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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Truth About The Desire For Diversity and Acceptance

"We just want everyone to be heard and respected for what they believe." No, you don't. It doesn't matter if you're liberal, conservative, black, white, man or woman; you may pay lip service to this idea, but in reality, you're full of shit.

The next time you're at a gay pride rally and you hear someone bellowing about how we all need to be accepted for who we are and what we believe, drop Rush Limbaugh's name and see what happens. Don't get me wrong -- I'm no Limbaugh apologist, I think he's an asshole and should be unemployed. However, he certainly has the right to his views and there certainly is a proven market for said views.

Being tolerant means allowing Rush Limbaugh the same right to his opinions as Sandra Bernhard. You don't have to like either one, and you don't have to listen to either one, but both have the right to express their opinions. That's the amazing thing about this media-driven world in which we live -- everything you watch, surf or listen to you are doing by choice. If you're offended by Rush Limbaugh, shut him off. If Sandra Bernhard makes you cringe, change the channel. Don't want your kids to watch Broke Back Mountain? Do your job as a parent and say, "No." Worried they'll do it behind your back? That's your problem. There are parental controls on the TV now, and back when I was growing up there was a thing called a father; my father said no, he meant it. Which reminds me, marriage is another rant I have to address, but I'll save it for another time.

Being tolerant of diversity means being accepting even of those views that are in stark contrast to your own. Nobody wants that; you want tolerance for those who share your views and ideals, and you want everyone else to be quiet and leave you alone. Guess what -- they want the same thing from you. Contrary to what most readers of this blog will think, this is not directed to any person, persons, or group; it's directed towards everybody. Al Franken is as guilty as Glen Beck. In my world, both are assholes, just from a different set of criteria.

Don't get me wrong, there are times when I will let someone know when they've crossed my comfort line. I typically say something along the lines of, "Not on my time; I'm not interested." They can choose to comply with my request or not, and then I can react to their decision. For instance, I'm not a fan of "the 'n' word." (Egad, I hate that phrase) I don't use it and I'm not comfortable with others using it. If someone around me uses it, white or black, I'm likely to ask them to stop. If they choose not to, I can push the issue, leave, or just deal with it. In any given situation, I might choose any one of those options. The point is, the individual has the right to make choices about his/her language. The person doesn't need diversity training, sensitivity training, or therapy; could just be that he or she is an asshole. That is allowed.

Likewise, people sometimes ask me to tone it down. Depending on the setting and situation, I may comply, or tell them to stuff it; it's a judgment call. Sometimes I'll get a bit loose with colorful language around my family and those with kids will ask me to cool it. Typically, I do. Other times, I'll do it on a webpage or at my house and get a similar request that I choose not to comply with. That is my choice. Again, the point is, if you don't like it, you have alternatives.

So many cause-driven people spread themselves so thin on their myriad causes that one can barely take them seriously. If you feel you MUST correct my every decision, statement, personality flaw, or perceived thought, perhaps the problem actually lies within you, not me. I got some good advice from one of my professors at UNH, Jerry Howe. He said, "Battles use social capital, so choose your battles carefully." I learned something from that.

In the coming weeks and months, I will rant about many things on this blog. You are free to read them or not -- that is your choice. Just remember, I am not forcing my views on you, you are here and reading by choice. In the words of the immortal Darren Imbeault, "Don't like it? Don't look."

Thanks for reading.


  1. I'm going to put up a rumination on the difference between "tolerance" and "acceptance." They're VERY different things, and I've been frustrated lately by the mass of people who think that ACCEPTANCE is required in order to fully live the 1st Amendment. Um, sorry, not so much. I have to TOLERATE your being allowed to spew your particular brand of dumbassery (not YOU, per se, but you know what I mean), but that doesn't mean I have to believe it or, as you point out, even listen to it.

  2. "The next time you're at a gay pride rally, drop Rush Limbaugh's name and see what happens."

    A hilarious double standard indeed. reminds me of NOMBY. Welcome to the dark side.