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ALTHOUGH I AM NOT a “white guy” and have no desire to become one, my empathy is growing for the emerging victim mentality in white men (“The Unbearable Whiteness of Being,” 11/12). We gain nothing by attacking a potential ally in this struggle for survival and prosperity. As Mahatma Gandhi is reputed to have said, “If we hold to the remedy of an eye for an eye, soon we will all be blind.”
The issue is not work-force diversity or workplace diversity. What we are facing is a changing global environment forced upon us by modern technology. CNN brings the world into our living rooms each evening. Jet airplanes move people around the world at high speeds.
Because the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans can no longer protect us from the “teeming hordes” of foreigners, the U.S. must learn to build cooperative alliances with people very different from ourselves. We must learn to create an environment of mutual respect. We must emphasize our similar desires and needs.
To generate broader understanding of this new paradigm, I have withdrawn from active management of Watson Rice and Co. accounting firm and am traveling the world explaining the skill of cultural flexibility. Cultural flexibility is simply the mental habit of looking for something to respect in each person you must live or work with and then giving them a reason to respect you.
I offer my hand of cooperation and conciliation to Bill Gifford, Michael Douglas’ character in the movie Falling Down, and all other “white guys” who are being challenged to learn and accept a foreign set of values, attitudes, and actions.