The VigilanceVoice  

Sunday.. January 21, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 131

The Disappearance of Diversity
Cliff McKenzie
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

        Helena, Mont.--It is a white world here.   Not like New York City.   New York City is diverse.   All colors, all shapes, all sizes of people inhabit every corner.   But not in Helena, Montana.
        I walk down the streets and look around for diversity.  It doesn't exist.   At least, not to my eyes, or ears, or sense of smell.
       It is Martin Luther King Day.   But not in Helena, Montana.   There are no parades.   There are no sounds of cheers from the black community, because there is none to speak of.  
      Diversity has disappeared--for the moment.
      There is a Terrorism in an environment of all one kind of people.   You begin to think your way is the "right way,"--that other ways are "foreign, alien."
      While I do not pretend to want to understand the Terrorists, or their narrow point-of-view, I can comprehend it.   When you have an exclusive society--one that excludes other points of view--your ethnic veins harden.   Your resistance to change grows thicker.   Your "white," or "black" or "yellow," or "brown" attitude stiffens when threatened by the insurgency of the color or ethnic palette.
       Helena, Montana is a bubble.   It holds diversity prisoner.   It recognizes it, but doesn't embrace it. 
       I think of Martin Luther King's vision to the future.   He saw a world of diversity, where people accepted one another on face value, rather than the color of their skin or religious beliefs or economic status.
       Terrorists killed him.
       They flew their jet planes into his body, trying to kill his "I-have-a-dream" beliefs, convictions, and actions.   Whether it was one person who acted, or a major conspiracy to silence the leader of a movement which shook the foundations of white America, the result was the same.   Terrorism failed.
       Instead of crippling the will of the people who walked in Martin Luther King's shadow, it bolstered it.   The world rallied around his cause.   His death catapulted the move for equality, accelerated it, even exaggerated it so that the laws favored the minorities and eventually discriminated against the majority.
forcing a white backlash to rise up in the aftermath.
        Yet Terrorism did not take root.   Its goal of inflicting fear, intimidation and complacency resulted in the growth of courage, conviction and action.   Slowly, the world of non-diversity became diverse.   Black and white and yellow and brown melted into one pot.   The rights of one group began to equalize across the board--including the rights of women and children, the elderly--and even today, the rights of prisoners of "war."
        Today's headlines scream for the equality of treatment of Taliban prisoners, a circuitous pathway leading back to the challenges Martin Luther King made against prejudice, bigotry and inequality in American life.
        I see the impact of MLK's work in my children's attitude.  They accept things I still find hard to agree with--abortion rights of women, gay rights, the equality of all, the depreciation of violence--example, time outs rather than spankings for children.
       Equality, as envisioned by MLK, has reached deep into the roots of modern Americans.  It no longer is viewed as a racial issue, but as humanitarian rights for the oppressed, and the cleaving of antediluvian attitudes about race, religion, ethnicity and sexual preference.  
       Yet there are places like Helena, Montana where you see little of diversity.   It is talked about, but it doesn't exist when you walk down the street, or eavesdrop on conversations. It makes you aware of how powerful diversity is when it is absent.  You see a narrow point of view rather than a broad one, you see a rainbow with only one color.
        Our "war" today with the Taliban is not unlike the battle MLK fought.   Hopefully, we are trying to bring "freedom" to a people chained to a past of "non-diversity."   But I wonder if the people of that country really want diversity.   Helena, Montana really doesn't want it, or, it would have it.   It doesn't lay the red carpet out for people of different races, colors or creeds.    My former home, Orange County, California didn't either. 
       MLK might be physically dead, just as the victims of the Terrorist attack of September 11 are dead--but his memory lives as a Sentinel of Diversity.   MLK Day is about equality, or all kinds, shapes, sizes.
      Just as strongly as we celebrate MLK Day, I believe we should honor September 11th not as Patriot's Day, but as Sentinels Of Vigilance Day.    As MLK watches over Equality, so I believe those who sacrificed their lives on Nine Eleven stand in defense of Vigilance--the art of fighting fear with courage, intimidation with conviction, and complacency with action.

Go To Daily Diary, Jan. 20--THE OLD WOLF OF VIGILANCE

©2001 - 2004,, All rights reserved -  a ((HYYPE)) design