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I believe that as a consensus, we would like to end discrimination in order to become an open and tolerant society where race, gender, religion, nationality, and sexuality plays little to no role in the decisions we make. Wouldn’t you agree?
The proper goal of diversity is to honour, accept and appreciate the uniqueness of everyone and that we are all created equal in the eyes of our Creator. If we can look beneath the superficial appearances that seem to be the source of our prejudices, then we can see the inner strengths and values. Only then will this dream have a chance of coming to fruition.
It seems to me that our society has turned the corner and is overcoming blatant discrimination even though there still is much room for more change. We have made great strides moving away from our irrefutable jaded history of inequality and prejudice.
There is one vast open aspect of diversity that must be addressed and it is sorely absent in our quest for an enlightened society. I feel that we are cognizant and concerned with the obvious human differences discussed above but we are missing what truly makes us different from each other.
Simply put, the real differences that create our prejudices are ultimately defined by our values. Our values define our important and lasting beliefs or ideals. These values can be individualistic and can be present from birth. At the same time values can be influenced by other members of our immediate family as well as local, regional and national cultures. Both nature and nurture are responsible for the development of our values.
These values create our perception about what is good or bad and desirable or undesirable. Values have major influence on a person’s behaviour and attitude and they serve as broad guidelines in all situations. In my book, Master the Mystery of Human Nature: Resolving the Conflict of Opposing Values, I show how all values have their opposing and competing counterparts from which all conflicts have their source.
There will always be conflict between people who value things in an opposing fashion. There will always be a separation of people who can’t resolve the conflict of opposing values. It will take more than political correctness, policy makers’ decrees, and the mainstream media’s agendas to truly reprogram our opinions.
Even though we are moving in the direction of embracing diversity, we have fallen into a trap where we still divide ourselves into opposing factions. We just have new divisions that are not based on race, colour, or creed, but of values. One must only look at the divisions of the American political parties to find an example.
Distinct lines have been drawn in the sand dividing conservative republicans against liberal democrats and there is so much emotion present. There hasn’t been such a division of the US since the Civil War era. Hatred on each side of the aisle abounds. Both sides are embracing the inclusion of all races and backgrounds as long as they identify with their ideology. The new expression of prejudice is now all about values.
To understand those different from us we have to truly overcome our present-day deficiencies of perceptions that create our prejudices. Humanity needs the proper educational tools with a basic knowledge of human nature knowing that people are born with opposing values and are raised in cultures that do indeed value life in a multitude of ways.
Opposing values are present in the different temperaments, and science is showing how many of them are genetically determined. These opposing values are equal in nature and are an integral aspect of life. We are all just a small piece of a large puzzle and we need each piece in order to complete it.
People of totally different colour, religion, or culture can easily get along if there are mutually shared values. People with similar backgrounds can easily conflict with each other if they have values that clash.
We must be able to grasp the concept that opposing values are a necessary aspect of life and that it is only through the resolution of our differences will there be real solutions found. Dr Martin Luther King Jr once said that: ‘Life at its best is the creative synthesis of opposites in fruitful harmony.’ The creative synthesis potential of opposites coming together is what is missing from our understanding.
Egos must be set aside and personal preferences need to become just that – personal preferences and not something that one has to impose on another. A ‘my way versus your way’ approach to conflict resolution has to be overcome. Without this understanding, the goal of diversity is going to be difficult or impossible to achieve.
Society has much room for making advancements in overcoming conflicts that create prejudice, discrimination and injustice. Learning how our human nature was created with opposing values is the most basic learning tool that we must begin with. These opposing values are just different sides of the same coin. From there we can find real solutions in our quest of achieving true diversity.
Scott Trettenero’s recent book, Master the Mystery of Human Nature: Resolving the Conflict of Opposing Values helps readers learn about themselves.
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