A quote by Audre Lorde, “It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences,” may best sum up the problem with an individual’s view of diversity. We can look at the world around us and see judgment of others. But, why? Why are we so intolerant of those that are different from us?
The simplistic answer is fear. The complicated answer is a lack of self-awareness. Recently, the Intrapersonal Self-Awareness Examiner interviewed C.J. Wilson. The interview was for another column, but C.J. Wilson is a modern example of an uncelebrated difference, an intolerant difference. For readers who are unaware of who C.J. Wilson is, he is a professional athlete who adheres to the Straight Edge lifestyle. Straight Edge is mainly about clean living -- no alcohol, tobacco or caffeine. Our dear C.J. has received more than his fair share of slack simply by being different.
As a professional athlete, doesn’t this lifestyle make for the perfect role model? In a profession filled with bad behavior, of course it does. So why would this young man be called to the carpet for promoting a healthy and positive lifestyle? Because this lifestyle, forces us to look at ourselves, makes us question our own decisions and ultimately draws us to the conclusion that perhaps … we could do better for ourselves. C.J. is one very simple example of intolerance. If we step back and take time to get to know ourselves and begin to feel secure within whom we are, we are then free to enjoy and celebrate the differences of others.
There is but one ride in this life … enjoy the journey!
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