Multiculturalism and Globalization an active and intentional engagement of the “Other”, to the world.
In preparation of the National Men’s Conference in Miami this Fall, I share with you thoughts and hopes as we seek to serve one another and those we encounter in our community. No great victories are won in a war for the transformation of a whole people without total participation. Less than this will not create a new society; it will only evoke more sophisticated token amelioration. Martin Luther King Jr. Where do we go from here? Chaos to Community.
Like life, racial understanding is not something that we find but something that we must create. What we find when we enter these mortal plains is existence; but existence is the raw material out of which all life must be created. A productive and happy life is not something that you find; it is something that you make. And so, the ability of Negroes and whites to work together, to understand each other, will not be found ready-made; it must be created by the fact of contact. Martin Luther King Jr. Where do we go from here? Chaos to Community.
We live in a time unlike any other. The reality of the globalized context cannot be ignored, delegitimized, nor negated in an attempt to create a nationalism one above all and against all mentality. In any attempt to do so, one will quickly find themselves left behind and in the shadows, disconnected and alone as the world continues to forge a way forward into the future truly valuing the “Other”. Thus, leaving the narcissist, the xenophobe, and separatists completely disconnected from the progress of peoples as the world moves to building, creating and actively engaging the “Other” in a context where all are valued, all are included, all are allowed at the table, and all are encouraged to be active participants in shaping the future of the world.
So why are we here? We are here to not simply talk about and listen to why multiculturalism is important, or what Globalization means, but we must seek to actively, deliberately seek to engage, understand, listen, ask questions of and relate to and with the “Other” in order to be actively engaged in the transformation of our context. That could be your home, neighborhood, church, school, office, place of recreation or fraternal socialization. It requires learning and developing skills to move beyond oneself and reach out to the “Other.”
In order to go any further, let’s pause to see what is our individual context. Take a moment to reflect on those you encounter each day. Co-workers, classmates, barber, doctor, dentist, friends, service providers: how diverse is your context?
Racism, prejudice, intolerance, hatred, dislike, fear, separatism, xenophobia, narcissism, and egocentrism all stem from the ignorance, or lack of understanding, of the other. Meaning that since you look different, sound different, dress different, eat different, love different, believe different, worship different, I fear you and I see you as a threat. Therefore, since we are different, we cannot actively engage each other. This is the false premise.
If ignorance and lack of understanding causes all this, and if I’d like to see the healing of this divide the logical conclusion is, where there is ignorance provide knowledge, where understanding is lacking provide learning, “where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.” Prayer of St Francis
There is one key element that is needed, the true desire to want to know, understand and engage others outside your context, to actual value their humanity and thus see their dignity. Not judging color of skin, but content of character. Stripping ourselves of racial baggage, religious and moral judgement of the other is not easy, millennia of prejudice, war and hardship are not easily erased. Trusting in the Spirit of God who created us to love, is the first step toward the other. The human person is not what he does, but rather who they are, the deepest most intrinsic lever. All humans are equal, all humans possess dignity and equality, all humans must be regarded with respect and integrity. No human is a means to an end. No ideology, philosophy, religion can negate the true nature of the human person. To do so denies the existential reality of what it means to be human.
Therefore, no matter what a human does, how the human lives, loves and goes about life the intrinsic nature cannot be removed.
As believers, we have to understand the human receives this nature from the Creator. For since God is love and we are created in the Divine image, then we too are created to reflect love.
Let’s begin to strive for healing in our world by reaching out to the other.
Fr. Stephan Brown, SVD