2 September 2015
This morning, on a gloomy what is supposed to be a bright Spring Day, I read an article about Target (a USA retailer) deciding to not have “boys” and “girls” sections in their toy department any longer. This decision was taken n support of a more “gender neutral” approach being advocated globally. To me it seemed quite frankly ludicrous, as under the guise of “inclusiveness” a statement is in fact made that being specific about gender is somehow wrong.
There are of course much more serious issues than a toy store to reflect on, such as people fleeing their countries due to persecution (in some cases genocide), political and economic unrest globally (and in our own country), and serious indications of the erosion of social capital.
The diagram above is my attempt to share my own attempt at making sense of some of these issues. The perspective taken is that “forced” integration is not the opposite of “forced” segregation, but that both forced segregation and forced integration are driven by the same underlying worldview. Specifically, my sense is that both of these perspectives are informed by some form of prejudice (which more often than not is justified in some logical manner). At the root of this is an inherent belief that individuals cannot make smart choices for themselves, and therefore need some “activist” group to speak on their behalf. More often than not, some “moral” or “ethical” reasoning forms the basis for these groups assuming the role of having to think for others. This is, in my view, nothing other than attempts at social engineering by a new breed of “intellectuals”.
On the other end of the spectrum may be a worldview of true inclusiveness and tolerance for / acceptance of diversity. This worldview is based on the core assumption that people are able to make their own decisions (and must take personal accountability for those decisions). It therefore suggests to people that they have the right (and responsibility) to make decisions that are appropriate for them. Rather than “force” people to do things in a specific way, let the consequences of their actions help them make smarter choices for themselves.
As with most things, I suspect that being human also means we will not be able to consistently take one position versus the other, but that each of us will for some issues find ourselves more to the side of “no freedom of association and disassociation” and at other times more to the side of “freedom of association and disassociation”. I am therefore not suggesting that we can or should strive for a particular perspective, but rather that we at least be deliberate and mindful about the choices we make.
Note : In the aptly named website CALLING THROUGH THE FOG, Tom Eaton wrote a really insightful comment called Entitlement 101 in which he explores the same dilemma from a very different perspective.