Recently, my middle school daughter’s English teacher assigned his students to write an essay on the Fayette County NAACP’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day theme. This year the topic is “Why Inclusion and Diversity is Important for the Future Health of Our Community?”
We had a great conversation about Martin Luther King and civil rights in preparation to write her essay. The topic caused me to think a lot, too, so I thought I would write one of my own.
Ever the one to question conventional wisdom, [I believe] this theme assumes that inclusion and diversity are important in the first place. I’m not so sure it is.
Additionally, it implies that not everyone in Fayette County is included in the community or government, and that someone of a different race, gender, or religion cannot effectively represent the concerns of someone who is not like them. That is plain bigoted.
Martin Luther King dreamt of a day when people would not be “judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” America of the 1950s and ‘60s used to treat blacks as inferior. Martin Luther King fought this kind of injustice, knowing that “all men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.”
All people are equal because God made them. God does not think anyone is superior or more important than another, so neither should we.
Yet, when we focus on diversity and inclusion, we are continuing to judge by the color of skin. We are sensitive to whether a person is black, female, Muslim, or some other minority.
I am not saying we should ignore the concerns of minorities, but I think it’s time we ask, “Who cares what color someone is, what religion someone is, or what gender they are?” If a person has the character and qualifications for the job, that is what counts. An emphasis on diversity and inclusion holds us in the past, rather than propel us to the future.
When Martin Luther King dreamed of a day when people are not “judged by color of their skin, but the content of their character,” he was looking for what can make us the same (made by God), not what makes us different (skin color). MLK knew that good character would help us embody this truth, and God is the source of good character.
Stressing diversity and inclusion highlights what makes us different, and doesn’t do much to bring us together. There are a variety of diverse voices that we honestly do not want to include in our community.
What if there was a group of white supremacists that organized in Fayette County? Would we seriously say that we want to celebrate their diverse culture and include their voice? No, we would condemn them as evil and exclude them.
What if others in our county said that everyone should convert to a certain religion or pay a nonbeliever tax? Many Muslims believe this. No, we would reject that diverse voice as culturally insensitive at best and cultural suicide at worst.
If a group of people in Fayette County thought it is a good idea to have sex with children, do we truly want to include their diverse voice, too? Not hardly!
Yet, if every person, group, or culture decides for themselves what is good, how can we even say any of these “diverse voices” are evil?
Celebrating diversity and inclusion cannot truly unite us, because the big assumption which diversity advocates make is that all groups, cultures, and voices are equal and equally valid.
They are not. Some voices are evil.
No one is truly inclusive, nor should they be. Values like diversity and inclusion excuse us from the hard work of discerning good and evil. It is easy to just include everybody, but this only divides us.
If what is good is defined by us and not by God, we will constantly disagree on what is good, and we will never be united.
Race is irrelevant to those who love and serve God. “There is neither Jew nor Greek … in Christ Jesus.” We can have equality in Christ, but apart from Him, where will you get it? MLK knew this, and we have largely forgotten it.
Fayette County citizens instead should encourage godly character, strong families, hard work, charity, and treating everybody equally as the special custom creations of God that they are.
Pursuing God was the bedrock of Martin Luther King’s message. It is godly character that helps us treat everyone equally, and unite us as a people. This is how our country began, and it will go a lot further to creating a thriving and healthy place to live than inadequate ideas like diversity and inclusion.
[David Richardson of Peachtree City is the executive director of The Assumptions Project. He has a master’s degree from Oxford University, and is a university consultant in education and culture. He is a recognized expert on the religious attitudes and beliefs of university professors. He, his wife and children have lived in Fayette County for more than two decades.]