JOE WEBB AND CO. – THE WRITTEN WORLD

LESSON #11: EMBRACE DIVERSITY (OR, THE OLD, OLD WOODEN SHIP)

Posted in Lessons by The Books Production Team on September 15, 2008

LESSON #11: EMBRACE DIVERSITY (OR, THE OLD, OLD WOODEN SHIP)

typewriter6**********************************************

Ed Harken:  “In addition, a lot of you have been hearing the affiliates complaining about a lack of diversity on the news team…”

Champ Kind:  “What in the Hell’s diversity?”

Ron Burgundy:  “Well, I could be wrong, but I believe diversity is an old, old wooden ship that was used during the Civil War Era.”

(Brick Tamland nods in agreement.)

Ed Harken:  “Ron, I would be surprised if the affiliates were concerned about the lack of an old, old wooden ship, but nice try.”

**********************************************

          While fictional sportscaster Champ Kind’s 1974 inquiry – “What in the Hell’s diversity?” – may seem a little ridiculous to the small number of you who grew up attending well-integrated high schools, most college students begin their academic careers having experienced very little exposure to people of other races, religions, and sexual orientations.  Take, for example, my own High School graduating class of 1998.  Of the 300 students who proudly walked across the stage in our long green gowns to collect our diplomas, 3 were black, 1 was Jewish, and 1 was openly gay.  That’s it.  If we would have left our caps and gowns in the hallway and sat in the gymnasium chairs in our shirt/tie combinations and dresses, we would have looked exactly like the young Republican faction at last month’s GOP convention in Minneapolis – straight, white, and half-listening to a boring U.S. Congressman telling us we were the future, while secretly counting down the minutes to the after-party.  “What in the Hell’s diversity?” wasn’t a punch-line for us, it was a legitimate question.  And, it’s not that unusual.

          Think about it – even those of you whose high schools weren’t so ridiculously homogenous as mine – how many of you actually ventured outside of your own small cliques and into real conversations with students whose backgrounds were substantially different than yours?  If you didn’t, pay special attention to Lesson #11: Embrace Diversity.

          I realize that, because for some inexplicable reason most of us are latently hardwired for xenophobia, this can be a difficult process.  And it is so very easy to join a fraternity or a club lacrosse team where everyone is well within your ethnic comfort zone.  But, if you do this, you’ve got to make an effort to meet a diverse group of people in some other arena.  Otherwise, you leave yourself vulnerable to becoming extinct in a fast-changing world.  Remember High School biology?  Your brain is like a pack of African wildebeests.  If your group ventures into a mountain pass and gets isolated by a land-slide where it is forced to breed only internally for the next thousand years, the genetic makeup of your wildebeest pack will become so similar that any disease which kills off one of you will surely kill the rest.  Exposing yourself to new cultures is thus a necessity.  It will give you the needed genetic mutations to survive in the event this multi-ethnic, flattening world throws you a question that homogenous white-thought is unable to answer.  Now, I’m not saying that you need to start rolling with a crew that looks like Hansel’s Posse in the movie Zoolander, but it’s time to set aside any latent xenophobia and meet some people who don’t look like they could be your brother or sister.

          Listen to me, no one is blaming you for your background.  If you grew up the son of the Grand Wizard of the KKK, or the daughter of a leader of a sect of militant Korean-nationalist dwarves, it’s not your fault.  But college is about opening your mind up to new ideas and re-evaluating the “truths” that were given to you in your childhood.  If you do this, and you think about what the world needs, you’ll come to the conclusion that racism and homophobia are stupid.  They are crippling diseases that leave you shallow and small.  How stupid are they?  Well, if we were going to construct a continuum of things that are un-stupid, with the least stupid scoring a 10 (Albert Einstein, using your elective credits to start taking Chinese now – see Lesson #2), and hating people because they are a different race from you (or believe in a different God than you) scoring a 1, the Pet Rock would score a 6.  That’s right!!!  On the continuum of un-stupidity the Pet Rock is closer to Albert Einstein than it is to Homophobia, and the Pet Rock is about as dumb as anything should legally be.

         The bottom line?  Remember that, as Ed Harken goes on to say, “diversity means that times are changing,” for both you as a college student and the world.  Either join the Channel 4 News Team and set sail on the U.S.S. Diversity, or get left behind with Frank Pritchard and Wes Mantooth.  The Pet Rock has made a decision.  What about you?

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4 Responses

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  1. MS said, on September 16, 2008 at 2:18 am

    If you imagine Walt Whitman mixed with Philip Larkin, stirred in chicken stock and then poured over Pablo Neruda, Jackson Pollock, George Wendt, and Attila the Hun, you’d have about 5/8 of the brutally truthful hilarity Dr. Wizard produces in his pre-post-modern moment of homicidal silence after failing to pick up an easy spare ‘advice for college students.’

    MS
    UCDB

  2. drwizard said, on September 16, 2008 at 5:06 am

    I don’t know what the fuck that comment means at all, but if by some chance this thing ever turns into a book project, it’s going onto the back cover – word for word.

  3. Ghost Dog said, on September 16, 2008 at 9:44 pm

    Starting in the top left corner of the picture of the Minnesota Young Republicans – six rows down, eight rows over – is that Kirby Puckett’s son?

  4. Frank said, on September 17, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    Starting at the bottom right corner, four rows up, three and four rows in: an Asian male and an Indian female standing next to eachother – ah the ideal ‘build a fence around our borders’ Republican answer to a sea of white people – 2 minorities standing next to one another; but, how is the black male not standing with them? One would think, in a mass of people excited about the new Kenny Chesney album, trust fund maturity, and the T-top revival, they would have been forced together. Perhaps if the picture were taken 3-7 minutes later they would have been together. Yes, my money is on the possibility that the Asian male wasn’t even in the picture 2 minutes prior to its being taken. He was actually outside in the hallway buying an energy drink to gear up for another snoozefest of a speech by a bloated, trigger-happy, change is something you give a waitress Republican (yeah, I’m talkin’ ’bout Sarah Palin), when he was appropriated by the crowd and subsequently deposited next to the closest possible minority. If this were a video we would see the flow and ebb of the white tide carrying Kirby Puckett’s son (insensitive, yet appropriate considering this is Minnesota…Come to think of it, Ghost Dog, are you the black guy in this picture, Dog?) being dragged towards the other minorities at the periphery of the photo. Ah tokenism, way to reinvigorate the wanning racism in this country, Republicans. Dumbasses.


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