Most of us like to believe that it is easy for us to accept diversity—that we are not racist or homophobic or in any way discriminatory. But what does that really mean?
Because many of us, despite proclaiming we have LGBT friends and love them dearly, still do not believe they deserve marriage “dahil ang pangit tingnan,” while at the same time believing that our straight friends whom we love equally deserve that right. Many of us still use the word “gay”as something derogatory and insulting. Many of us, even while enjoying Vice Ganda’s humor, stereotype gays to be that way and cannot leave the box we have put them in (e.g., slapstick parlor gay or the gay best friend). Many of us would deny Jennifer Laude the right to be referred to as a “she”. Many of us still pray and hope that our children, if we have them, will not turn out to be gay. But, we love our gay friends.
Because many of us, despite being well-traveled and well-informed, still say things like “amoy Bombay” to describe something foul-smelling. Many of us use the N-word as if we are aware of (much less tied to) its atrocious, oppressive history. Many of us, in an effort to be knowledgeable about politics, call out the Binays’skin color instead of focusing on their actual shortcomings.
Because many of us, while sympathetic to mental health issues, would refer to President Noynoy Aquino as a “retard”as if 100% of those with intellectual disabilities cannot be functioning members of society. Ever heard of Stephen Hawking?
Because many of us, while appreciative of culture, refer to telenovelas and many other things we do not like or do not fit our tastes as “jejemon” and for “madlang peoples” as if these things just cannot be another subset of Filipino culture. Conversely, many of us still call people insultingly as “conyo”as if having and spending hard-earned money is a bad thing.
Because many of us, while believing that women deserve equal rights, perpetuate rape culture by victim-blaming, as if women’s clothing choices are the problem, or their lack of resistance. Many of us, while ogling at Jennifer Lawrence’s naked body, instead of condemning the hacker, condemn her for trusting iCloud and for taking those pictures in the first place even if they were intended for private purposes.
Among many other things.
I am not in anyway sitting on a high horse. I acknowledge that it is not easy to truly be wholly accepting, given that we are generally a homogenous society (i.e., 80% Catholic majority, interacting within your social class, almost everyone belonging in the same race, etc.). I can readily admit that I am guilty of many of these things, which is why I came to question my personal idea of accepting diversity and what it truly means. And awareness is only the beginning, and the key. Because given globalization and the technology we have at our disposal, ignorance is inexcusable, and each of us has a responsibility to be aware, and to know, and to be more inclusive of diversity. P