From Chapter 13: The Diversity Imperative
Start Where You Are…
My love of humanity starts unapologetically with my people because I understand our struggle, which continues to this very day. But on the battlefield of race and class, injustice and exclusion, Black people are not exclusive targets.
It is the memory of Dr. King that encourages me to sound the clarion call for political accountability. Too many conversations revolve around the concerns of the rich and lucky or the so-called middle class. Few talk about the poor, the disenfranchised, or the underprivileged. The “haves” get attention, while the “have-nots” languish out of sight.
Too many Americans keep insisting that we must “take our country back.” They yearn for the “good ol’ days,” forgetting (or ignoring) that those days weren’t so good for red, Black, and brown folk. Others are boiling mad over immigration. It’s a waste of energy. No fence, no wall, no amount of troops along the border will ever dim the constitutional promise of liberty, freedom, and opportunity for all. Let’s face it: No one’s going anywhere!
In 2010, Forbes magazine cited U.S. Census figures to make the argument that diversity needs to be a high priority in this country. By the year 2050, racial/ethnic minorities (Latinos at 30 percent, African Americans at 12 percent, and Asian Americans at 8 percent) will comprise 55 percent of America’s working-age population. In a world where China and India are superpowers and the marketplace is global, we need to prepare a cadre of colorful emissaries to help this country remain relevant in the 21st century and beyond.
Dr. King’s operational definition of love means that everyone is worthy—just because. It’s not about titles, wealth, or skin color. LOVE means everyone is worthy—just because.
A similar theme was found in the 2005 editorial, “How the Civil Rights Movement affected U.S. immigration,” published by the Sound Vision Foundation, a nonprofit religious organization dedicated to producing constructive and educational Islamic media content.
Beginning with the familiar words, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” the commentary reads: “Until the 1960s, this famous inscription which is found on the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor—the site where many immigrants arrived in America in the early 20th century—applied only to whites. But thanks to the country’s Civil Rights Movement, among other factors, immigrants of all colors were welcomed into the country.”
This civil rights emphasis on human rights brought world attention to America’s exclusion of all nonwhite immigrants, the commentary stresses. Discriminatory laws that restricted the freedoms of Black people also stifled the ambitions of darker-skinned immigrants, women, Hispanics, Asians, lesbians, gays, and transgendered; they served to choke off basic human rights for all Americans.