Facebook Reluctance and Diversity

Facebook Reluctance and Diversity

I have been reluctant to join Facebook for quite a while. I have from afar watched divisive rants and hateful things I want no part of. However, I do enjoy engaging people. One of the things I am passionate about is engaging those on opposite sides of an issue with civility and collegiality. Interestingly, in my first week as a Facebooker, there are folks who have either accepted a friend request or extended a friend request who are all across a variety of spectra.

As a veteran, I am happy to have defended the right to express an opinion, but my stance is that divisive and hateful discourse is not productive. What I know is that from 4th – 12th grades in Jackson Public Schools (MS), friends with a variety of skin shades surrounded me. I remember working on projects with, being taught by, getting in trouble with, and serving in leadership roles with friends whose lives at home were completely different than mine. We did not always hang out together outside of school, attend the same churches, celebrate holidays the same way, or even view the world the same way. But we were dear friends.  I remember engaging conversations, innovative solutions, shared struggles, and really cool performance experiences. Yes, there were tense moments, but I do not remember relationships ending because of them. I’m sure some did and I doubt all of my peers share my perspective. However, because of those experiences, I am rarely uncomfortable around people unlike myself. Those years, especially the ones at Forest Hill High School, are still having a profound impact on how I view the world at 40 years old. It has been such a sweet thing this week to watch those faces pop up on Facebook. I cannot tell you how many times in my professional life I have referenced my wonderful high school experience.

Some of the folks I most respect and admire look nothing like me and a few do not even share my worldview. So, in the tense atmosphere of extreme partisanship and polarity that we’re in currently, I badly want to encourage civility. I know it’s more complicated than that, but if you share my desire to be a part of the solution, please join me in looking for and sharing ways that diverse groups of people are collaborating well. And by the way, diversity is more than skin color. How many folks do you know who live on a month-to-month budget that are really tight with folks who are wealthy? Socioeconomic diversity can be equally complicated; just rarely as hateful.

Please feel free to share an article, a quick observation, etc. It does not have to be lengthy or time-consuming. For example, in the past, I’ve shared a comment as simple as this one after a visit to Atlanta: “Just spent a weekend in Atlanta…diverse groups of people left and right. Love it!” As an educator, I am about to exit the eye of the hurricane into January, but I will try to send periodic reminders through social media to be on the lookout for things to share.

I’ll conclude by saying that I am no one’s judge; nor do I believe I am better or superior in thought. I’ve made some royal mistakes that I do not plan to share on Facebook. I stand in judgment of no one. Only One has that job description.


  1. Edward Cook
    Jan 3, 2015

    Thanks, Jeff. Understanding and ACCEPTING diversity would bring about a great change in our society. Although I’m not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, I am thankful for my experiences with different races, people of various socio-economic backgrounds, cultural and religious differences, and the like. I may not see everything as you or anyone else does, but I know that those experiences have prepared me to handle diversity on a daily basis. I am thankful and thank you.

    • myrick1024@gmail.com
      Jan 3, 2015

      Edward, thanks so much for taking the time. Great to hear from you.

  2. Amelia
    Jan 3, 2015

    Hello, Jeff!
    I am proud to consider myself one of your “diverse” friends!
    I was reluctant myself, but not as late as you! So glad to “see” you!
    I would love to share this with your permission.

    • myrick1024@gmail.com
      Jan 4, 2015

      Please do! Thanks!

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