Fear of diversity is unfounded

By Kimberly Marion

It amazes me that even today in the year 2005 people are still closed-minded and lack tolerance toward different races, sexual orientations, beliefs and cultures.

I am aware that people use their beliefs to provide guidance and solace; however, I do think these beliefs should not interfere with other people’s lives.

The reason I am bringing this point up is that a few Christian groups, according to CNN.com, are protesting characters from popular children’s cartoons. The main character protested is SpongeBob SquarePants – mainly because SpongeBob’s television show and merchandise are widely liked by gays.

The Christian groups feel these characters are being exploited to promote the acceptance of homosexuality. It seems these Christian groups believe that accepting homosexuality will turn children and adolescents gay and lead to more demoralizing behavior.

The first thing these groups must realize is that nowhere within the SpongeBob song or video does it state anything about homosexuality. The characters are singing the song “We Are Family.” Someone go get the holy water. The only place sexual identity is mentioned is on the tolerance group We Are Family Foundation’s Web site.

It is quite absurd because children do not recognize there are hidden messages and themes within their cartoons. SpongeBob is just SpongeBob to children. These ideas of homosexuality are not recognized until a group of homophobic people make a fuss about it.

Parents have a right to say what they will and will not allow with their young children, but there will come a time when a child will come into contact with a Jew, African-American or a homosexual. Instead of teaching their children to be fearful of diversity, they should teach children to be accepting.

The tolerance of various cultures does not mean there is the moral decay of society. And it also does not mean you have to lose your beliefs and principles. Tolerance is an illustration of the progression of our society.

Being privileged enough to go to college, we should take advantage of opportunities on campus. There are multiple associations on campus that allow people to experience their culture.

College is supposed to be a time to foster personal growth. Well, that is ideal of course, but it is possible to experience more than just the bars and classes and the daily humdrum of familiarity.

Accepting does not mean becoming, but it is a sign of an open mind.

Christian groups should not protest SpongeBob because of an unfounded fear of diversity.

Columns reflect the opinion of the author and not necessarily that of the Northern Star staff.