2003-03-17 Holland Sentinel Golden Rule is not enough

Golden Rule is not enough
Holland Sentinel

To the Editor:

I am happy that Mike Lozon finally attended the Summit on Racism and I am sorry that the “taste” of it he experienced made him feel bullied and the victim of an attempt at mind control. I have never experienced those feelings in diversity training.

I agree with him that the Golden Rule is worthwhile and beneficial, and can go a long way in bettering our treatment of each other. The Golden Rule, though, is not enough. The larger issue is that most of us have biases, prejudices, and notions of others.

Although they may not be racist per se, these traits influence the assumptions we have for others and how we practice the Golden Rule. The Golden Rule lacks empathy, and serves us better if it is more expansive; “Do unto others what you would have done to you AND do unto others what they would prefer to have done to themselves.”

Cultural competency and appreciating diversity means more than knowing about other cultures and races, and treating them the way you want them to treat you. Cultural competency is to have a deep interest and concern for how others think, act feel and believe. To be culturally competent includes the understanding of what motivates and nurtures others, not only what motivates ourselves.

Cultural competency is a continuum, and our level of competency determines how we act towards sand understand others. I t is certainly about race and ethnicity; in addition, it includes all the other things that make us similar yet unique human beings. Racism, cultural competency, diversity, awareness, these may all be buzzwords, but that does not negate their value. They have meaning and worth beyond the stereotypical understanding of them that Mr. Lozon seems to have.

I contend that there is great benefit in striving to become more culturally competent. To have a successful, peaceful world and society, each of us must continue working towards the goal where we value and appreciate each other. To do this it is necessary to not only know and understand others, but to examine and understand ourselves.