Monday, October 22, 2007

Diversity Would Be Better Served as a Ship

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One doesn't often get a chance to quote legendary anchorman Ron Burgundy when discussing a serious news topic, but here goes. "I could be wrong, but I believe diversity is an old, old wooden ship that was used during the Civil War era." That was Burgundy's response to a question posed by news colleague, Brian Fantana. It seemed Fantana was not happy when told the male dominated news team he was a part of, would have to add a female journalist to their exclusive boy's club. The movie, Anchorman, was nothing more than a farcical satire of television journalism 30 years ago, but almost by accident, raises a very important issue of today.

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"Multiculturalism promotes segregation, stifles free speech and threatens liberal democracy," Britain's top Jewish official warned in extracts from his book published Saturday. That is a direct quote from the U.K.'s chief rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, from a recent interview in London. Now at first glance, many of you might consider that to be a terribly inappropriate, racist and hateful statement, but if you honestly think about the point the Rabbi is illustrating, it might not be as negative as some would have you believe. The Rabbi has written a book titled, The Home We Build Together: Recreating Society. The main premise of the book discusses how multiculturalism promotes segregation considerably more than it does integration. Sacks said Britain's politics had been poisoned by the rise of identity politics, as minorities and aggrieved groups jockeyed first for rights, then for special treatment. This problem is not isolated in the UK, but throughout the major powers of the free world. It's so politically correct to champion diversity, that people aren't pausing to think about the possibility that this very concept isn't destroying our societies from within.

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If you look back at the history of the United States, the concept of diversity and multiculturalism was the very foundation on which we were built. Downtrodden people from all over Europe, Asia and the world arriving in this country to make a better life for themselves and their families. It seemed only natural the different ethnic groups banded together in neighborhoods as they acclimated themselves to their new environs. There was nothing sinister in play, just diverse cultural groups slowly beginning the transformation from where they were from into Americans. After all, you just don't flip a switch and erase generational cultural patterns for the unknown. It was often a slow metamorphosis, but a steady one as well. Today, that concept seems to have dramatically changed.

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The feeling of nationalistic esprit de corps has been replaced by distrust and hatred. People nowadays are much more evaluated on where their ancestry originated, then for who they are today. Much of that should be discounted, but not all of it. Growing up in South Florida, I have witnessed how the city of Miami has dramatically changed from the tropical gateway to the Caribbean to the Caribbean. The majority of Miamians are now self described Cuban exiles whose loyalties to their ancestral home far supersede their loyalties to their current homeland. The city government is almost exclusively Cuban and their main interest in this country is the liberation of their former country by any and all means. For example, every time Fidel Castro is reported to have a cold, the natives start banding together and start rumors about the alleged death of the dictator. What happens in the United States is relevant only in how it will affect the island nation of Cuba.

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Another book questioning the merits of cultural diversity is "While Europe Slept" by Bruce Bawer. This is a book that documents how radical Islam is destroying the west from within. Bawer illustrates how the countries of Europe were so intent on being tolerant of Islamic culture, that they have permitted Muslims to isolate themselves from the rest of the citizenry, not learn the language of their new home and pillage government resources. The cultural values held are those of the Muslim world, where the only law is SHARIA law and the only leaders are the Imams. Private Islamic schools subsidized by the government are allowed to teach hatred of America, Israel and of Jews in the name of cultural respect. The host government is viewed as a temporary situation destined to be replaced by a restrictive Muslim regime, one that permits (and even encourages) honor killings, arranged marriages and wife beating. Even after 9/11, denial still existed. It would seem the policy of tolerance is backfiring. Finally, these countries are attempting to deal with the immigration issue. But is it too late?

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The concepts of multiculturalism and diversity sound so good to the ear and look so good to the eye. However, in this growing climate of religious fanaticism and nationalistic exclusion of foreigners, it doesn't seem to make much sense anymore. People no longer welcome "outsiders." We instead treat them with fear and suspicion. We tell ourselves the new neighbors or the new neighborhoods dominated by "those people" are not like us. My first question is always "who exactly are the people like us?" I often wonder what I have in common with most so called real Americans anymore. I don't wear a flag pin on my lapel. I don't consider myself an anti-human, pro fetus conservative. I'm not a tree hugging liberal either. I'm not religious, morally superior and self-centered enough to fit in with any group. I do however have white skin, a warm smile and I don't go out of my way to inflict my personal beliefs on others. Nowadays, that makes me as diverse as anybody, I suppose. I guess deep down maybe I'm just like that old, old wooden ship that Ron Burgundy waxed poetic about before he read the news. You stay classy multiculturalism people...........

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