The word different is defined as, not alike in character or quality; distinct in nature; dissimilar. When applied to people, it is defined as, unlike most others, unusual. People can be different in race, personality, size, and gender. When you look at the meaning of the word different, being unlike most others, you would think that would be a good thing. Standing out from the crowd, and being different should get you noticed, and help you get on to a better life. Companies are always talking about increasing diversity in their hiring practices. However, this is usually not the case, in the real world, where people that are considered different and a little unusual, are often times shunned and isolated from society and the workplace. What society is most comfortable with is “being with their own kind”. In larger cities groups of people seem to congregate in certain areas hence, you have neighborhoods, such as Chinatown, Little Italy, and basically black communities. Why is there such comfort in being with a like kind? Why is diversity never been fully embraced in the world today? In almost every aspect of life, groups seem to congregate to individuals that are like themselves.
Is there really such comfort in being with your own kind, or is there an underlying fear of anything or anyone that is different from you. Even in such things as meditation there seems to be a stigma attached. I know of no one who uses meditation on a regular basis, and if I bring it up in a group it is usually ridiculed, or looked at as something that is a waste of time. Difference could be looked at, as the same as change. People are always wanting things to stay the same, even though that is impossible. Trying to stay away, or avoid people that are considered different, is also impossible. It is like the fear of the unknown. Fear is the overriding factor when it comes to the way people avoid anyone who is different. The reverse is also true. Anyone who considers themselves different, whether it be by race, beliefs, or appearance, will avoid making contact with the “normal” group. There is a fear of being ridiculed, and maybe even being harmed by the so called regular group. There is a lack of respect and acceptance of individuals who do not seem to be in line with the “normal” values of the community. People of certain races and religion have been persecuted and killed for no other reason than they are of a certain race or religion. Many sectors believe in a separatist society. The Nation of Islam has always sought for segregation and has had a belief that the black man is superior to the white man. Hitler had the master race. Looked upon as being different has always been a curse, rather than a positive attribute.
Being different is a fact of life, that is more prominent than any of us realize. Men and woman are different. The cultures and attitudes of various races and religions are different. These differences have nothing to do with an individual’s ability to do a job, and their right to make a living and pursue goals that can make them happy and comfortable. We as a society need to be able to function in our own group if we so desire, but we should allow a sector of society, no matter what the perceived differences are, live the life that they desire and deserve, as any person should, with free will. The fears of what a group or person may or not do, because they are different, must be laid permanently to rest. We need to embrace and accept all kinds of people, to be able to make the world a more livable place. It would be nice for that word different, to have only a positive meaning, and it would allow people to be more themselves, and have no fear of being different.