What do we mean by the word diversity?
In our day and time the word diversity means many different things and to many different people. In fact, one might add that the word “diversity” is an ambiguous term.
Perhaps a definition from a dictionary may assist us with moving forward; here are a few examples:
The word diversity is a noun and it can mean 1. the state of being diverse; variety; or 2. a range of different things.
The United States is a classic example of a nation that has prided itself in “unity in diversity.” The concept that we often use as citizens of this great land is E Pluribus Unum or “out of the many one.”
We The People of this great “republic” come from many different backgrounds, faiths, hues, and ethnicities.
The first settlers – other than the indigenous Indian population that preceded them – came from Europe in three initial waves in the years 1607 (James Bay, Virginia), 1619 (Jamestown, Virginia), and 1620 (Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts).
The pioneers who arrived on American shores in 1607 and 1620 came here to seek a land in which they could practice their “religious faith” in an atmosphere of freedom and celebration.
Across the years, many other pioneers from numerous nations came to America in search of a better life. The newcomers came from France, Sweden, Ireland (potato blight of 1848), Germany and Eastern Europe (many of our Jewish friends came to America in large numbers in the 1880s).
As these brave men and women came to our shores, they gave up their former livelihood in search of a better life.
These brave men and women embraced the American ideal beautifully articulated in the immortal words of The Declaration of Independence which states that “all men – and women – are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights – among them which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
With the sad and terrible exception of Native-Americans and Blacks of African ancestry, the various ethnicities that came to America were allowed to pursue their dreams and aspirations without fear of restraint, imprisonment, or bondage.
One of the greatest accomplishments of the “American experiment in true diversity” is that even groups of people who were at one time excluded from the American vision of equality have been able to make great strides in becoming part of the mainstream of this great country.
Throughout the years, organizations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People – or NAACP for short – have worked tirelessly to defend, protect, and fight for the rights of citizens of color who have been marginalized by the broader Anglo-American society.
Since the founding of the NAACP in 1909, their legal efforts have born much positive fruit and one of their greatest lawyers the late Thurgood Marshall became the first Black American to sit on the bench of the Supreme Court in 1967.
The NAACP has been quick to celebrate minority accomplishments for more than 100 years with awards, bulletins, and other forms of communication.
This is why the reticence of the NAACP in not celebrating the recent political victories of three Black Republicans – 2 to the United States House of Representatives (Mia Love of Utah and Will Hurd of Texas) and 1 to the United States Senate (Tim Scott of South Carolina) – is so appalling.
There was a time in which the NAACP along with much of the traditional and mainstream Civil Rights community would have rejoiced over the fact that the state of Utah which has a paucity of black residents is sending a Black female of Haitian ancestry to represent them (for the sake of full disclosure many residents in Utah are members of the Church of the Latter Day Saints or the Mormon faith – and Mrs. Love shares this faith)! Mrs. Love is a former mayor with “executive experience.”
Congressman-Elect Hurd won his seat in a district that is predominantly Latino-American.
Republicans can actually engage our Latino and Latina friends when they try. Mr. Hurd is a former CIA Officer.
Finally, Mr. Tim Scott has a multifaceted resume.
Senator Scott has been a successful businessman, state representative, and congressman. Mr. Scott was appointed to the United States Senate by the current South Carolina Governor Nikki Halley to complete the unexpired term of former Senator Jim DeMint. In the recent November elections Tim Scott won a Senate seat outright – in the midst of the state that started the Civil War!
These three exceptional and outstanding individuals will bring tremendous diversity to the United States Government.
One can only wonder why there are no cheers from the NAACP or from other Civil Rights leaders over the wonderful accomplishments of these three people.
Perhaps to celebrate these three wonderful people might be a tacit acknowledgement by the Civil Rights establishment that perhaps “class” and not “institutional racism” is the primary determinant of how far men and women of color can advance in the American society of 2014.