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“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to accept and celebrate those differences.” — Audre Lorde
Why is that? Why do we have such a difficult time with the neighbor of a different race, the co-worker of a different sexual identity, the kids’ friend of a different ethnicity? My suggestion to you is that our struggle to accept differences is a learned response. It’s really just fear of the unfamiliar, the unknown. The good news is that what we can learn, we can unlearn, and replace with something healthier.
Take it from a Northerner/Californian/Floridian who moved to the strong culture of the Deep South. While I still have trouble celebrating grits (although those cheesy ones have a lot going for them), I have opened myself to delight in bluegrass music, to appreciate the easy-going helpfulness of my neighbors, and to befriend folks with deep Southern roots that are very different from my own.
In your own life, how might you put aside your fears, and celebrate the differences in others? Can you start today?