Diversity Training – Oranges vs. Apples


I had the opportunity to attend a Diverse Origins workshop today.

I have some very pointed comments to address what was presented.

First of all, as a minority and a woman (double whammy some might say, I really don’t give a crap–I am me) I am extremely tired of people highlighting differences in people.  With the intent of this training, to be more compassionate and understanding of others, why not focus on humanity vs. differences based on gender, race, sexual orientation, political views or disability etc.   To me, the differences are the same as the difference in fruit.

An orange is different than an apple.  Yet one could hardly argue the fact that they are both fruit.  You could sit and spin things in such a way that the poor orange, who maybe did not hit the fruit stand for a few years due to marketing problems, was so disadvantaged, that eventually the poor orange would play the victim role and for years bemoan, “I am but an orange and oh how I have suffered.”

Mind you, this is not making light of the plight of the orange.  The orange did suffer, and if I put the orange out on the fruit stand with the “Poor Disadvantaged Orange” sign above it, do you think it would sell better?  Do you think that one might feel obligated, not on the merits of the tastiness of the orange, but on it’s history alone , to buy it?  This does the orange NO justice.  Why not, put a sign up that says “SCRUMPTIOUS ORANGE!”  I guarantee you, not only would the orange feel better about being an orange, but pretty soon it would forget that at some point it was disadvantaged.  That’s not say the experience of being disadvantaged would be diminished.  But rather, the excellent feeling of being a scrumptious orange would be all the better.  One can’t get away from bad times, life being unfair or having bad interactions, but–if you cling to them as defining where you are right now (or for the rest of your life) and let them hold you back, then  you will never really get to be the scrumptious orange…. EVER.

So one of the best things I have heard about racism, comes from my favorite actor, Morgan Freeman.

The second thing that really disgusted me during this training was “The Platinum Rule” which states:

“Treat others the way they need to be treated”

WHO the hell could really agree with that?  First of all, I don’t trust many people enough to know how I need to be treated.  It is far too subjective and really quite dangerous.  WHO decides what is the “way” that people should be treated.  How much do you trust others to determine that?

My orange example, lets that that out a step further.  Let’s say I have an orange, who decided to push a thousand oranges off the orange truck to be squashed on the road.

One might say:

“That orange needs to be treated the same way, and take that orange and squash it on the road. In fact let’s just piss on him after too.”


Another might say:

“Aw heck lets just buy that orange and take him home, give him a nice spot on our counter until breakfast on Saturday.  That poor orange was so disadvantaged, no wonder he went wrong.”

Wonder what some might say, about how the people who were responsible for 9/11 “need to be treated.”  You can be sure that the answers you get would vary.  Just ask the mother of a son who died in a pile of rubble on that day… Ask a rescue worker who pulled broken and dead people from that same rubble… ask a soldier… ask a Muslim… ask a leftist….

Another problem, as highlighted in my “training” today… was, oh heck, let’s continue with the orange analogy…

Let’s say this disadvantaged orange was always wearing “armor” to shield itself from the really bad comments that it got, day in and day out.  But eventually the orange’s armor had a chink it it… and things worked their way through…  The orange went to 10 different places and each one of them, either overtly or inadvertently reminded it that it was really just a disadvantaged orange.  And when it got to the 11th place, and the checker did not put their change in their hand, but on the counter *gasp* instead.  Well, we have to remember the RAGE that the disadvantaged orange was suppressing, because the checker really didn’t do anything visible that was wrong.  But all the combined wrongs led the disadvantaged orange to a fit of rage.  My “training” facilitator empahisized this for what???  There was no focus on personal responsibility.

The orange is responsible for it’s behavior.  Regardless of how others treat you, you are responsible for your own behavior.  Even if someone is being “an idiot” or really rude, how you respond shows your character!  Personal responsibility is a value that is being diminished on a daily basis, especially in our present country and the current administration’s entitlement philosophies.

Now, honestly…. I am tired of people promoting diversity.  I am fully aware that there are differences and diversity in our country.  I am bi-racial and I refuse to check ONE box.  I mentioned melting pot, in one of my comments to the facilitator and she had the audacity (I am sure she has some hope and changey feelings too) to liken that to something derogatory.  I think of melting pot as we are all in the same “soup” and her perception was that we are boiled into uniform matter losing all our identity.  Come on–it’s how you perceive it.  They can turn the most innocuous thing into a theft of identity or rights by golly!

How about we just let fruit be fruit.  Humans be humans.  We know there are differences between individuals, but what it boils down to is that focusing on our differences really doesn’t do anyone justice–be it a person or an orange.

Thanks for listening!

Your questions or comments are welcomed!

Until Next Time!

Oh yeah, one of the training participants stated she was reading a blog the other day and that she realized something that had changed from the protesting of the 60’s.  That blogging anonymously was not the same, and how in their day if you were protesting something, you did it in person with your name and face attached.  How’s this?  (by the way, if you have read my blog at all you will notice I publish my name in my correspondence to my elected officials).  I guarantee you if you were standing in front of me, I’d be saying the same things!

MARCY SOWERS

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4 responses to “Diversity Training – Oranges vs. Apples

  1. More than 2000 of my relatives died during the halocaust, and hundreds of Souix relatives were killed during the westward expansion. Irish and English relatives were bondservants or slaves.

    Suffering is universal. Dwelling on it does cause bitterness and anger, detracting from the life of those who dwell on suffering, whether it happened to ourselves, or our ancestors.

    Forgiveness doesn’t affect the guilty party, it affects us.

  2. I agree! Forgiveness is really about the affected person. The weight carried by failing to forgive can be immense. I will be doing another post in this short series on “diversity” which addresses forgiveness. Thank you for your great comment!

  3. Hey, We need some nuts to go with all this disadvantaged fruit! Ha ha ha oops, I forgot we already have them, diquised as Apples! Buahhhhh

  4. I’ve had the same issue with friends on Smart Girl Politics. Why are you standing behind a fake name? (I ask?) When I say something; I want people to know who I am. As far as I know, telling the truth can’t get us into trouble. But, a snake in the grass can kill you.

    When I receive any mail that I am not familiar with…I shred it! I don’t even try to open it. I’m paranoid about germs. Years ago, I wouldn’t have even thought about it. But, the human race has become so complex; that many of them are waking each morning, with ideas on how to destroy mankind!

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