Respect For Diversity
I sent this letter out, several years back, to a hard-working, hyphenated American citizen whose worth had been maligned by an insensitive comment. The content is appropriate for today.
Dear Mrs. Young McCoy
First, Thank you for the great haircut. You always do nice work. I had pause to think of your comments last Wednesday regarding some silly customer who treated you badly because you are an Asian-American.
It isn’t you who should be embarrassed by silly people like this, but rather we who were born here who should be embarrassed for this ill-bred creature, for her bad manners and ignorance.
My own people came to this land many years ago, poor and seeking a better life. Like you, they put their shoulders to the wheel, and with their own two hands, created an admirable slice of the American dream where their families could prosper. The hard work of their efforts, like yours as well, make this a better country, one where people of many diverse back ground can live and prosper together.
The Good Lord in his infinite wisdom made all of us different on this great big planet. Mary and I have been fortunate to travel to many countries and enjoy the diverse variety of peoples with languages, cultures and looks that are different than ours. In each of these places, the very gracious people who lived there took us in and treated us with kindness and hospitality. We learned to enjoy their many languages and customs for the variety and interest that it brought to our lives. It gave us a better appreciation for the beauty and interest of diversity.
I can’t say that I know a lot of Korean- Americans. But those that I have met, like you, are a valued and pleasant addition to America. This great land of ours is a nation of immigrants from many, many countries across this earth. Those who came here were often poor and seeking a better way of life. They also were often the “best and the brightest” that the culture of their native land could offer. Their hard work, their ability and their efforts carved out a great nation from the wilderness of the North American continent. And often, when this nation was called to war to defend itself or other allies from tyrants, the ranks of those who bled and died for liberty were many times those self-same immigrants who came here seeking freedom. Their sacrifices live on today in the freedoms that we all enjoy in America.
I can’t speak for an entire nation but only for myself. The learning, culture and traditions of hard work and sacrifice that you and your family brought here are both admired and appreciated. The world will always have silly people who say stupid things. Treat them with forbearance, for the ignorant will always be among us. Meanwhile the rest of us think you are pretty special. Thanks for coming to America to help make this a better place to live.
Joseph Xavier Martin-