The tyranny of superficial diversity

Everybody loves diversity. I mean, everybody loves the word “diversity.” This is to be separated from the actual reality of diversity, which most people hate with a violent passion. In that way, diversity can be compared to jogging or camping — everyone likes the idea of liking it, they like it in theory, but they hate it in actuality. Let me give you an example. Over the last couple of days I’ve discussed my thoughts on gay marriage. I’ve introduced my ideas on the subject and tried to explain them thoroughly. Today, I made the point that — from my perspective — marriage is not an invention of man, like soccer or Harry Potter, but a natural reality merely discovered and understood by man, like three toed sloths or geometry. It is possessed of a natural essence and we can no more change the rules of marriage than we can change the rules of mathematics. It is not subjective or relative. Rather, it is indivisible, irreducible and real. Anyway, those are my ideas. Maybe a bit abstract, but I thought I’d bring them up in hopes of having an enlightening and engaging debate on the philosophy and metaphysics involved. Instead, I got a bunch of emails like this one, from a guy named Nate:

“Matt, I don’t care what bullsh*t you say you only are against gay marriage because you are a bigotted prejudiced f*cking piece of sh*t. Why don’t you go away and die somewhere. The world is becoming more diverse whether you like it or not. You f*cking Jesus freaks would like to kill all gays if you could wouldn’t you? Sorry that we actually have some tolerance and diversity in this country now you redneck motherf*cker.”

This fascinating contribution to the dialogue would be echoed by several other tolerant and loving individuals. This — this email right here — is what most people mean when they say they want “diversity.” They mean the sort of diversity where everyone thinks the exact same way about everything. They mean the sort of diversity where varying viewpoints are met with a bunch of vulgarity and hatred, wrapped around a nice little death wish or two. Diversity, don’t you love it?

Here’s the definition of “diversity” in modern America: “A bunch of people with different skin pigmentations and sexual proclivities, all dedicated to the ruthless and mindless eradication of any beliefs or ideas that fall outside of the orthodoxy established by their leaders in the government and media.”

I’d hate to go to a restaurant run by one of these people. The “wide selection” on the menu would be the exact same dish served on different plates and with different utensils. Can you imagine Christmas morning with one of these modern diversity lovers? Everyone would get the exact same toaster oven packaged in different color wrapping paper. These champions of variety totally love different styles, as long as the substance is precisely the same.

Here’s a challenge: Try embracing real diversity. Try to love, respect and encourage a diversity of IDEAS. That’s the only type of diversity that means anything. It’s certainly the only type of diversity that makes life more vibrant and interesting. But there’s a catch. A diversity of ideas may challenge you. It may require patience and understanding. It may even require you to use your mind and question your own preconceived notions. It may enrage you, confuse you, disturb you. And that’s OK. That’s the whole point. It isn’t clean or tidy. It can be messy and uncomfortable. But, in the end, it will expand your universe and make you a better person. Another caveat: If you truly value ideas, you will engage them, instead of reflexively shouting slogans and insults at them.

Simple skin deep diversity, or diversity of sexual preferences, requires nothing from you. So you can sit back and not give a crap about how other people look and what they do behind closed doors? Hey, good for you. Want a cookie? Seriously, fantastic. You’re my hero. One day we will build a monument to you. It will be a statue of you, sitting on the couch, not caring about things. Now, can we kick this diversity deal up a notch? After all, if you’ve mastered the rather easy task of simply tolerating different types of people, yet you throw a damned hissy fit when one of them voices a well reasoned thought you disagree with, then you are, it turns out, a fraud and a bigot. The worst kind of bigot, too. Frankly, I’d rather you hate the fact that I’m white and detest my Irish heritage and violently despise every other exterior detail of my being, yet still take my ideas and thoughts seriously, then have you merely “accept” my race and culture (what choice do you have, anyway?) but then react with enraged and idiotic hysteria at my deepest thoughts and beliefs. But that’s just me. I value ideas. I love them. I am fascinated by them. I spend almost all of my time exploring them. This emailer doesn’t. He lives in a world of ignorance but he feels alright about it because he also doesn’t care who his neighbor has sex with tonight.

Good for him. I find him boring and I find his principles to be lacking in principle. I don’t judge him for his ideas, I judge him for his lack of them. I think intellectual cowardice is the worst and most revolting sort of cowardice. And it turns men into shameless, pitiful little things.

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13 Responses to The tyranny of superficial diversity

  1. Jordan says:

    Let em have it, Walsh. You’re starting to be the only voice of reason in a totally unreasonable world. I’m just waiting for when you write of that senator in Texas.

    If you havnt read about yet, play some relaxing music when you do so you don’t go thermonuclear. I almost did myself.

  2. Melody says:

    Wow! Just wow! You are an amazing writer and truly brilliant in your assessment of modern culture. I have read three of your articles so far and they are all dead on point!

  3. Rob Jones says:

    Loved the profanity laden diversity deathwish. Who knew irony was so hard to grasp.

  4. Diane says:

    I just started following your blog. You have a real talent for expressing yourself logically and with a high degree of validity. Your blog post about diversity hits it right on the nail. I recently engaged in a discussion with a group of fellow moms about Disney’s plan to introduce a homosexual storyline to Good Luck Charlie. While I was very open about the fact that there are a lot of things I don’t understand in the world, there are things I believe to be True. I have definite values. This deep seeded belief system rests on Grace and my understanding of my true condition. So, there is no way that I could hate anyone, on the contrary, I’m in the same boat. But, nevertheless, labels and popular buzz words were brought up during the discussion. At one point in the conversation, I looked up the word “bigot” and thought to myself which of us most accurately exhibited the characteristics of this word. Reflecting on the conversation, I would have to say it was my adversary. But, the sad reality is that no matter how much love, acceptance, tolerance, “fill in the buzz word” I have, it doesn’t matter as long as I have a differing belief. True diversity and tolerance is dead.

  5. Angel says:

    This is what I think —-
    I am not a bigot, not a hater, not homophobic, not judging – I have my beliefs and I stick by them. Please give me the same respect for my beliefs that you want me to give to you for your beliefs. I CAN respect what someone else believes AND also disagree with them and still care for that someone. Mutual Respect. That’s the key.
    No matter how many times or how many ways I try to state the above some people come back at me with something or other and they just don’t get it.

  6. Angel says:

    clarification – my statement above is what i say to people who try to tell me i’m wrong . . . . my response posted on my FB page . . . .

  7. Kim says:

    I just ran across your blog and you are officially my new hero.

  8. Diana Bear says:

    Matt, you are amazing! I don’t care what people say! 😉

  9. ColdCaseFanatic says:

    You have alot of nerve complaining and going off on people who aren’t “diverse enough” for you when you are the one who goes ballistic on such harmless things such as emotional support dogs or transgendered people. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. You make it clear that you have absolutely no patience to to take the time to thoroughly examine the issue you disagree with (to the point of hating it), no room in your mind to try and see it the other way, and no room in your heart to see that you’ve never been there so you can’t possibly understand.

    ” I value ideas. I love them. I am fascinated by them. I spend almost all of my time exploring them.”

    Not true when all you can do is stay stuck in your own preconceived notions pretty much all the time, never have anything positive to say about stuff, even the things that you happen to like (and when I say never, I mean you never blog about happy things-however I’m only in June so I may be wrong) and are always inciting a moblike mentality in your followers. You hate ideas and beliefs that are different than your own which you make clear in just about everything you post as you follow christian-conservative-party-line.

    Try getting outraged about something worth the effort. Like something that affects EVERYBODY. Some examples: Nestle wanting to own the whole world’s water supply. Oil companies fracking oil to the extent that it steals millions of gallons of water from ordinary people or poisons the water supply from ordinary people somewhere else. How about Monsato monopolizing and controlling the way people can and do farm their crops and raise their animals?

    See where you can go with those topics in your blog.

  10. Julia says:

    I think the intention of racial diversity is worth pursuing – the idea that people of different backgrounds and cultural experiences can offer different ways of understanding the world, which is helpful because it deepens the Conversation as a whole. I think the same is true for sexual diversity, in theory. But diversity means “people not like you,” which is where it gets hard. Human nature seems inclined to reject wholeheartedly people that are different, for whatever reason. We don’t feel comfortable with our ideas being challenged because – here’s the kicker – they are rarely our own ideas. Most people believe what authority figures – politicians, teachers, pastors, parents, media – tell them because it’s far less difficult than critical thinking or facing criticism. That means that few understand their opinions enough to defend them. So until we start thinking like individuals, we’ll never be ACTUALLY diverse, which like you said, is a diversity of ideas. Anyway, interesting read. I don’t buy everything I’ve read from your blog, but it’s certainly thought provoking.

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