Commentary

Commonality


 

I grew up in a diversity-free zone. The bubble surrounding Pleasantville, New York, in the 1950s and 1960s didn’t include people of color. We were all middle-class, some upper, some lower, some blue collar, some white collar – but, all of us comfortably in the middle. The children with disabilities must have been hidden in their homes or housed in institutions. They certainly weren’t our classmates. We were spread across the broad Judeo-Christian spectrum. Who knew there were other religions?

Of course, when I left for college I entered another even less inclusive bubble that didn’t admit women.

Children playing tug of war with rope in park diego_cervo/Thinkstock
But diversity happens, and my grandchildren here in Maine have classmates of color (of course, not as many as in other less remote parts of the country). They think nothing of sharing their classrooms with children with disabilities. They don’t think it is weird that some of their classmates have two mommies. They have close friends whose uncles are openly gay. Although the economic spectrum here in Brunswick is only slightly broader than where I grew up, my grandchildren can travel just a few miles to see what poverty looks like.

For many years, the process that brought about this dramatic change was a fortuitous conglomeration of brush wars fought by courageous individuals and minority groups. However, in the last decade or two, the struggle for inclusion has broadened under the banner of diversity, a term once primarily used to describe evolving ecologic populations. In light of this expanding definition, it is not surprising that the American Academy of Pediatrics has begun to consider its role in promoting diversity. As reported in AAP News (Anne Hegland, March 2018) the American Academy of Pediatrics board of directors recently discussed a plan for implementing at “all levels of the Academy” the suggestions of its Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion.

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