Words are best defined in context, and “diversity” is no exception.
Now, I might not be a fan of everything that has come from the societal, political push toward quote-unquote diversity, but I have to believe that diversity, in its purest form, is a better value than free speech. On the road recently, I came to Harrison, Arkansas—a few miles from the site of the national HQ of the (reportedly) largest manifestation¹ of the KKK. It was no surprise, then, when I sighted just south of Harrison a billboard that boldly proclaimed a very un-diverse message:
Imagine then my lack of surprise at the “diversity” manifest in the apparently competing billboard less than a mile closer in to town.
IS A CODE WORD FOR
I’m not even sure what that means, but it’s clear that there is, or was, a billboard war going on. At least the sign pictured above has apparently been displayed for more than a year, to the chagrin of most Harrison residents. Is there racial diversity in and around Harrison? Sure there is. Is there a “Christian” (the quote marks here indicate affiliative Christianity, as opposed to the bona fide kind) person in the KKK in Harrison? I imagine so. Are there warring factions in the town’s polity? It seems so.
In our society, racial diversity is frequently connected to justice. It might even be assumed that a diverse group has enjoyed some measure of justice, or else it would not be diverse. The matter is of course not that simple, but I can affirm that intentionally just/fair, kind, and dare-I-say merciful treatment of others is involved in a healthy diverse group. Lately I’ve been confronted—based both on reading and pondering, and also by the words of a few correspondents—by thoughts of justice. How will I as a would-be follower of the Messiah affirm the just treatment of people and even decry injustice? What will this look like in my life?
I’m especially interested in diversity and good, kind, just action within smaller groups. How will I do with differences in a small, local body of Christians? In a small workplace? In a town? As conscientiously, intentionally apolitical as I am, I do exist within various polities, and it is incumbent on me to live in a positive, productive, peaceful way within all groups, inasmuch as it depends on me.
¹ I did my internet-writer duty and looked it up on Wikipedia. Some northern readers might find it hard to believe that the KKK still really exists, but I already knew that. I learned that “three distinct past and present movement” comprise the KKK, and that there is currently more than one KKK organization.