This I Believe

malcolm - fountain, Colorado
Entered on April 20, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65

Dear This I Believe,

I believe in celebrating heritage. I think it is important to know who we are and where we came from. I dream, however, of a day when we do not look at a playing field, a band performance, a spelling bee, or a math competition like taxonomic calculators.

A hall of fame baseball player spoke on national television of his concern over the falling number of his ethnic group in Major League Baseball. His warning included a forecast for lost fan base should the trend continue, the implication being why would people of color support entertainment of which they are not players.

The notion made me stop for pause. I love the artistry and precision of high level basketball. Would the same apply to me? Should I no longer attend games because my race is in the minority, participation wise? I think not. I will continue to go, I will continue to support, and I will continue to enjoy. I may not be able to jump, but I can appreciate those that can just the same, and why not? Art is art, skill is skill, and entertainment for me is colorblind.

I do not understand the condition the ex major-leaguer suggests. Am I strange, am I different? Why is it that my enjoyment as audience should be qualified by how many performers look and act just like me? I would never go to the opera, if that were the case. I might never visit the symphony, appreciate the theater, or clap for a spelling bee champion. I am not offended when an accent is different than mine. I am not chagrined when the person across from me has different skin tone, facial features, or dietary preference. Believing in, supporting and celebrating diversity means just that.

We live in a small community next to Fort Carson Army Post in Colorado. The army is multi-cultural by nature, and its influence in my neighborhood is unmistakable. I cannot tell you how nice it is to see my children walk to school with children of all races, creeds, and colors. Not once have they come home from school to report to me how many of this, or that are part of their group, and I believe in that untainted view.

I read a headline after the horrible tragedy at Virginia Tech University. It said South Koreans fear retribution because the shooter was one of them. This mentality is mind-boggling. Blaming South Koreans and seeking retribution from them for what happened in Blacksburg is beyond misguided, it is ludicrous, in my mind. South Koreans as a race are no more responsible than any other. We are all part of the human race, for that matter.

While some circumstances and situations certainly warrant our attention, I think many cases would be better served if we would pay more attention to the forest, and not the trees.

This I believe.