Rejection of UniformityPosted: July 20, 2021
I think I was in all girls boarding school in the seventies the first time I heard the acronym NOKD. It stood for, “Not our kind, darling,” best said with a Long Island lock jaw. I was wholly offended because I am certain I was more NOKD than I was TK, (their kind).
For the record, I think I heard the phrase from an Alumna, not a classmate. For the most part people, and certainly all my friends were a friendly welcoming bunch. Somehow all having to wear the same plaid indestructible sports kilt day after day was a great equalizer. But hearing someone say out loud that she was not interested in being with people who were not just like her sounded dull and overtly snobbish.
Overtly snobbish is something I try and shun despite being brought up a WASP in the rich white enclave of Fairfield County, Connecticut. There was nothing to be learned from only knowing people just like myself. Nothing exotic about white bread.
So today when I was having lunch with a friend and she complained about a relative who moved to a gated community so they could live a life with PLU (People Like Us) I was immediately brought back forty five years. PLU is the cleaned up, but no less offensive way of saying NOKD.
How sad an existence it is to discount whole swaths of humanity as not being worthy to know. How boring a world it is to not expand your knowledge of all kinds of communities, people and cultures.
I don’t live in the most diverse neighborhood, but to counter that I try to get to know many different kinds of people. Even as a child, I would search out the person who was “not from here.” I am not saying I don’t love people who are a lot like me, just that I also like “the other.” Fear of “the other” is a great divider. Getting to know people different from yourself makes you realize we are all more alike and we can learn from each other.
So like my friend at lunch, I am not interested in just PLU, quite the opposite. Unclench that lock jaw and talk to someone not in your group. You may make a new friend and discover that a different kind is just as good.