Tinotopia (Logo)
TinotopiaLog → ‘Diversity’ and ‘race’ (25 Jul 2002)
Previous entry:
Airport Security ‘Improvements’

Next entry:
Spam Filter
Thursday 25 July 2002

‘Diversity’ and ‘race’

The Washington Post recently ran a seriesabout ‘the camouflage company town’, that is, life on a military base. One story, on the front page, was headlined “Acceptance Amid the Diversity”. The story told of the multiracial utopia that is Andrews Air Force Base, in the Maryland suburbs just outside Washington, D.C.

Navy Master Chief Petty Officer Arthur Rivers, who is black and who lives on base at Andrews, is quoted in the story:

“I’ve lived in both the civilian world and on a military installation, and I probably feel more comfortable on a military installation,” Arthur Rivers said. “There’s a real cross of cultures here. As a parent, I think it’s important that my children get exposed to different cultures.”

Cough, cough. Frankly, I’d expect a Master Chief to be a bit more insightful than that. The man lives on an Air Force Base; everyone in his neighborhood works, ultimately, for the same organization. All the kids that his kids play with are children of people in the service. Neal Stephenson summed this up nicely in Snow Crash, while describing the army-base childhood of his imaginatively-named main character, Hiro Protagonist:

Their skins were different colors but they all belonged to the same ethnic group: Military. Black kids didn’t talk like black kids. Asian kids didn’t bust their asses to excel in school. White kids, by and large, didn’t have any problem getting along with the black and asian kids.

You see, Master Chief Rivers is confusing culture with skin color. There’s very little cultural diversity on a military base; none at all, relative to the outside world. And this is why people get on well together there.

Part of Martin Luther King’s famous dream was that his children would ” live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” I think that, in very large part, we are now a nation where one is judged more on the content of one’s character rather than the color of one’s skin. Unfortunately, a lot of the people so judged would rather, it seems, be judged on the color of their skin. If a lot of people don’t like you because your skin is black, it’s the people who don’t like you who are in the wrong. If a lot of people don’t like you because you’re an asshole, well, you are the problem, and have some work to do. It’s easier to ascribe it all to racism, absolving one’s self of responsibility.

Posted by tino at 00:31 25.07.02
This entry's TrackBack URL::

Links to weblogs that reference ''Diversity' and 'race'' from Tinotopia.