Diversity as an Arbitrary Social Construct

For those relatively new to T&B, you should know that my wife, son, and I live in a large, aging, ethnically diverse condominium building. It's not "luxury", but it's home. Frankly, I would have liked quieter neighbors, cleaner hallways, higher ceilings, thicker walls, and smaller public schools, but the location was excellent, and at $87K for a 1100 sqft. two bedroom with a view, it was all we could afford when I was a lowly research assistant.

Now the same condo sells for $200-$250K, and some of the diversity is moving elsewhere -- but mostly, it's the same people in the building. As I wrote a long time ago, we mostly leave each other alone, except as I have since found out, for the children.

I discovered this out over the past week, as my son and I have been swimming in the condo pool in the early evenings. At that time, you will find a large diversity of ethnicities among the children: Russians, Iranians, Indians, Africans, American blacks and whites, and various Latinos.

Many of these "foreign" children have spent most or all of their lives in the United States; what struck me most about them was the utter lack of cultural diversity among these children. They were all American kids. They've grown up in the same area, with each other, have had the same experiences, mostly.

Not to say there aren't differences. Because language is learned at home, national and regional accents still prevail. Some children are friendly; others are born to hate. The older boys are learning to posture, claim territory, and fight. Many boys and girls group themselves by race and gender.

But the younger ones don't care about your race, color, religion, age, or gender. They just want to play. To them, diversity is just plain worthless. How does diversity help you make a bigger splash with a cannonball? How does it make you swim faster? How does being X make you better?

Sometimes children do have much to teach us... or at least much to remind us.

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This page contains a single entry by Kevin published on June 16, 2005 9:40 AM.

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