A Short Response to “The Problem with Diversity in Books”

So, I am white. I grew up surrounded by my very European family, in a mostly white community. However, I also grew up around people of different races and ethnicities, because I grew up in Cuba, where diversity is simply an everyday thing. I never had any issues with representation growing up in that country, since people on TV often looked like me, or like my neighbours (who were of different backgrounds to me), and as I grew up around them, always seeing them as normal human beings rather than a stereotype, it was never an odd thing to see. I felt represented, because my identity did not surround itself along the fact that my skin was light, but rather that I belonged to a culture in which African, Asian, and European traditions had mingled so much that it no longer mattered whether someone was darker than me, all that mattered is that we all shared similar experiences. Those experiences, usually to do with the government and how we lived, made us an unified community, but once I moved to the United States I realized how privileged that view was. Due to the history in America between the “majority” and the “minority”, me being able to ignore skin colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation, class, was a privilege than many others, including my fellow Cubans did not have.

This is a response post to a YouTube video by a person who not only spewed some very privileged view points, but used inaccurate history, and attacks on minorities (mostly Muslims and using MLK against blacks), to shame the very people she thought were shaming others. I will not link to this video, because it is my first amendment right to not include hate speech on my posts, and I will not target every ridiculous thing she said, as it would take forever, but I will hit on two main points she brushed off with incorrectness. I will also not go too much into depth on diversity here, because that deserves its own post. 

 “Silence free speech
This person equated telling someone an opinion different to someone else opinion as silencing their ability to give their own. If this makes no sense, is because there is none. Being able to speak your mind, as long as it doesn’t cost other people their free speech or cause them harm is what free speech is all about, it does not mean that people can’t call you on it or criticize you. Everyone in America (to different degrees) has the ability to express themselves, whether it be not standing up for the national anthem, to freedom of the press, to freedom of false/unreliable speech, telling them that in doing so, they are silencing others, goes against the very definition of the term, but we will still defend your right to such an idiotic opinion. 

Diversity is a modern concept
Using some very racist and incorrect historical views on diversity, she made this one little remark without backing it out with actual facts. Why? Because as there were many homogeneous empires that wished to implement only one kind of belief or system onto the population they had conquered, many empires promoted diversity, by not only  allowing people that had been conquered to continue with their traditions in all aspects, but by incorporating those views into the ruling ones. Empires and dynasties like Ptolemy, Afsharid, Macedon (under Alexander the Great), Mesopotamia, Ayyubid, Caliphate of Córdoba, and many more, which I am not as well versed in,used their rule to expand knowledge, and diversify the culture. This however, as quite different to our current view of diversity, instead of it being something to increase all of our knowledge and perceptions, now is most needed to give visibility to the many people that are often underrepresented.  

I want to go into more detail, but seeing the video made me cringe so much that I am unable to stand a second more of it. 

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