by Richard Karp, professor of biological sciences
It is an unfortunate characteristic of the human condition to fear what is different and what we do not understand. Throughout history, this has led to harassment, persecution and sometimes unquestionable atrocities. This continues today.
Many of us do not feel safe around an individual who is different from us. In some cases, such as with people of color, those difference are easily identified, and those individuals are automatically stereotyped and reacted to without anyone getting to know what that individual is about. In more subtle cases, individuals that we once considered friends are now discriminated against when we find that their beliefs or practices are different from our own.
We often hear the mantra that we must "celebrate diversity." I am not sure that diversity is something we necessary need to celebrate rather than understand, and develop a sense that it provides opportunities for personal growth. Each of us has to find a way to increase our comfort zone with our fellow humans who might not be exactly the same as ourselves.
Taken from the introduction of the book "The Future of Learning," written by Eric Lose and published by the Just Community Initiative and the Office of the President.