Sunday.. January 21, 2002—Ground
Zero Plus 131
Disappearance of Diversity
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
is a white world here. Not like New York City.
New York City is diverse. All colors, all shapes,
all sizes of people inhabit every corner. But not
in Helena, Montana.
I walk down the streets
and look around for diversity. It doesn't exist.
At least, not to my eyes, or ears, or sense of smell.
It is Martin Luther King
Day. But not in Helena, Montana. There
are no parades. There are no sounds of cheers from
the black community, because there is none to speak of.
Diversity has disappeared--for
There is a Terrorism in an environment
of all one kind of people. You begin to think your
way is the "right way,"--that other ways are "foreign,
While I do not pretend to want
to understand the Terrorists, or their narrow point-of-view,
I can comprehend it. When you have an exclusive
society--one that excludes other points of view--your ethnic
veins harden. Your resistance to change grows thicker.
Your "white," or "black" or "yellow,"
or "brown" attitude stiffens when threatened by the
insurgency of the color or ethnic palette.
Helena, Montana is a bubble.
It holds diversity prisoner. It recognizes it, but
doesn't embrace it.
I think of Martin Luther
King's vision to the future. He saw a world of diversity,
where people accepted one another on face value, rather than
the color of their skin or religious beliefs or economic status.
Terrorists killed him.
They flew their jet planes
into his body, trying to kill his "I-have-a-dream"
beliefs, convictions, and actions. Whether it was
one person who acted, or a major conspiracy to silence the leader
of a movement which shook the foundations of white America,
the result was the same. Terrorism failed.
Instead of crippling the
will of the people who walked in Martin Luther King's shadow,
it bolstered it. The world rallied around his cause.
His death catapulted the move for equality, accelerated it,
even exaggerated it so that the laws favored the minorities
and eventually discriminated against the majority.
forcing a white backlash to rise up in the aftermath.
Yet Terrorism did
not take root. Its goal of inflicting fear, intimidation
and complacency resulted in the growth of courage, conviction
and action. Slowly, the world of non-diversity became
diverse. Black and white and yellow and brown melted
into one pot. The rights of one group began to equalize
across the board--including the rights of women and children,
the elderly--and even today, the rights of prisoners of "war."
scream for the equality of treatment of Taliban prisoners, a
circuitous pathway leading back to the challenges Martin Luther
King made against prejudice, bigotry and inequality in American
I see the impact
of MLK's work in my children's attitude. They accept things
I still find hard to agree with--abortion rights of women, gay
rights, the equality of all, the depreciation of violence--example,
time outs rather than spankings for children.
Equality, as envisioned
by MLK, has reached deep into the roots of modern Americans.
It no longer is viewed as a racial issue, but as humanitarian
rights for the oppressed, and the cleaving of antediluvian attitudes
about race, religion, ethnicity and sexual preference.
Yet there are places like
Helena, Montana where you see little of diversity.
It is talked about, but it doesn't exist when you walk down
the street, or eavesdrop on conversations. It makes you aware
of how powerful diversity is when it is absent. You see
a narrow point of view rather than a broad one, you see a rainbow
with only one color.
today with the Taliban is not unlike the battle MLK fought.
Hopefully, we are trying to bring "freedom" to a people
chained to a past of "non-diversity."
But I wonder if the people of that country really want diversity.
Helena, Montana really doesn't want it, or, it would have it.
It doesn't lay the red carpet out for people of different races,
colors or creeds. My former home, Orange County,
California didn't either.
MLK might be physically
dead, just as the victims of the Terrorist attack of September
11 are dead--but his memory lives as a Sentinel of Diversity.
MLK Day is about equality, or all kinds, shapes, sizes.
Just as strongly as we celebrate
MLK Day, I believe we should honor September 11th not as Patriot's
Day, but as Sentinels Of Vigilance Day. As
MLK watches over Equality, so I believe those who sacrificed
their lives on Nine Eleven stand in defense of Vigilance--the
art of fighting fear with courage, intimidation with conviction,
and complacency with action.
To Daily Diary, Jan. 20--THE OLD WOLF OF VIGILANCE