The Huron Valley School system, which includes the town of Milford, Michigan, where I live, is celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day in a big way this year. There will be a parade down Main Street, a rally in the park, a free luncheon, exhibits of artwork and a series of speakers at Milford High School. (See the Milford Times article Area march honors civil rights by Aileen Wingbald.) There's more. Ms. Wingbald writes: ". . . many area restaurants will offer a discount to customers wearing a civil rights movement pledge bracelet, available for $1 at local stores . . ."
Students and community members were invited to submit essays and speeches. An advertisement for the day of celebration mentions "cash prizes along with performance/showcase opportunities." In addition, there will be three special speakers: Haaris Ahmad from the Council on American Islamic Relations; Kevin Saunderson, a key figure of the "techno" musical genre; and Fleurette King, who is described as being "known for presentations on cultural diversity, social justice and more."
Milford is not the small town I grew up in anymore. It's an upscale retreat from the darkening suburbs closer to Detroit. Main Street is lined with jewelry stores and fancy restaurants. The green fields I used to roam are now subdivisions with million dollar houses.
I don't share in that affluence, but I still like living here. The people are friendly enough, except for a few a**holes who like to insult pedestrians from their car windows. We have a modest amount of racial diversity but no one makes a big deal out of it. If my favorite bar hires a black DJ, that's not a problem. If "Chico Rico Suave" want's to shoot some pool, hey, why not. My brother's Lebanese buddy was actually born here many years ago. His folks were from Lebanon, I think. (They are Christian. That makes a difference. Muslims in full Muslim regalia would have trouble fitting in.) Some people here are of full or mixed American Indian background. I usually can't tell just by looking, however. I know this because about four years ago the very same "diversity people" now providing us with this great MLK-abration were agitating to get the Milford High School mascot changed from "Redskins" to something else. There was a big town meeting about that issue. A number of local residents said they had some significant percentage of American Indian ancestry, but that they were not offended by the "Redskins" name and wanted it kept.
Yet we Milford folks still suffer from a problem that always plagues small towns: There are many things about the world outside that we just don't know about. This is what I call the Carnival Problem. The carnival comes to town and we think it's all about amusement rides, bright lights and cotton candy. We don't know that the people operating the "games" are very skilled at manipulating people in order to get their money. By the time we all figure out what the racket is, the carnies are off to another small town to pull their scams on yet another unsuspecting community.
The greatest illustration of small town gullibility has got to be the episode of the "Simpsons" TV show where a slick con-artist sells the city of Springfield a monorail. He does a little song and dance routine, and pretty soon everyone at the town meeting is chanting, "Monorail, monorail, monorail."
Fleurette King is part of the diversity industry. If you haven't studied it, you have no idea how huge it is. Many people rake in huge amounts of money from it. They have seminars, conferences, meetings, associations, institutes, you name it. They are always coming up with bold new initiatives, in other words, more and more opportunities to get their friends and allies on the payroll. You might think, by reading the Milford Times article, that the events planned for January 16 are all about "a community-wide celebration of diversity, peace, service to others and civil rights." Yeah, sure. Just keep up with the chant: "Monorail, monorail, monorail."
The second thing you need to know about Fleurette King and her fellow diversity-mongers is that they use psychologically manipulative techniques to change people's ideas. It's not a rational citizen-to-citizen exchange of opinions along the lines of, "Here is what I think and why, point A, point B, point C which bring us to conclusion D." There is some of that, but the bulk of the work is accomplished in "workshop" type settings. Here is an example from a PDF document, Hate Crimes and Institutional Racism Student workshops about the extremes of racism, that I found on the web:
For the first activity of the day conference attendees headed to the gym, where they observed approximately 30 students go through the diversity exercise The Level Playing Field. During this activity, participants were told to hold hands as long as possible and to take a step forward or backwards depending on their answers to questions, such as Have you ever been stopped by the police because of your race?; Can your parents afford to buy you a new winter coat each year? Do you ever have to consider whether or not a place is wheelchair accessible before you go somewhere with your family?; and Can you easily find Band-Aids that match your skin color? Most of the questions focused on race and class; by the end of the activity, all present were overwhelmed by watching students unwillingly drop one another's hands as the distance grew between participants based on their answers to questions about their daily experiences. The following break-out sessions allowed students and teachers to discuss their reactions to this activity and to discuss how society privileges some groups while putting others at a disadvantage. Those who participated in the activity talked about the distress they felt at being left behind, watching friends fall behind and having to drop another's hand because of the way society is structured. By the time participants were ready to head to lunch, they had a strong emotional and intellectual understanding of the way racism and other -isms in our society don't have to be blatant in order to do harm.Actually, the student participants in this exercise had no "intellectual understanding" of their experience. They were manipulated into adopting certain ideas without realizing the extent of the manipulation. Fleurette King, by the way, was one of the "facilitators" of these exercises.
The students were also subjected to grisly accounts of things such as the dragging death of James Byrd and the "beating and crucifixion of Matthew Shepard." Subjecting school children to such things in order to change their opinions is, in my opinion, close to criminal. But, of course, if horror stories are to become part of our dialogs about race, I could mention more than one or two. Let's see. The Wichita Massacre, Colin Ferguson, the Zebra Killings, Willie Horton. Oh, yes, and let's not forget Bonner Park up in Flint. I think it would be most edifying to bring these and similar events into any discussion of diversity and all its wondrous benefits.
The third thing to understand is that the diversity freaks are seriously dedicated to an agenda of transformation. They want to transform individuals, institutions and society itself. They generally don't advertise their full agenda to the public at large. They talk about getting along with "diverse others," or about the educational benefits of "diversity," and so on, but they never describe the kind of society they are working towards.
Now, like the Beatles sang in their song "Revolution," "We all want to change the world." Some of us revolutionary types are honest about what kind of changes we would like and how we think they should be accomplished. Take, just for example, the Socialist Labor Party of America. They advocate a homegrown, non-Leninist, essentially peaceful "revolution at the polls." When I was a Sophomore at Milford High back in '63, I went through a phase where I went to school every day with a pocketful of their pamphlets. My parents took me to a few of their picnics. And, no, I don't agree with their political ideas but I'll say this: They are one of the most honest political groups I've ever encountered. The "diversity" creeps are the exact opposite: sneaky, powerful, rich and always trying to fool us.
I know, some people in this once little town have opinions that might be contrary to certain ideas promoted by Ms. King and her ilk. On occasion, those opinions might be the result of simple prejudice. They might, at times, sound like gross generalities. Most people are not well practiced in the art of precisely stating how they think or feel. So what? Even those of us capable of being "politic, cautious and meticulous" (from The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. Eliot, TS 1917.) will often speak in general terms simply to avoid the tedium of enumerating every possible exception.
Sometimes our beliefs are not prejudices -- they are observations built up from long experience. There certainly are a number of black people who are well-educated, very likable and who get along fine living in mostly white communities. On the other hand, a low-IQ black welfare mother with eight children would probably not fit in. There would be difficulties. Resentments would build up. "Racism" would become an issue. We white people have trouble enough with white people with low intelligence, criminal tendencies or other negative character traits. Add racial differences to the mix and the difficulties are multiplied. In other words, "diversity," of the kind promoted by diversity-mongers like Fleurette King is actually of little value.
I don't want my personal interactions mediated, enlightened, enhanced, improved, transformed or transfigured by the likes of Fleurette King. I don't want members of her industry to have anything at all to do with the education of students in the Huron Valley. The concepts of common decency and common mutual respect are easy enough to understand. With a bit of effort, most humans can learn to put them into practice.
There have always been some pretty smart people in this town. The recently arrived "yuppies," as I like to call them, are also a pretty smart bunch and they also bring a certain element of "diversity" with them. Now we enjoy a great variety of personalities, skills, interests, beliefs, habits, mannerisms and political opinions. We can accept individuals of various races who want to live here. But large scale changes in the racial or ethnic character of Milford would probably not make it a better place. And the teachings of diversity-mongers like Fleurette King will definitely not make us better people.
Addendum, August 6, 2007:
The horror stories continue. Consider the kidnapping, rape, torture and murder of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom in Knoxville, Tennessee earlier this year. See Horror and Significance: Thoughts About Tim Wise and Knoxville for a few relevant links.
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