At one time, Native Americans were mostly considered savages and were moved to reservations or slaughtered. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, approximately 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry, mostly American adults and children, were forced to live in incarceration camps in America. Then there was the Holocaust where German authorities committed genocide on over six million Jews, Gypsies, disabled, Slavics, Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, mentally ill, and others. Also throughout history at various times, women were considered property and men could do whatever they wanted to them, and black people were kept as slaves. These are just a few examples throughout history. Many of these groups were even considered subhuman.
We’ve come a long way, but we still have a long way to go. Today, Muslims, Mexicans, blacks and other people of color, women, those in the LBGTQ communities, the homeless, poor, those of particular religions, and so many others continue to have to fight the battle to equality.
For those of us who aren’t in any of the above groups and have not yet had to experience any of these injustices, it’s hard for us to understand what they went through or are going through. We can have an idea in order to have empathy and show compassion, but we can never truly know how anyone actually feels.
John F. Kennedy stated, “If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.” The good news is that there are millions of people all over the world who are uniting to bring people together in spite of any perceived differences! They’re out there practicing the teachings of their spiritual masters in that they’re lifting people up, working to bring equality to all people, and working to overcome the injustices that so many are experiencing just because of their beliefs, color, lifestyles, nationality, religion, and so on.
Nelson Mandela said, “As long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest.” He also said, “To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.”
Max de Pree stated, “We need to give each other the space to grow, to be ourselves, to exercise our diversity. We need to give each other space so that we may both give and receive such beautiful things as ideas, openness, dignity, joy, healing, and inclusion.” Desmond Tutu declared, “Isn't it amazing that we are all made in God's image, and yet there is so much diversity among his people?” And Gandhi said, “Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization.”
We all share space on this great planet called Mother Earth; therefore, can’t we just learn to live together in peace and harmony? As someone once said, “The beauty of the world lies in the diversity of its people.” And personally, I believe that because of our diversity, we are one beautiful planet!
Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper May 12, 2017.