who do not belong to our tribe, we could change the world.

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“Until the philosophy which holds one race superior, and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned, everywhere is war.  And until there are no longer first-class and second-class citizens of any nation, until the color of a man’s skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes and until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race, there is war.  And until that day, the dream of lasting peace, world citizenship, rule of international morality, will remain but a fleeting illusion to be pursued, but never attained… now everywhere is war.”  ― Haile Selassie I, Selected Speeches

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