Respecting Diversity

Rev Fr GL Khing
NEISSR, Chümoukedima

Existential diversity must find its pragmatic place in the life of human beings. Diversity enables us to understand the deeper meaning of life. Diversity is not to be seen as a difference, rather it is the ability to live in dignity with appreciation for others. Being diverse does not mean secluding ourselves as the purest species and condemning others as non-functional. Upholding and respecting people of different races, colours, tribes, clans, gender, etc calls for clean minds and a just attitude.

Change begins with a change of attitude for betterment. Acquirement of the best available knowledge and developing an understanding of people from different perspectives sharpens the attitude. Dealing with diversity and differences is not aimed at solving problems. It is learning and understanding issues objectively. All actions are not necessarily oriented to solving problems. There are actions which are problematic because they are done by narrow-minded people or perhaps, they chose to do likewise despite the odd consequences.

Diversity emphasizes the need to recognize the worth and dignity of every individual. Where do the individuals come from? They come from different races, colours, tribes, clans, backgrounds and upbringings. The more you deal with diverse groups of people, the more you understand the realities objectively. This calls for giving and receiving respect without any bias. Subjective mannerisms should give way to objective living. What is life if you cannot live with diverse people?

Extreme love for one’s race, people, colour, caste and tribe disturbs the rhythm of diversity. In most instances, extremists swallow the whole menu making it more difficult to digest. This makes them even more ferocious in dealing with people of different kinds. Today, most misunderstandings, wars and killings occur due to extremist behaviour of people. Everyone wants to be a nationalist. Some people want to be patriotic. Yes, they are good in themselves, but not at the expense of others' life. Every tribe wants to be toppling the other and every individual thinks himself to be the only systematic creature on earth to destroy the good life of other communities. The danger of extremism is a danger in itself.

Respect for life, land and property is implicit in every culture. To go against them would mean to go against one’s culture. Whoever degrades diversity with extreme mouth and action must turn the cultural pages of respect and dignity of all human race. In diversity, action must meet action. This would bring diverse people from diverse settings towards diversity of life with respect and dignity. However, respecting diversity does not mean pleasing all people and doing nothing. Diversity is not about being diverse for the sake of diversity. It is the depiction of the real face of the world. It is walking and working along with diverse people towards establishing a better society. The blending energy of diversity must be uncovered and appreciated for the good of all.