Being Diverse Together


Jose Aponte, Staff Writer

When we are young we are taught about the diversity in plants and animals. We study their wonder and beauty. But what does diversity actually mean?

We have all heard the word diversity before. Some of us have used it at our jobs or at school when referring to race or orientation equality. The word diversity can be used in reference to an ideology, or a variety in things like plants and animals.

Fundamentally, our society accepts diversity in plants and animals because it’s all around us. There isn’t much we have to do but to observe it and understand that it is diverse. Without it the world would not be the same spinning blue ball we have come to know and love.

Humanity has gone to great lengths to celebrate itself for its intelligence and abilities. We award ourselves for art, literature and science. Yes, we have done wondrous things with our intellect. Why is it so difficult to accept diversity in ourselves? Why can’t we apply the same intellect?

Over the span of human history, the only constant is change.

There have been many changes to our diversity throughout time. Some of these changes came slowly, while others came bloody. The only thing they had in common was that they were all inevitable.

I feel this is partly due to the possibility that as our understanding of ourselves grow, so does our tolerance. As we see that we are more alike our hate for that which we do not understand lessens.  We have all been witness to our most current change in diversity. Whether we like it or not, the pendulum has shifted.

The battle for acceptance into the fold of society is the fight song of the LGBTQIA community. At one time this particular group was persecuted to the extreme and made to hide along the fringes of society.

Growing up in New York City, I remember how they were treated. They, the LGBTQIA community, was generally looked down upon like they made the wrong choice in their lives. At times they were chased down and beaten because of who they were.

The HIV and AIDS epidemic didn’t help welcome the so called outcasts. It was looked at as a gay disease and because we didn’t understand the how’s and why’s they were thrown out even farther from society.

It wasn’t until leading man Rock Hudson received an AIDS diagnosis in 1985 that our attitudes about the disease turned around. HIV and AIDS wasn’t an illness for “them” anymore.

Now we understand and accept that who they are is not a choice, it’s just who they are. It was only our perception of the LGBTQIA community that was wrong. Today nearly every large city in America has a Pride parade of some kind.

On the 15th anniversary of the September 11th terror attacks there were protests during the national anthem at NFL games over racial inequality.

The Islamic Center of Fort Pierce Florida was set on fire and badly damaged just because Omar Mateen prayed there.

A woman wearing traditional Muslim garments had her clothes set on fire by a man with a lighter as she shopped on Fifth Avenue.


While the majority of the terrorists we have been fighting with over the last 15 years are Muslim, not all Muslims are terrorists.

Can’t we as a society accept all humans regardless of race, color or sexual orientation as part of our collective diversity and celebrate it?

I would like to ask you, what does it mean to be truly equal?

To be equal is to have a measurement of something and be in balance with that you are measuring.

That being said, why is this such an impossible concept for our society to grasp?

White, black, red, brown, rich or poor, are we that petty that we cannot see beyond the superficial color of a person’s skin or income level to see that they are equal?

We are all the same, we are of the human race. It is our diversity that makes us different.

I am a product of the welfare system, I am originally from  Puerto Rico and I grew up in one of the rougher neighborhoods in Brooklyn, NY; however, I do not, nor have I ever, allowed my income level or nationality control who I am or my choices in life. I do what I do to better myself, my fellow man and the world.

Just cause you from the ghetto, don’t mean you gotta act like it.