Whether the subject matter is education, the workforce, religion, or societal expectations, it seems our culture is infatuated with the idea of diversity. For some, it may never truly be understood. For others, embracing diversity is something that is slowly being learned. For the children of today, it is the norm.
In my opinion, we are headed in the right direction with diversity. After all, by embracing diversity we pronounce that no one should be denied opportunities based upon their color, race, age, religion, gender or way of life. However, as much as we’d like to pat ourselves on the back and say “we are a nation that embraces diversity,” we have not yet arrived.
Who wouldn’t want to include this guy?!
Rather, there is an unspoken qualifier that underlies that statement, and I would argue a more accurate definition of the nation’s understanding of diversity is this: We are a nation that embraces diversity, to the extent that we deem you a valuable contributor to society.
The time is now for people of all colors, races, age, religions, genders or ways of life to recognize another group in our society that is too often left out when we throw out the word “diversity.” Simply put, they are the many men, women, boys and girls who are differently-abled and part of the special needs community. If as employers, educators, neighbors and churches….if as human beings, we are preaching to one another the value of diversity, then we must stand prepared to not only include, but to actively embrace those differently-abled members of the special needs community as our valuable equals.