Thursday, April 26, 2012

A World Without Diversity

To hear a lot of bigots out there, the world would be a much better place if everyone was just like them.  And most of the time people don't fight them back on it.  We just roll our eyes and say, "You can wish in one hand and shit in the other and see what fills up faster."  But what if they got their wish?  What if the entire world suddenly became nothing but White, Straight, Cissexual, Protestant Conservatives?

On the surface, I suppose there would be no more hate groups or hate crimes.  The KKK can't exactly meet to talk about their hatred of people who don't exist. There would be no need for protests, no fighting for equal rights, no "rocking the boat".  Everyone is exactly the same, so there's nothing to lash out at.  In a weird way, I suppose it would bring peace of some sort.

But would we really want to live in a world without conflict?  The conflict within our human race is what ultimately causes us to grow as a species.  Without the abolitionists, we might never have grown to see slavery as immoral.  Without the Civil Rights movements we might continue to see others as lesser human beings.  Without the Stonewall Riots we would never learn to stand up for ourselves against bullies, especially when those bullies are an extension of your government.  Every time I feel like giving up, like my feeble attempts to change the world are only falling on deaf ears, I think about those pissed-off drag queens who decided one fateful night they weren't going to that shit from the cops ever again.  I think of the sisters before me who threw rocks, beer bottles, wigs, heels and everything they could against The Machine that continually told them they were not worthy of equal respect.

I think of Elizabeth Eckford of the "Little Rock Nine", who held her head high in the midst of an angry white mob and stood up to the Arkansas National Guard at Central High School, not far from where I was raised.  The sheer courage and willpower it must have taken to stand up to that level of hatred day after day and never let them see you break down is the kind of superhero strength that inspires me to keep fighting the good fight, no matter how futile it may seem at the time.

What if I was given a magic wand and able to change everyone in the world into the "socially normal"?  Trans kids would become cis and gay kids would become straight and never face bullying and discrimination at school again.  Everyone would become white, so racism would be a thing of the past.  There would be no more religiously motivated terrorism because everyone would be the same religion.  No one would ever have to go through a tortuous self-journey only to discover they are gay or transgender or atheist or anything "controversial" ever again.  Everyone would be happy and get along because everyone would be exactly the same.  As tempting as it might seem, I would snap that magic wand in two every single time.

To erase everything socially "unacceptable" would destroy who I am and erase everyone I love in my life.  As arduous as the journey may have been at times, I would never change who I am by magically becoming cis or straight or Christian or conservative.  It would change everything about me.  And not just me, but all of my loved ones.  It's too steep a price to pay and destroying conflict would only ultimately destroy our society.  Without conflict and struggle there is only stagnation and stagnation can only lead to our ultimate demise.  

I love the diversity of our world.  The thought of living in world with so many different voices, so many different point-of-view, so many different ideas and opinions all fighting for relevance in the public mind are what keeps me going.  Within my lifetime there will always be something to learn.  There will always be something worth fighting for.  There will always be a chance to exercise our love for each other and create something beautiful that wasn't there before.  There will always be an opportunity to make this world a better place for our children and grandchildren.  That's what gets me up in the morning.  That's what makes my life worth living.  Despite the conflict, despite the violence, and despite the hatred I could never live in a world without diversity.  A world like that isn't worth fighting for.

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