Diversity. If I had a nickel for every time I heard this word during the last year, I would have traveled far away to a place with no news and live blissfully.
In our exceptionally verbal, exceedingly broadcasted collective life, it’s quite an achievement to overuse a word in the English vocabulary, and yet we’ve succeeded.
When listening to the many mentions of diversity, aliens might think that diversity is a new concept. “Hey, guess what? We've just discovered that life is more varied than we thought. So many different attitudes and principles. Who knew?”
When I say aliens, I mean Democratic/liberals who most likely live along the shorelines and have the ocean to escape to in times of trouble. The last elections revealed to them that diversity isn’t limited to the predictable, typical groups of immigrants, women, blacks, queers, but it includes ordinary Americans, who are also among these demographic groups that simply have a different outlook on life.
It is very honorable, not to mention scholar-istic, discussing diversity as an innovation catalyst in the industry and life while sitting in a contemporary designed living-room, or at a red-blue-white neon lighted TV studio. Citing research that has shown that being around people who are different from us makes us more creative, more diligent and harder-working. Doesn’t those ‘different people’ include Americans who have different priorities, beliefs, and values? If so, why we are not treating them the same?
When it comes to tolerance and accepting differences, why can’t we admit we are hypocrites?
Last week, President Donald J. Trump rescinded guidance that enabled transgender school children to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice regardless of their birth gender. By doing that the administration sent this issue back to the states and local schools to do what is best for their students.
I don’t mind universal bathrooms, just like in airplanes. I hate the long lines in the women’s bathrooms. I may or may not have used the men’s bathrooms in dire straits (e.g. intermission break). So folks, if we’ve found a way to share bathrooms at 36,000 feet, we can certainly compromise on solid ground. #GivePissAChance.
I wish for Gavin Grimm to win his case. Joshua Block, a senior staff attorney for the ACLU Nationwide, American Civil Liberties Union’s LGBT Project, said that Title IX, a federal statute, barring discrimination on the basis of “sex” in education protects transgender students. I hope the Supreme Court will agree.
Having said that, I also accept and respect the beliefs and values of people who think differently about this issue. They have the right to be heard and to disagree. It DOES NOT make them homophobic, ignorant, close-minded, intolerant, hateful human beings. It only makes the people who think that bigots.
America is vast enough for everyone. It is okay to live in a community with which you find more similarities than differences. It is also a good solution to relocate to a place where people share your values and beliefs.
Inclusion cannot be forced; it should be voluntarily accepted by individuals.
Maida Broadbent WilliamsYou are right that everyone is entitled to their own ideas, beliefs, and values; but how are people going to learn about and not be prejudice against someone who is different than they are if they have no interaction with and no awareness that they are people just like you and me.
Your children? Your spouse? Your parents? A friend? A pet? Your job? Your home? Your country? Yourself?
Whether you think about love all the time, some of the time, only during times of crisis or Valentine's Day (kinda crisis), the thought of love is powerful. Because regardless of your love subject, the moment LOVE comes to mind, a warm feeling overflows the body, and a soft smile appears. For a split-second or as long as it lingers, you feel delighted and fortunate.
We need love the most when we feel sad, disappointed, troubled, discontent, unsuccessful, and when things don’t go the way we want. So here is my Valentine's Day gift to you-
Print the image of LOVE below, and each day place it in a different location. A few weeks ago, I needed a reminder that no matter how bad things are, I can still feel overjoyed and lucky, even if it is only for a brief moment.
I had LOVE framed, and every day I move it around- I place it on the left side of my desk, then on the right. On the kitchen counter. On my night table. On the Livingroom table. On the bathroom shelf.
The trick is to have love pop up unexpectedly during your day and make you feel warmhearted.
Funny thing is to be an immigrant. On the one hand, for the last seven years I’m involved and invested in this country almost like a native born, on the other, I’m somewhat of a cultural observer.
One of the best perks of a cultural observer is to uncover meanings behind the cultural ways. So I’m happy to report my recent observations that wouldn’t be this much fun without interpretation.
Observation: CNN is systematically avoiding the morphological combination of ‘President Donald J. Trump’ in its website’s headings, and is reducing to a minimum its usage in the body of the articles.
Inference: Marilyn Ferguson wrote: “We have two strategies for coping; the way of AVOIDANCE or the way of ATTENTION.” CNN has found a way to do both simultaneously. The network is fixated on all things Trump, but cannot come to terms with him being President. The need for a New Age has never been greater.
Observation: 111.9 million people watched The Super Bowl on Sunday.
Inference: The other 213,639,686 Americans either watched Mixed Martial Arts or She-Devil.
Observation: President Trump fired acting AG Sally Yates after she announced that Justice Department lawyers would not defend the President’s executive order temporarily banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries against legal challenges. One of the principal duties of the Office of the Attorney General is to “Perform or supervise the performance of other duties required by statute or Executive Order.”
Inference: Sally Yates has pulled an Elliot Richardson with one difference. Mr. Richardson had resigned, and it became the defining moment of his career. It may also be a defining moment of James Robart’s career, the Judge who put a temporary hold on that travel ban order or even a critical point in the lawsuit history of the States of Washington and Minnesota. However, it may certainly NOT be a noteworthy event in Ms. Yates’ career.
Observation: During the Senate AG debate Elizabeth Warren repeatedly violated Senate Rule, which forbids members from defaming the character and motives of their colleagues. After warnings that she ignored, she lost her privileges to participate in the rest of the debate. Then she launched a media blitz to say that she was “silenced.”
Inference: My guess is that Elizabeth Warren carefully watched and decided that what works for the BDS and Yale’s cry-bullies would work for her. I understand that the Democrats are now giving Republicans a taste of their own medicine. They’ve both earned it. However, Ms. Warren’s idea of medicine is Euthanasia.
Observation: A couple of days ago, a friend asked me how I feel about my decision to immigrate to the United States. I answered that immigration is ground-shaking, all-encompassing experience, which means it will take more than three weeks of a new reality and a whole lotta noise to discourage me.
Inference: We share an incredible democracy like no other in the world. The perceived dichotomy between good/bad, Adorables/Deplorables, black/white, immigrant/native-born, democrats /republicans is belittling the broad spectrum in-between those definitions, in which we all live, love and do business. Hence we ought to be better. There isn't any other way.
May we all find the courage to listen and learn, and may CNN bravely face reality.
Jayne GilmoreVery well written. Welcome the the USA. I am very embarrassed by what is going on. In my 71 years I have never seen such immaturity in our supposed esteemed government spokespeople. It has become progressively worse these last 20 years but blocking freedom of speech at our universities is an eye opener of where we are headed. These are dangerous times and we need to get our priorities right, anarchy is not the answer. We need to focus on the true enemy, ISIS, who has declared war on our way of life and will try to do it from within. What part of that don't Americans understand? We should be better than this, to preserve our country for all who come to our shores to pursue a better life for all willing to join us. We must restore civility in order to work together for the benefit of all.
Victor BurgosIlove culture n cultures especially the Chinese there quiet talk low n u can't understand them anyway
5 months ago · 1
Margie ClarkSharon Nir, you sound like a lady and immigrant that we can be proud to have in this country. So very glad you think we are a country worth living in still after all this fighting. I've met people from England, Ireland, Scotland, South Africa, Nigeria, and Australia and found that they thought much higher of the USA now after visiting and meeting the real people of this country. The reputation that the news and politics has given our country has made other countries not think very highly of us. I'm hoping and praying that God will bless this country once again as Christians all turn to Him in prayer. Welcome to your newish home and please stay with us. I'd love to friend you on FB. I'm an old WAC Band member, so could be a little like another Granny to you. No spring chicken here.
Marcus Tullius Cicero, a Roman philosopher, politician, lawyer, political theorist, and constitutionalist, beautifully wrote: “The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.”
Some folks, such as yours truly, believe that history has a way of repeating itself. Therefore we should better reflect on the past, and try to be original in the future.
For this reason, every Sunday I read The Wall Street Journal obituaries section. You see, I think that inspiration, unlike life, has no expiration date.
This week I stumbled upon Brenda Barnes’ obituary. I had never heard of Ms. Barnes, but when I read about her choices and achievements, I felt encouraged.
In 1997, Ms. Barnes seemed destined for a CEO job at PepsiCo Inc., but then she resigned from her job after 22 years, saying she wanted more time with her children, who were aged 7, 8 and 10. During the Six and a half years of unemployment, she served on a few corporates boards and broadened her skills. Ms. Barnes returned to work as president of Sara Lee Corp.
The writer, James R. Hagerty, concluded that “Brenda Barnes’s best career move was quitting a great job.”
Seven years ago, I left a successful career and immigrated with my husband and two children to the United States. I knew that due to the broken immigration system I would not be permitted to work for at least five years, but I was determined to find a new meaning to my life. I studied for my MBA, graduated with honors and authored my first book.
I believe it is always possible to reposition or rejuvenate yourself. But the ability to succeed is strongly and positively correlated with the ability to overlook every concept you lived by that cannot fit into your new reality.
Like Ms. Barnes, I think that women can’t have it all. Men cannot have it all either. ‘Having-it-all’ is a concept developed by spoiled, prosperous, condescending, selfish society that experiencing a genuine difficulty in prioritizing.
If anything, WE CAN ALL HAVE A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING THAT TOGETHER MAKES A WHOLE. Every whole is unique and includes the things that each of us chooses to have. Don’t let anyone criticize your choices, or choose for you.
Reflect back on your life, and try not to repeat the same mistakes, instead, make new ones, fail and try again and again. Never give up. There is always a way, and you will find yours.
Ms. Barnes said that she never regretted her choice. The funny thing is that when the choices are yours, it is somewhat easier dealing with the consequences.
On Friday in a special edition of ABC 20/20, Diane Sawyer heard from hardworking Americans about the realities they face in their daily lives. I watched Ronnie Thomas who commutes 80 miles by bike, bus, and train every day because he can't afford to live near his work.
Chris Smith who works as a firefighter and as a paramedic in two different towns to support his family, and Gaylord who donates his blood plasma specifically for money because he needs the extra cash for various purposes such as buying his daughter a bathing suit and a cake for her birthday. Most foreign plasma companies’ home countries have banned the practice of paying money for plasma; so instead, they compensate Americans for their blood.
I wasn’t able to fall asleep that night. I was sinking in a sea of thoughts about the value of commitment, survival, endurance, perseverance, life and love. The things that make us wake up every morning and keep on going without giving up.
Then the sea waters were separated and opened up a path. How divided we are. What went wrong? Why was middle-class America overlooked for so long? Since when polished articulation is a substitute for bold actions?
I thought about the chasm between classes in America and the opportunities available for each class. I recognized that ALL THE HOPE IN THE WORLD WOULD NOT BE ENOUGH TO FIX SOCIAL INEQUALITY AND ECONOMIC INJUSTICE.
I felt outraged when I thought about American billionaires and American corporations who made their fortune specifically from middle and lower class Americans. Those forward-thinking individuals and companies are hypersensitive about the environment and in love with the concept of social reasonability, but a substantial portion of their business and charity investments are in foreign countries.
Why do those American companies not prioritize their homeland? Why are they not as sensitive to the misery of their fellow Americans as they are to the suffering of people in other nations? Does water pollution in Flint, Michigan different from water pollution in India or Africa? Does access to education is that different to lower class America than it is to the people in developing countries? Does America’s opioid crisis is less urgent than the global refugee crisis?
In the Halacha, the collective body of Jewish religious laws developed from the written and oral Torah, the phrase “The poor of your city take precedence” attempts to solve the ambiguity surrounding dual loyalty.
In cases where dual loyalty to values and moral principles exists, I would argue that the poor of your city come first. We should do whatever we can to ease the suffering of others, yet we ought to start at home. No, it doesn’t make us self-centered, it makes us equally humane.
The double standard became the 'new normal' of the Adorables in America. One can go above and beyond to be social, economic, and politically correct when defending concepts or people in other countries, but insensitive, thoughtless, and comfortably numb to the residents of his adjacent neighborhood.
The elite, executives of big corporations, some of the media outlets, many unmerited politicians, and rowdy celebrities that use their platform to attack everyone who doesn’t share their opinions or enjoy the same pastime activities they do, should take a road trip to the fly-over country and feel America. A good rule of thumb is that doing is better than talking.
The relocation from New York to New Mexico was the greatest eye-opening experience I had in my life. In NYC, I watched Breaking Bad, in Albuquerque I lived it. I can describe the difference between my Manhattan reality and my Southwest reality in many words; however, words can never simulate reality.
If those genuinely concerned individuals and corporations lived in hidden America for a little while, they would not only feel the need but also understand how great the people’s potential is.
Watch My Reality, A Hidden America on ABC 20/20 ABC News Diane Sawyer special report. ... See MoreSee Less
Eileen MonettiRonald Reagan broke the air traffic controllers union and that gave more and more companies the green light to do the same. Also, we opened up trade with China and they copied and made goods so much cheaper than we could . So manufacturing moved overseas and decent paying jobs went with it. Corporations only care about the bottom line and pleasing their shareholders. So unions went, healthcare disappeared, and so only lower paying jobs remained.
Sandy Dixon WheetleyThis is why Trump won! Glad your eyes were finally opened, we who live it have always understood .
6 months ago · 5
Gene LeslieThank God we now have a President that wants to and has brought back living wage jobs to America.
6 months ago · 4
Dinah SylvesterThis double - standard people does not get . People live with in their on little society and do not see what is out there in the poorer areas , but yet they want to get up on their pedestals and rant and rave that everything is just fine . People open your eyes !
Barbara Key HammillIn America, the Conservatives donate money AND CREATE jobs in America. The Liberals send their money over seas. Oprah donates to the African poor, to educate them, yet nothing for their food or housing.
Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have created thousands of jibes, as has Donald Trump, and ALL in America. Warren Buffett even buys faltering companies on the verge of bankruptcy and keeps them alive, and the employees keep their jobs. Sure he makes money, but America works because of him. Warren Buffett bought BNSF RAILROAD who was in bankruptcy, saving thousands of jobs, my daughter's job was one of them.
LONG LIVE THE FILTHY RICH!!
If you want Income Equality, EARN IT! The rich owe you (and me) NOTHING!
Catherine G. FaragThese are the people who propelled Trump to the Presidency! As Trump reminded all Americans during his inaugural address, while a few families enjoyed the benefits of their privileges, these poor jobless people were left to mend for themselves after their jobs were shipped abroad leaving them without any provisions for their future!!!! 70,000 factories have closed here in America due to NAFTA and their jobs shipped outside the country!!!!
“Immigrants to the US come from all corners of the world, and some arrive to our state to fill important needs like medical expertise. Immigrating with a spouse for work creates unique challenges.” I sat down with Sarah Gustavus, the producer of New Mexico in Focus, to talk about what happened when I needed to set aside my superwoman’s principals and create a new meaning to my life.
Idriss SmithThis is the Benifits of excepting people who will give greatness to our world and make it interesting for all of us, I'm so proud of those people of color in my world they saved my life on more than one occasion we should all embrace change it has far more positives.
A new year yields an opportunity to start over. It is a chance to redefine your boundaries and test how far you are willing to go to reach your dreams. During the years of my immigration process, I aimed for the stars (50 stars to be exact), and I had only one false-positive goal— I pledged “no return.” This single vow was my compass, my guide during the years of uncertainty and loss.
The cost of my decision to immigrate to the United States was high. A driven, independent, career oriented woman doesn’t like to be told where to live and raise her children, and she specifically doesn’t like to be forced to choose between her career and her family.
But I agreed to the terms and walked all over my early twenties’ values. I am glad I did. If I learned anything during my journey is that I am capable of so much more than I ever thought I was. And that, dear friends, is the most POWERFUL, INSPIRING, MEANINGFUL feeling in the world!!
Seven years after I pledged allegiance to “no return,” I am finally free to make a new vow. This year, I promise to reignite my career without making too many compromises.
From your comments and direct messages, I know that many of you needed to start over. In my book, I wrote: “No matter what prompts the need to shake a life, it is always possible to reposition or rejuvenate yourself. I learned the ability to succeed is strongly and positively correlated with the ability to overlook every concept you lived by that cannot fit into your new reality.”
It is not easy to go back to work after a long break, and for all of you who question “how am I going to do this?” I wrote the article below for the wonderful The Glass Hammer that helps individuals to build their career via advice, networking events and coaching.
What a terrific way to say goodbye to a year full of achievements- Thank you Deirdre Breakenridge for choosing my book, The Opposite of Comfortable, as one of the top reads of 2016!
Deirdre Breakenridge strives to increase awareness about current affairs and subjects that may not capture mainstream media’s attention but are not less significant and inspiring. Her contribution to the discussion about women's issues is both valuable and beneficial.
Over the past year, I wrote about the importance facts. Knowing the facts makes the difference between ignorance and wisdom and facts are the utmost important component when forming opinions.
The timely themes of my book: women and immigration will become even more relevant in 2017. I hope that my modest contribution to the pool of knowledge would make a difference in the way we feel about and treat others.
Deirdre BreakenridgeThank you, Sharon. It was both an honor and pleasure to have you as a guest on my show. I really enjoyed your book and learning more about your journey. Wishing you and yours all the best during the holidays and in 2017!
In my book, The Opposite of Comfortable, I described my immigration experience and shared that immigrants never feel fully belonged. But having a sense of belonging is a human need, and in our family, we find ways to save our traditions and cherish our past, while we adapt and adjust to our permanent American culture.
There are some exceptional benefits of knowing other cultures and raising worldly-wise children as I reminded this weekend.
My daughter is an 8th-grade student at 21st Century Public Academy, a charter school in Albuquerque, NM. Since its foundation in 2000, the school has done outstanding work in serving a diverse population and promoting tolerance, inclusion, and acceptance of the differences between people.
On Saturday, the school’s newly-founded band orchestrated by the incredible music teacher, Mr. Ken Johnson, gave a Christmas performance at the local Barnes & Noble branch.
While watching, I realized that the lead singer, my Jewish, Israeli-American daughter was singing ‘Feliz Navidad’ a Spanish Christmas carol!
Never once she’d referred to the content of the performance, the language or the fact that Christmas is mostly a Christian holiday. My cosmopolitan girl doesn’t view religion, language, traditions, gender or color as barriers between people, but she sees them as growth opportunities.
For the performance, each band member chose a song. My daughter, who is a huge fan of The Beatles, selected "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" by John Lennon and Yoko Ono. She paid tribute to John Lennon on the 36th anniversary of his death.
She’s only thirteen, but she has lived in many different places to know that people are not so much different from one another and that we all share the basic needs of love and peace.
No matter where you are, what color is your skin, what is your religion, sexual orientation or ethnicity- Happy Holidays loved ones!