Big Rowan Ackison (greensh) wrote,
Big Rowan Ackison
greensh

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The Challenge of Appreciating Differences

I had an interesting Facebook dialogue today! A really neat friend was commenting about the shadow side of the image empowerment movement. The “big is beautiful” carries with it the shadow of “thin is bad”. My friend said the following wise words:

Everybody likes to feel attractive. But it seems commonplace nowadays to put others below you, or to classify everyone else as "wrong" for being different from you, while you could have easily complimented yourself and left that part out. We should celebrate our differences. If we were all the same, the world would SUCK.

 
Agreed! I do find diversity education to be a weird animal. We are taught to celebrate diversity (differences) and see it as a plus instead of a minus. I said that there is a paradox in appreciating differences. Imo differences are embraced when are keenly recognized, and then lovelingly ignored. This seems to be at odds with the forms of diversity training that strive to keep the diversity in everyone’s faces.

My wife and I were talking about British attitudes displayed through the Dr. Who series. Captain Jack tounge wrestles with the guys and interracial dating / marriage is just part of life. These are accepted as part of life and the events of the show operate around them. This acceptance seems to be different from the American "ignoring the elephant in the middle of the room" version. Differences, when truly appreciated, become the norm. Thin and fat are equally beautiful because they are equally accepted, even while being recognized as different in their own way. I find the wide range of friends to be most comfortable when I appreciate them for their differences, and then move onto the important parts of being friends.

My friend hit the nail on the head with her reply, which I really need to quote here!

Well, certainly with the same sex relationship/ interracial relationship deal we must realize that when some people were raised that certain things are "wrong" (and such emphasis is put on it) , they are unlikely to change that view. Ever. And when the media and government are still arguing over it, it's still giving people the impression that their outdated belief of hate/oppression still has validity. Do not forget that we are ALL children, just some more mature than others. This country has a few generations to go before its inhabitants learn to love each other.

Right on! The catch-22 is that communication of differences, their history and past challenges, is a good thing, but too much focus maintains separation. The trick is to know when acceptance has been achieved and a badgered focus is no longer necessary.
Tags: acceptance, differences, diversity, relationship
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