Racism and Diversity

7:31 AM Gemma Fitz 6 Comments

No, this is not a "we need diverse characters" type of post. Maybe next time.

Recently, I was talking to a friend about racism, and he said something that really bothered me. He said that racism is not just discriminating against another nationality, but also "perpetuating (the idea of) race in any way...since it is dividing people by a standard God did not set" (my friend being a Christian).

In other words, there is only one race, the human race, and if you divide people by, or think of people in terms of, man's idea of "races", than you yourself are being racist.

And I disagree.
A lot of people don't realize this, but I'm a quarter Japanese. Yeah, yeah-- only a quarter, and I don't look it, I can't speak Japanese, I've never been to Japan, and I don't even like sashimi, but I'm still Japanese, and proud of it.

My diversity counts. A good part of everyday, when I was a child, was spent with my grandmother, who was fully Japanese and grew up in Japan, and I couldn't help but pick up some of the culture. My diversity is important to me. The Japanese traditions in my family, started from my grandmother, still affect my life, even now that she's passed away. My diversity is worth something. God made me this way for a reason. I'm proud to be different. I'm proud to have grown up in a family of mixed nationalities and cultures (not just Japanese, but there's quite a bit of Polish and Ukrainian in this girl as well). I am so grateful for the experiences I've had that I probably wouldn't have had if I wasn't racially diverse-- such as hosting a Japanese foreign exchange student the last four summers, making pierogi as a family with my (other, Ukrainian) grandmother, and eating maki and sukiyaki at New Year's and complaining when my brother put sashimi in.

I love being diverse. I love being Japanese. And I don't think there's anything racist about celebrating your diversity. I think it's okay to rejoice in the way God made you-- unique, fascinating, and beautiful.

But then there are those who aren't so diverse. There's the "white people", or, in other words, those that haven't had a foreign ancestor in the last few generations, or at least whose foreign ancestry doesn't affect their life much, today. And you know what? That's okay, too.

People seem to think of "white" Americans as a "majority". Like they're all the same, like they don't all have their own diversities, even racial diversities. Like every single one of them isn't unique and different and special.

I mean, I look white. Most people think I'm white. And I guess I kinda am. I'm just your normal USA citizen-- I've never even been out of the country. So I identify with the "white" demographic. But I can safely say there aren't that many other white Americans out there that have the same cultural influence in their lives that I've had. And I can also safely say that I haven't had anywhere near the same cultural influences in my life as you have had.

And I think that's beautiful. Even the most most common, stereotyped, or run-of-the-mill demographics in any different time or place are made up of unique and uncommon people.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, God did make those racial divisions. He might not have called it race-- it started out as languages, which formed cultures, which formed nationalities-- and he might not have made them wholly to divide us. I think he made them because variety is beautiful. I think God made races, at least partly, so we could look around at our fellow humans and say "Isn't God amazing to have done this?"

That's not racism. That's diversity. And it's a good thing.

So what's your opinion? Should we perpetuate the idea of race? Should we celebrate diversity? How are you unique?

6 comments:

  1. I see both your point and your friend's. I think what he's getting at is the idea that there's some fundamental, non-cultural difference between a "white" person and a "black" person lends itself to the idea that one or more of those groups is better than others by dint of being "white" or "black" or whatever.

    ... which we all disagree with. We seem to take it as given and true that all people are created equal.

    But as someone whose family history is a melting pot of Amerindian and European people groups, I agree it's good to celebrate your diversity. I think the disconnect is what definition each of us uses for the word "race". It seems to me that your concept of it, in this post at least, is largely equivalent to ethnicity or culture.

    Maybe all of these categories are just too blurred to divide. I don't know.

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    1. Hmm... maybe that is what he was getting at. Thanks for pointing that out. :) And I'm going to have to look a bit more into the word "race" to find out what it really means. :P

      Thanks for commenting!

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  2. I'm half Filipino and I agree with this ;)
    -JH

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    1. That's so cool! Thanks for commenting! :)

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  3. I really like this. I see what you're saying here. There's nothing wrong with saying there are different cultures (because there clearly are many different cultures). And there's nothing wrong with celebrating you different nationalities, if you have them.

    I'm actually a quarter Japanese too. I didn't have as much culture influence as you did. Probably because we don't live close to my grandparents, also my grandmother doesn't' like to cook. But I like exploring the culture sometimes myself. :)

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    1. *high fives* Japanese culture is so awesome-- even just researching it. I did have a lot of cultural influences, but still not as many as I would have wished-- if I'd had my way, I would have been born in Japan. xD

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I adore comments! Just keep it clean and respectful...please no profanity and while I respect people's opinions and love a good argument, simply bashing my post is obviously not appreciated. :)