We approached Sandra Roberts, a teacher at Cleveland NJROTC and the
director of Black Ink (an after-school outreach center housed in a former storefront in Dutchtown), to see if some of her students would be interested in putting together some writings based around the idea of "community." The form those would take could be left to them: essays, poetry or any other form that they'd be happy to work in.
A month later, we got a handful of responses back, including the following two offerings (themselves a study in diversity of form) from Cleveland student Stephen Warmack.
Personification of America
He opens the door of his fancy ass car,
Stepped out looking like some kind of star.
You can just tell he's a playa by the clothes he be wearin',
And by his jewelry, it all be a-glarin'.
So sit back and you all pay attention,
And listen up if you care to know the definition
Of a man who can't be touched by the competition,
Of a man who is truly the personification
Of America, the home of the red, white, and blue,
The land where any person can start their life anew.
He wakes up, gets dressed, and starts out his daily routine,
Heads to the gym and gets on the weightlifting machines.
He's strong as a raging bull getting ready to strike
Or Mike Tyson getting ready to bite.
Next he heads down to the lower gym
To show off his mad skill and get high above the rim.
He got a good workout and decided to leave.
He got outside and sat on a bench next to a tree.
He started to think about the men who have given their life
So that our life wouldn't be full of constant strife.
America truly is a free country,
And really is the sweet land of liberty.
A country where we are free to do what we want
Like so many other countries in the world are not.
For perfect example in the country of Afghan
It is ruled by the Taliban.
I will not die, I will not fall,
As long as God is in rule of us all.
According to Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, the meaning of the word diversity is "the condition of being diverse." I could choose to interpret this definition, and write an essay on it, but this would be a waste of time and energy. It is not the way I feel about diversity. Diversity is what makes people different than everyone else.
Everyone being different from one another is not a bad thing. A person's uniqueness is what makes them special. If everyone were the same, the World would be full of robots. Robots that walk the same, talk the same, act the same, and say the same thing. Now what fun is that?
Being a white kid from the county, coming out to a city school was a pretty tough transition for me, at first. But when I decided to put ethnic background and race behind me, I started making many new friends, and things started to run smoothly for me. It ended up not being a bad change, but rather a great change.
If you think about it, what is color for real? It's just someone's outer appearance. Everyone has a personality that is much more important. Take the game of hockey, or any team game for example. When on a team you don't care what color your teammate is, or where he's from, or what race he is, you just want to make the team better so you can achieve the ultimate goal, win. They achieve this goal by working together. They don't achieve it by fighting, or bickering, or arguing.
Now take the World into perspective. Wouldn't it be a much more enjoyable place if every human being worked together as one big team, not worrying about their "teammates'" color, race, or ethnic background. No doubt this would be a very difficult thing to do, but I believe that it can be achieved.
Will it be achieved? Probably not, but is it really that hard? We could all start by just saying something nice to someone who is upset, or holding a door open for an elderly person. This might not seem like a very big deal, but if everyone were to do it, it would make a HUGE difference in society.
The past few hundred years have really affected peoples' view about race, color, and diversity. The simple truth is that the past is the past, and cannot be changed. The future lies ahead, and this is what can be changed for the better.