I write this letter in response to a recent article asking the question, “Are diversity and inclusion important?”
Honestly, the answer really depends on which side of the color line you are on. So being a Colored, Negro, Black, African American, my answer has to be a resounding YES! Why?
Because America is truly a “melting pot.” From a local perspective, my presence and the presence of thousands of other people of color living in Fayette County makes diversity really real. Therefore, diversity and inclusion cannot be dismissed, diminished or ignored by someone who thinks he’s colorblind and knows what God wants.
Diversity without conscientious efforts to appreciate and include people of other races ultimately breeds adversity. And with adversity among races come racial tensions.
Because no sane person wants racial tension in their community, isn’t it reasonable to encourage people of all races to associate or work together and give every one the fairest chance to serve as a county commissioner or school board member?
So, let’s look back to see where we as a society are going. As America was becoming the nation we live in today, black people in particular were oppressed, excluded and exploited in a vast separate and unequal society especially in the South where I grew up.
I can clearly remember a time when black people were virtually excluded from television shows, commercials, pro sports, political office and well-paying jobs. Racial tensions reached a fever pitch and violence ensued in the mid 1960s during the great civil rights movement toward equality.
Thanks to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders, serious efforts toward inclusion were made by wise leaders, and America was much better off for it. By the grace of God over these last 50 years, the diverse array of people of all races, creeds and colors has made America the great nation it is.
Celebrating diversity and inclusion has indeed united many Americans as illustrated by the recent Fayette NAACP-sponsored MLK Day Parade and Program. So why would someone say that values like diversity and inclusion excuse us from the hard work of discerning good and evil?
Celebrating diversity and promoting inclusion is a very GOOD thing. But isn’t abusing God’s name to denigrate diversity and degrade inclusion simply EVIL?
When you oppose or openly speak out against inclusion in this obviously diverse society, aren’t you promoting adversity and exclusion? Isn’t that EVIL?
So, what kind of future do you want for Fayette County? One where people of one race control the affairs of this diverse community or a future where there is inclusion and harmony among the leadership and workforce?
And I promise not to judge you by the color of your skin but by the content and sensibility of your reply.
John E. Jones
[Jones is the president of the Fayette County NAACP.]