State Sen. Rob Standridge’s opposition to diversity training (with two other white male Republican senators, of Transcript 4-25) strikes me as a classic dog whistle for exclusivity by those who want to deny the continued unequal treatment of minorities, women and the LGBTQ community.

The United States has much to be proud of, and a potentially celebratory future. We should not, however, blithely dismiss the genocide, slavery and second-classness that are part of our past and continue to impact many of our fellow Americans.

Only a generation back, we had an active Klan and the John Birch Society, from which have sprouted the white supremacists and Confederate revisionists that constitute a vociferous part of the new Republican base. Some people just refuse to acknowledge they lost, just as they refuse to accommodate others.

Acknowledging past transgressions is at the core of the Judeo-Christian concept of forgiveness, and an important component of family, local, national and international dialog.

For example, the world, especially Korea, is still waiting for Japan to apologize for its use of “comfort women” in WWII.

With my family, I have lived around the world and worked for and with a great diversity of people. The training and coaching I received in diversity and cultural awareness improved my ability as a leader, manager and teacher in situations ranging from scouting to international equity determinations.

Inexorable national demographic trends indicate that Caucasians will become a dominant plurality, as opposed to a majority, in the coming decades. One certain way to curb the potential and restrict opportunities for our state’s citizens is to not encourage each of us develop a fuller appreciation of the lives and struggles of others.

Standridge’s statement “It’s happening in schools in my hometown of Norman…” rings true. Only when the vile bus chants of SAE, blackface incidents and bilious racist rantings of a sports broadcaster when the Norman High School girls basketball team took a knee are excised from our society will Oklahoma be able to compete at the national and international level in the important things beyond college sports.

Small wonder we lost Tesla when our leaders seemingly want to turn back the march of equality and human rights.

I fully agree with Sen. Standridge that we should first and foremost always judge persons by the content of their character, not by the color of their skin. Standridge’s diatribe speaks volumes about his character.

A true meritocracy is colorblind and affords equal opportunity for all. I would rather hear his plans to improve public education, upgrade our roads and bridges, attract growth industries, pay for Medicaid expansion and further flatten the COVID transmission rate in Oklahoma than hear his fear-mongering screed for exclusivity.

Andrew Cullen



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